Look, people, cowboy hats don’t grow on trees. In fact, if I had anything to say about it, you’d need a license to wear a cowboy hat. But unfortunately, no one asked me.
What people do ask me is how to clean and store cowboy hats. Of course, they usually ask me this question after they’ve already had the hat for a long time. And trust me — nothing raises my hackles more than seeing a lovely Master Hatters hat wear out before its time because of improper storage and cleaning. Sometimes, I want to start a “hat rescue” and confiscate mistreated hats from unfit wearers.
But since that’s probably not realistic (I have limited closet space!), I figure it’s probably smarter to save the cowboy hats by teaching proper storage and cleaning. To ensure a long life for your hat (and to avoid potential confiscation), please follow these very important tips.
Tip #1: Buy a brim brush.
If you have a felt or wool cowboy hat, you should purchase a brim brush or other soft brush to clean it safely. Start brushing counterclockwise on one side of the hat, going around the back to the other side. If you still have lint on the hat, gently pat it with masking tape.
Note: If you bought a straw hat, just wipe it down with a damp cloth to clean it. Brushing it will look silly.
Tip #2: Dry without heat.
Real cowboys don’t wear their hats indoors–it’s bad manners. But being outdoors means that your hat will get wet at some point. Don’t panic! Your hat is meant to get wet. But you do need to make sure it dries safely.
First, shake off the excess water. It’s best to do this before you enter the house, or someone will probably yell at you. Trust me.
Next — and this is very important — turn down the leather sweatband and let the hat rest on it until dry. Do not rest the hat on the brim, and do not expose your hat to a heat source like a lamp or hairdryer! Both of these things can cause a hat to lose its shape.
Tip #3: Store your hat properly.
The best way to keep your hat’s shape is to wear it on your head. Of course, wearing your hat isn’t always possible, so make sure you store your hat properly when you take it off. Most people don’t know that you should store a hat upside down on its crown. You can also store it on a mannequin head or in a hatbox. Storing it on its brim on a flat surface will cause it to lose its shape.
Cowboys, just follow these three tips and your hat will stay beautiful for years to come.
It’s really not that hard–even Chihuahua can do it!