One of the big drawbacks for a straw hat is that it is difficult to take care of. At least, this is the perception. Compared to a fur felt hat, certainly, the straw hat is not nearly as durable or as forgiving of wear and tear, but then again, nearly nothing is. When it comes right down to it, a straw hat is remarkably durable and resistant to lasting damage, so long as you know the limits of the hat, and also how to best clean it when it is damaged or stained.
It should also come as no surprise that the first way to manage any dirt or stain on a straw hat is to prevent it in the first place. The oils on even the cleanest hands will stain the brim or the crown of a hat over time, so you should avoid handling the hat as much as possible, and when you do, try and handle the smallest area that you can. Another concern with a straw hat can be that the straw cracks along the crown, near the pinch, and this can be avoided by not handling the hat by the crown at all, but rather by the brim. If you are prone to heavy head sweating, try a summer hat with a liner, or a hat with more holes in the crown to precipitate air movement.
The three cloth pieces of a straw hat, the liner, the headband, and the hatband, can all be cleaned easily with a touch of laundry detergent or Woolite. Because a straw hat is usually worn as an outside summer hat, it is not unusual for all three of these pieces to become sweaty or dirty, so they should be cleaned regularly, not just for the appearance of the hat, but also for the comfort of the wearer, and the health of their skin. The cloth pieces should be cleaned gently, and scrubbed in a circular motion with a wet cloth that has a touch of laundry detergent or Woolite. The cloth pieces should then be cleaned free of soap with a second wet cloth, this time free of soap.
If, heaven forbid, something should happen to the actual straw of your straw hat, we recommend the straw cleaner NuStraw, which we carry on our online store. You should test the NuStraw on an inconspicuous part of the hat first to see how it changes the color, if at all.
Putting a small amount of NuStraw on a soft, clean, cloth, you should spot clean any of the more in-depth stains using a gentle, circular motion, then wipe clean the area with a clean, dry, cloth. Once any specific stains are taken care of, you should clean the entire body of the hat with a little bit of NuStraw on a cloth, still working in small circular motions, but this time starting from the center of the crown of your straw hat, and working outwards. Once the entire hat has been cleaned in this way, wipe the whole straw hat down again with a clean, dry cloth.
That’s all there is to it, really. Just a little bit of love and care can greatly extend the lifetime of your straw hat and, as you can see, cleaning a straw hat is a piece of cake. Once the worry of taking care of a hat is lifted, you can really start to live in it, and your summer wardrobe will never be the same.