Maintenance of Hats

Maintenance of Hats – How to Reshape a Hat

This information is given as a general guide only to maintain a hat, and Mekoe takes no responsibility for any damage caused to any hat by any person following these suggestions. It is impossible to know the details of the manufacturer and products used such as stiffening, and these details could affect the outcome. The following information is generally successful and works for us.

It is important with any type of cleaning to test on a small inconspicuous section of the hat first. This information is intended as only a guide. If in doubt please take the hat to a specialist hat shop for advice.

To remove surface soiling, use wet ones or baby wipes otherwise use a cloth dampened in warm water with mild detergent, (Always test first.) and gently rub over the hat. Press dry using a dry cloth. Do not get the straw too wet or it may shrink. Dry thoroughly in shade before storing.

Flat Straw Brims
Flat brims that have warped may be able to be “Ironed” back into shape. Start on a low steam setting and always use a piece of cotton material between the iron and straw to prevent scorching of the straw. The straw should soften when ironed and steamed. Leave on a flat surface to cool and harden.

Felt Hats
Felt hats will benefit and rejuvenate from periodically steaming. This method will breathe new life into an old felt hat. Slowly steaming small sections at a time over a kettle until the entire hat has been steamed will “Raise the felt” and add what we call “Depth of colour”. If necessary steam a small section until soft and then remove from the steam and gently shape the hat by pressing with your fingers, and then move onto the next section. The hat will stiffen again as it cools and dries.


To remove lint and dust lightly brush hat with a clothes brush. Dry clean surface by using either, a stiff brush, emery paper or a scourer such as a “Scotchbrite”. Spraying with a pre-wash stain remover, rinsing thoroughly and drying in the shade can remove grease and oil stains.

To reshape a hat
In reshaping a hat, first, turn on a kettle until it is steaming. If using an electric kettle, it has to be one that will continue boiling, as a constant supply of steam is required. Be careful not to burn yourself and slowly turn the hat over the steam. Do not overheat the hat. The hat should become soft, limp and pliable. Remove from the steam and gently push the hat into shape using your fingers. Work quickly in small sections at a time, as the hat will stiffen again quite quickly. Alternate between steaming and shaping until the required shape is achieved. Leave the hat to dry thoroughly before storing. As the hat dries it should stiffen again due to the nature of the stiffening agent used in the manufacture.