How to Clean a Straw Hat

Who doesn’t love straw hats? Straw hats are popular; they are lightweight, and many have a wide brim that offers excellent sun protection and can help you feel cool. From traditional straw cowboy hats to the floppy sun hat to the classic fedora, straw hats are always stylish. If you own a straw hat, at some point, you’ll be asking, ‘How do I clean my straw hat?’

Cleaning your straw hat will not only ensure that it looks good but will help it last longer. There are several ways to clean a straw hat; you use a vacuum to remove dust and dirt, or you can use a damp non-dyed cloth and mild detergent to wipe it down.

Before jumping right in with either of the above tactics, keep reading to learn what steps you need to take to keep your straw hat looking its best! 

How Do You Clean a Straw Hat?

Cleaning a straw hat can be done with a clean, non-dyed cloth, a cleaning product, and water, or a vacuum with a nozzle. Before we look at the techniques you can use to keep your straw hat clean; there are a few things to consider. 

First things first, here are a few tips:

  • Check to see if your straw hat has a label with cleaning instructions, defer to those instructions, and consider yourself way ahead of the game. If you are reading this, you most likely do not have a label to help you with cleaning. 
  • Before you attempt to clean your straw hat with water or a damp cloth, do a spot check in an inconspicuous place- water can cause the straw hat to become misshapen. A misshapen hat can be reshaped, but it’s best to test first. 
  • Remove any decorative items that you can, ribbons, flowers, or bows; this will make the job easier and keep these items safe. They can be wiped down separately and reattached to the hat. 
  • Always use a clean non-dyed cloth on straw hats. Color can be transferred from a dyed cloth to the straw and ruin your hat. 

Cleaning a Straw Hat with a Vacuum 

The first cleaning method we’ll outline is using a vacuum. This method is best for a straw hat that needs a light and quick cleaning.

The tools you’ll need for this are:

  • A vacuum with a nozzle
  • Mesh or a piece of mesh-like material
  • A soft brush

Here are the instructions:

  • Take the soft brush and lightly brush around the hat’s brim, the sides and top, the bottom, and inside the straw hat. 
  • If your vacuum nozzle is dusty and dirty, take your mesh and tie it over the nozzle, this will keep the dirt from getting on your hat. Vacuum off your straw hat. 
  • If you remove any decorative items, gently vacuum them and reattach them to the hat.

And there you have it—one speedy and easy way to spruce up your straw hat and keep it looking clean. 

Cleaning a Straw Hat with Water, a Cleanser, and a Cloth

This method of cleaning a straw hat is for a straw that needs a bit more attention and requires a bit more time. To clean a straw hat with water and a cleaning product, you’ll need to gather the following supplies:

  • Two or three non-dyed cleaning cloths
  • Water
  • A mild cleaning product like dish soap
  • A soft brush
  • A small bowl 

The instructions to clean your straw hat using these items: 

  • Fill your bowl with water and add a few drops of mild dish soap; mix the soap into the water.
  • Wipe the hat with a soft brush or a clean cloth to remove any dust and dirt. 
  • Dip a cloth into the soap and water mixture and start to blot the hat; follow the natural pattern of the straw, and when the cloth is no longer damp, rewet it. Blot the entire hat, inside and out.
  • Empty your bowl and add fresh water. Use a clean area on the cloth, dip it in the clean water, and reblot the entire hat.
  • Use a clean, dry cloth and blot the entire hat as dry as possible. Set the hat aside and let it dry.

Using this method is a bit time-consuming, but you’ll be glad you took the time when you see how clean and fresh your straw hat looks!

How Often Should You Clean a Straw Hat? 

How do you know how often you should clean a straw hat? A good rule of thumb is to clean it when you put it up for the season and at least once during the season or if it gets grungy or dirty- this is for folks who occasionally wear their straw hat. If you wear your straw hat frequently or every day, you’ll want to clean it more often. 

If you do wear your straw hat most of the time, you’ll want to read the following section carefully.

How Do You Remove Stains From a Straw Hat?

If you wear your straw hat a lot, one way to keep it looking good is to wipe it down after wearing it; however, this won’t help with stains, scuffs, and marks. 

The most common stain is perspiration. Here’s what you need to do to remove these stains from straw hats if they do not come out using the second method mentioned above (water plus cleanser). Test a small spot using this process before you clean the entire hat to ensure it doesn’t damage the straw. 


  • A soft-bristled brush like a toothbrush
  • Water- ¼ cup 
  • Hydrogen-peroxide- ¼ cup 
  • A bowl
  • A clean white cloth

Mix the water and the hydrogen peroxide in the bowl, dip the brush in the mixture, start to scrub the darkened areas gently, concentrating on a small area at a time; once you complete the entire hat, blot it dry with the clean cloth and set it aside to dry. This procedure is for light-colored straw; for dark-colored straw, use ½ teaspoon ammonia in a ¼ cup of water and follow the same instructions. 

Here are a few other tips for removing tough stains- oily stains, put cornstarch or talcum powder on the spot to absorb the oil, let set and brush off, or vacuum. For scuff marks- use an artist gum eraser and gently ‘erase’ the scuff mark. 

And there you have it, tips to help you remove stains from your straw hat.


In summary, use these instructions to clean your straw hat to help keep it looking new, and if you take care of your straw hat, you’ll be able to enjoy it for years! 

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