View Full Version : ScotchGuard

11-13-2008, 11:40 PM
Is it wise to Scotchguard wool felt? What about fur felt? I have several hats of each material and have read that you can Scotchguard a hat to help keep out rain. Does the Soctchguard damage or alter the hat (shrink it, distort it, bleed it etc) in any way? I'd like to do what I can to rain proof my hats (I use an umbrella but it isn't 100% dry when walking to work), but don't want to damage them by trying to apply Scotchguard. If you can do this, what variety of Scotchguard works best and what is the best way to apply it? I'm guessing it's some kind of a spray-on process.

11-14-2008, 06:36 AM

I'm new too, but check out this link. Click on "Hat Care Products", and you should find what you're looking for.


All the best.

Akubra Man
11-14-2008, 07:07 AM
I think that any waterproofing is unneeded for a fur felt hat. I have worn all my hats in snow and rain and never had an issue with them getting wet. They shed water fine and when wet dry out fine. :)

11-14-2008, 08:18 AM
I've used Scotchguard (sp?) and similar camping waterproofer sprays on wool hats in the past. Didn't hurt mine any. Might have helped.

But I wouldn't spray any of this on my fur felt hats. Best to let them do their job as designed. Akubra Man sums up my experience in this area.

Rick Blaine
11-14-2008, 08:32 AM
At one time hatsdirect offered Scotchguard as an option. David Morgan's website too recomends periodic treatment. I have used a variety of products (Scotchguard, Campdry) on fur felts w/o ill effect... my .o2.

11-14-2008, 08:35 AM
If I am not mistaken, I believe Art F. uses some water proofing on his custom beavers before he ships them out. Hope I am not putting words in Art's mouth.[huh]

11-17-2008, 07:15 PM
I used the "fabric" labeled scotchgard on my new hat. I would spray it down nice and damp then let it go touch dry (2 hours or so), lightly brush it with a hat brush to take off the speckles from the spray, then reapply. I did it five times, and by the time I was done you wouldn't know by look that it was applied. One caveat: make sure your pins and whatnot are off your hat, since scotchgard can eat through non-colorsafe dyes and it would be horrible to forget a feather or pin and permanently stain your felt.

11-18-2008, 12:09 PM
I've Scotchguarded my wool felt hats. Those are the ones I wear when the rain is the worst. I've left the fur felt hats alone.

11-18-2008, 09:28 PM
I've used ScotchGuard for years on everything from the carpet in my cars to, yes, headgear.

First off, today's environmentally friendly SG does not work as well as the old kind that punched holes in the ozone. I'm sure of this because I recently found an ancient can among the paint in the basement and compared it with a new can in the for-fabric version on two identical leather-billed corduroy ball caps that are practically new.

There may be other changes in the formula, but the propellant in the old stuff aerated it into a finer mist, forced it out with more thrust, and gave me a little buzz, as well. As a result, one application of it rendered the cap utterly waterproof when I put it on and poured a bucket of water over my head. I was pleased with the outcome, or perhaps just slap-happy from inadvertently inhaling the fumes.

In contrast, after one application of the new stuff, the valleys between some of the cord wales became slightly damp. Having seen me dunk a second bucket of water over my head while wearing a poncho with bare legs sticking out on a bright sunny day, an elderly woman walking by with her dog visibly picked up her pace. Her English bull, on the other hand, gazed at me with a rather understanding look.

I let that hat dry out, put on another light application, allowed it to dry, then sprayed on a third and final application. It's now almost as waterproof as the hat with the old stuff on it, but not quite, and with a lot more effort.

One thing I've noticed in using the new stuff on all manner of materials is that it changes the "hand" of it--gives it a coarser texture and stiffens it. This is especially conspicuous when you try to get by with once heavy application, which after it dries will necessitate a vigorous brushing off of the white residue and not make it any more waterproof than two or three light coats that leave no residue.

SG does not seem to affect the breathability of things I've put it on, so that would be no reason to not use it.

In sum, if you heed the caveats mentioned previously, ScotchGuard will render most things almost waterproof and not damage anything that's colorfast, but will alter it's feel at least somewhat. For that reason, I would not hesitate to put it on a wool beret, some of which come "impermeable" brand new, any canvas or wool felt hat, or even a rugged fur felt if I intended to trek in it across the rain-soaked montane forests of Borneo. After all, I'd want my head to be perfectly dry should the headhunters there take a liking to my cranium--it's a die-with-clean-underwear thing type of thing, don't ya know.

But a vintage hat of any kind or a finer fur felt, be it custom-made or off-the-shelf, I would not put anything but the bristles of my brim brush on.

Now, where'd I hide that old can of ScotchGuard? I could use a stiff sniff!

11-19-2008, 06:52 PM
That's a good point: it does change the feel of the felt slightly. It also seemed to make my brim a little snappier, but that might also be my imagination at work.

11-20-2008, 01:30 PM
I got caught in the rain for the first time today after treating my hat like described above. When I got inside I removed the hat (had been out in heavy rain about 3-4 minutes) to find that all the water had beaded up on it like on a freshly waxed car. I turned it upside down, gave it a shake, and almost all the water came off. Less than five minutes later the hat was perfectly dry. I don't know if that will help anyone or not, but thought I'd throw it out there.

11-20-2008, 01:42 PM
I gave my foul weather litefelt hat a heavy duty treatment with Scotchguard-- multiple layers over the course of two evenings. There was no shrinking or color problems. The hat has become a bit "stiffer" than it was, but it is still quite crushable and soft on the whole. I haven't worn it out in the rain yet though.