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The Shoe

One Too Many
Messages
1,321
Location
Wakayama, Japan
Hi all,
I’m looking for advice on cleaning my new Flying Cloud.
It has several black spots like this on the crown…
1A96DE43-43C1-4241-8F97-33FFABF7F10D.jpeg

…and also a stain on the brim.
617033F9-72AA-4C35-8262-A4974A63E4A4.jpeg

I guess I’ll start with steam and a brush.
I’m not equipped for a naphtha bath.
I don’t have a hat sponge and can’t find one in Japan. I wonder if this Pikolinos shoe sponge might do the trick.
1D8E5050-B651-42A5-B262-524735D2490B.jpeg

The black side is soft, the red very firm.
I do have plenty of rubbing alcohol, but I saw a recent post from @BobHufford where rubbing alcohol discoloured his hat. Specialty hat cleaning products are not available here in Japan, and where they are, they’re silly prices (think ¥5000 for a single sponge. That’s about $35 and close to $100 for this Combat Hat Cleaner spray).
7D72C63C-B3FD-406D-A7AE-0A548E6D3962.jpeg

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Edit: I just found Bickmore spot remover…even including shipping, it would cost me less than half the price to buy it on Amazon USA than Amazon Japan!
 
Last edited:

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,871
Location
vancouver, canada
Hi all,
I’m looking for advice on cleaning my new Flying Cloud.
It has several black spots like this on the crown…
View attachment 449789
…and also a stain on the brim.
View attachment 449790
I guess I’ll start with steam and a brush.
I’m not equipped for a naphtha bath.
I don’t have a hat sponge and can’t find one in Japan. I wonder if this Pikolinos shoe sponge might do the trick. View attachment 449791
The black side is soft, the red very firm.
I do have plenty of rubbing alcohol, but I saw a recent post from @BobHufford where rubbing alcohol discoloured his hat. Specialty hat cleaning products are not available here in Japan, and where they are, they’re silly prices (think ¥5000 for a single sponge. That’s about $35 and close to $100 for this Combat Hat Cleaner spray).
View attachment 449794
Thanks in advance for any advice.
The difficulty in removing a stain from a hat is that it needs somewhere to go. If it is dirt then wetting the spot with water or alcohol will only disburse the spot into a bigger spot. As with clothing the stain must be flushed away and that is why a full naptha bath works.....there is enough liquid volume and strong enough to disolve many stains and then flush them fully out of the hat. If you attempt a spot clean you risk disbursing the spot and literally chasing it around the hat.
The risk of the shoe sponge is it could be too abrasive and remove too much fibre. If you go that route tread softly. I use a 3M white non abrasive pad to polish the felt . It might be best (safer) to live with the stain and consider it patina.
 

The Shoe

One Too Many
Messages
1,321
Location
Wakayama, Japan
The difficulty in removing a stain from a hat is that it needs somewhere to go. If it is dirt then wetting the spot with water or alcohol will only disburse the spot into a bigger spot. As with clothing the stain must be flushed away and that is why a full naptha bath works.....there is enough liquid volume and strong enough to disolve many stains and then flush them fully out of the hat. If you attempt a spot clean you risk disbursing the spot and literally chasing it around the hat.
The risk of the shoe sponge is it could be too abrasive and remove too much fibre. If you go that route tread softly. I use a 3M white non abrasive pad to polish the felt . It might be best (safer) to live with the stain and consider it patina.
Thanks, Robert.
I think I’ll most likely take that advice and maybe look at getting it done professionally one day. I really do like this one, so want to avoid exacerbating the problem.
 

ILB Frank

One of the Regulars
Messages
144
Thanks, Robert.
I think I’ll most likely take that advice and maybe look at getting it done professionally one day. I really do like this one, so want to avoid exacerbating the problem.
You could try packing tape (wrapped inside-out around your hand). Press it on the stain and lift it up. Depending on the type of stain, the tape may grab at least some of the dirt.
 
Messages
16,657
Location
Central California
Hi all,
I’m looking for advice on cleaning my new Flying Cloud.
It has several black spots like this on the crown…
View attachment 449789
…and also a stain on the brim.
View attachment 449790
I guess I’ll start with steam and a brush.
I’m not equipped for a naphtha bath.
I don’t have a hat sponge and can’t find one in Japan. I wonder if this Pikolinos shoe sponge might do the trick. View attachment 449791
The black side is soft, the red very firm.
I do have plenty of rubbing alcohol, but I saw a recent post from @BobHufford where rubbing alcohol discoloured his hat. Specialty hat cleaning products are not available here in Japan, and where they are, they’re silly prices (think ¥5000 for a single sponge. That’s about $35 and close to $100 for this Combat Hat Cleaner spray).
View attachment 449794
Thanks in advance for any advice.

Edit: I just found Bickmore spot remover…even including shipping, it would cost me less than half the price to buy it on Amazon USA than Amazon Japan!


I’ve seen other have good luck using cornstarch or Bick or Scout cleaning if products. A light dabbing with an alcohol dampened cloth might help to dissolve and lift the stain, but a lot depends on what made the stain and how deep it is. I’d go slow and be prepared to abandon your efforts if there are any indications you’re making it worse. The good news is the stains are light and not really noticeable unless you’re looking for them.
 

The Shoe

One Too Many
Messages
1,321
Location
Wakayama, Japan
The difficulty in removing a stain from a hat is that it needs somewhere to go. If it is dirt then wetting the spot with water or alcohol will only disburse the spot into a bigger spot. As with clothing the stain must be flushed away and that is why a full naptha bath works.....there is enough liquid volume and strong enough to disolve many stains and then flush them fully out of the hat. If you attempt a spot clean you risk disbursing the spot and literally chasing it around the hat.
The risk of the shoe sponge is it could be too abrasive and remove too much fibre. If you go that route tread softly. I use a 3M white non abrasive pad to polish the felt . It might be best (safer) to live with the stain and consider it patina.

You could try packing tape (wrapped inside-out around your hand). Press it on the stain and lift it up. Depending on the type of stain, the tape may grab at least some of the dirt.

I’ve seen other have good luck using cornstarch or Bick or Scout cleaning if products. A light dabbing with an alcohol dampened cloth might help to dissolve and lift the stain, but a lot depends on what made the stain and how deep it is. I’d go slow and be prepared to abandon your efforts if there are any indications you’re making it worse. The good news is the stains are light and not really noticeable unless you’re looking for them.

Thanks for the advice guys.
It’ll be steam and brush to start with. I’ll try the tape as well. I have used it for stubborn lint before. I’m not confident it will work on these spots, but it’s worth a crack. If I can find a spot where a failure won’t be noticeable, I’ll give alcohol a go, too.
Next time I buy a hat from an overseas shop, I’ll look into getting sponges and other products at the same time.
I’d be interested to hear what everyone considers their hat maintenance essentials.
 

Blare

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,691
Thanks for the advice guys.
It’ll be steam and brush to start with. I’ll try the tape as well. I have used it for stubborn lint before. I’m not confident it will work on these spots, but it’s worth a crack. If I can find a spot where a failure won’t be noticeable, I’ll give alcohol a go, too.
Next time I buy a hat from an overseas shop, I’ll look into getting sponges and other products at the same time.
I’d be interested to hear what everyone considers their hat maintenance essentials.
One thing I do when trying to reduce a spot with dry brushing. In order to get a bit more aggressive. I will grab some of the brush bristles tightly between my fingers to strengthen them a bit and then work the spot back and forth in all directions to help dislodge as much dirty as possible. Digging in as deep as possible without freying the felt. this can work wet too with same technic or with sponge. But I always try to get as much of a stain out as I can when dry before getting it wet.. as stated above… can kinda spread the mud around.
 

The Shoe

One Too Many
Messages
1,321
Location
Wakayama, Japan
One thing I do when trying to reduce a spot with dry brushing. In order to get a bit more aggressive. I will grab some of the brush bristles tightly between my fingers to strengthen them a bit and then work the spot back and forth in all directions to help dislodge as much dirty as possible. Digging in as deep as possible without freying the felt. this can work wet too with same technic or with sponge. But I always try to get as much of a stain out as I can when dry before getting it wet.. as stated above… can kinda spread the mud around.
Good advice. Thanks, Joe.
I have two brushes. One, that Hornskov threw in with one of my hats, is very soft. My first one, which I bought, is a bit stiffer, so I had planned on using that, but I’m sure doing as you suggest will help.
 

John the Swede

Familiar Face
Messages
81
Any pictures of what you have in mind? Unless a vintage hat, a lot of “sharp” creases get there over time. Rain storms and man handling.

There is a technique I learned with old scout hats that may work but let me know what you have in mind and I may be able to give you better direction.
Johnny
Here's one I like but can't get the inside up (if that makes sense). Another is this strange square bash from Noah Beery's Rocky character - love this bash, but man, those sides are FLAT!
 

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jeff

One of the Regulars
Messages
171
Location
Missouri
John - I wonder if the hat size itself matters? Looking at Noah, he wears it really high - look how far up from his ear it resides. As such the "square" is actually pretty small.
 

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