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Cleaning spots, stains and soiling from felt hats

Joe Rotax

Familiar Face
Messages
98
Location
South Ontario
My SB Stetson went for a flight today and blew along some muddy grass - cleaned up just fine with one of those sticky lint rollers. I'll have to get some proper hat brushes and cleaners sometime though.
 

LoveMyHats2

I’ll Lock Up.
Messages
5,196
Location
Michigan
I think someone posted a really clean up job on a stetson playboy that had what looked like a circle of motor oil on it, and they used k2r cleaner, which you can purchase at most ace hardware stores. k2r is a great product. The hat was a fairly white colored felt. I just purchased a can of it and plan on using it soon myself. Check what Robert did to the off white playboy he snagged from ebay a week or so ago.
 

LoveMyHats2

I’ll Lock Up.
Messages
5,196
Location
Michigan
My SB Stetson went for a flight today and blew along some muddy grass - cleaned up just fine with one of those sticky lint rollers. I'll have to get some proper hat brushes and cleaners sometime though.

Regular hat brushes are nice and work fine. I have however, a good cheaper alternative. I have many different colors in hats. It is said you need a hat brush for light colored hats and one for dark colors. As you brush a hat you may notice some very slight color transfer from the hat to the brush. So as I noticed that, why do I want to use a brush on a black hat to brush a dark brown or green hat? I dont'! So....I purchased some cheap house paint brushes from the dollar store. I have one for each color hat, the brush takes a bit more time than a normal hat brush, but works just as well. I got three house paint brushes that are soft for a whopping dollar plus taxes. I have two normal hat brushes one for my real light colored hats and one for my black hats, and everything else has the el cheapo paint brushes, I tried them first on a brown hat, and as I observed it worked, I ran back to the store and purchased a few more packages of the same three house paint brushes for a buck each. They are soft and not hard on the hat felt at all.
 

LoveMyHats2

I’ll Lock Up.
Messages
5,196
Location
Michigan
This first message is very useful information; the second is a bit beyond OSHA guidelines. Why I was searching was this stained Stetson that I took interest in until the seller said it did not look like rust to her. Then, i got to thinking, and wondered if it were blood, spilled on an upturned hat that had seeped through to the top of the brim. If someone here bought this, I'll be interested in your cleaning results.
I looked at the same hat, ( I think on eBay)? I got the same impression, it looked like blood or maybe ketchup? " Fries to go with that Hat, sir"?
 

Mystic

Practically Family
Messages
882
Location
Northeast Florida
Josh; Thanks for the article. I have saved a copy as it answers some of my questions regarding the different stains that I have encountered on vintage hats. The section on vegetable and egg stains are exactly as my encounters have played out. I am curious as to the next installment of the American Hatter as it is said to contain a gas bath expose. If you locate that, please post up a copy. Correct technique and tactics are "correct" without regard to age.

Ready to tackle a greasy hat cleaning today. Eric -

Have you used any of the 'sponges' to clean stains? I saw a package of 2 sponges for $1.99 on a website and wondered if they really made a difference cleaning small stains.
 

Grizzly Adams

A-List Customer
Messages
364
Location
New Mexico
I remember as a boy, that my father used lighter fluid to clean spots from his felt hats. Anyone tried that?

Growing up I lived for some years in Alamogordo, NM, which is very close to the White Sands National Monument. When we would go to the "Sands" for a day, the men would bring along their felt hats and rub them with the sand to clean them.
 

KAB

New in Town
Messages
3
Location
WV
Big mistake!

I purchased an OR off Ebay a couple of years ago, 1950 era. It had three what looked to be rust spots, maybe a 16th of an inch diameter. I made the mistake of trying to clean them without knowing what I was doing. Now I have three orange smudges. Have I ruined my hat? Can it be cleaned? Would the Camp Fuel bath help? Thanks for any advice.
 
Messages
10,524
Location
DnD Ranch, Cherokee County, GA
First, I'd try talc to see if that would lift it out. Get some talcum powder & coat the area liberally with it then work it in good with finger tips.
Let it sit for a day then brush off, repeat.
You can get some Zippo lighter fluid & coat a Qtip to blot a small area to see how that may work before doing the full naptha bath effort.

BTW, how did you initially try to clean it?
Welcome to the Lounge & hat cleaning experimentation workshop...
 

KAB

New in Town
Messages
3
Location
WV
Thank you for the welcome. I have been lurking for quite awhile. You gentlemen have some great hats.

I am almost ashamed to tell anyone what I have done to this poor old hat. I took some Oxyclean stain remover spray and wet down the spots then gentlly brushed with a tooth brush. That removed the dark rust spots, or more likely diuted them and spread them around. I then, recently, wetted a Magic Eraser (a dense sponge) and brushed at the spots again. Both times I was careful to brush from the left to the right.

Here is the hat. You should be able to see a smudge on the brim at 6:00, one on the crown directly above the one on the brim, and the larger one on the crown to the left of the first.

IMG_3070_zps048cb168.jpg


IMG_3069_zps1238018b.jpg


IMG_3064_zpsf2448c5e.jpg


IMG_3061_zps7bab0295.jpg
 

rlk

I'll Lock Up
Messages
6,100
Location
Evanston, IL
Once it is bleached out lighter than the surrounding felt it is no longer a stain that can be removed. You would need to leave it alone or attempt to tint it to match the surrounding area which risks creating a darker ring around the spot which attracts more attention than the original.
 

TomS

One Too Many
Messages
1,199
Location
USA.
Well, on the brighter side... we've all done those kinds of things, and perhpas someone else will learn from it. Now, you'll have to wear that OR as your *work* hat, and buy another collectible one for special occassiosns... oh well :)
 

JohnTheHat

New in Town
Messages
22
Location
EIRE
How do you know if a clothes brush is soft enough for a wool felt hat. I got one for a euro and it seems fine very soft in fact.I am in Ireland not much choice here
 

Fredthecat

One of the Regulars
Messages
162
Location
Last house on the left
Blood spot removal

How can I remove a blood drop spot from vintage Silverbelly Open Road?

Not a blood bath and just one drop...like from a thumb...on front of crown, rear of pinch.

Thanks for ideas,
Fredthecat
 
Messages
17,285
Location
Maryland
Being a light color makes it very problematic. Hopefully the blood hasn't soaked deep into the fiber. I would first try dry brushing (use a softer brush with dense hair, you might have try a couple different types) with the nap and against the nap (back and forth, trying to get rid as much as you can this way). Once you apply water or a cleaning solution (peroxide, spit, lemon, naphtha, whatever ) you are heading into unknown territory (might remove blood but cause discoloring, blood stain to spread, ect). I am sure others will chime in. Also posting a photo would be helpful.
 
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