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Cleaning spots, stains and soiling from felt hats

diabolicaldog

New in Town
Messages
35
Location
New England, Australia.
I would dry it right out with a hair drier and the blood should scratch off. I have had blood spray from animals on quite a few work Akubra and found it was best to let dry before attempting to touch it.
 

barrowjh

One Too Many
Messages
1,398
Location
Maryville Tennessee
I have used an ammonia solution, probably 50-50 with water, and you will need to wet the entire hat with that in order to work the spot without just creating a large water spot. After it dries, a similar wetting with coleman fuel is not a bad follow-up. Just keep all such liquids off of the sweatband. Wetting, not a soaking. You may or may not need to restore some oil to the felt after all of that.
 

viclip

Practically Family
Messages
571
Location
Canada
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

Taken from the good old "Scientific Hat Finishing and Renovating" book, pages 33/34 ~

< Removing Egg, Milk or Blood Stains
For egg, milk or blood stains a brisk brushing with
the penetrating brush is often sufficient. If this fails,
apply cold water to the stain with a sponge, keeping
the spot wet for five or ten minutes, then sponge with
weak ammonia—now try it with your finger nail or
knife, to see if it is dissolved. If not, owing to the
age of the stain, wet the spot for another ten or fifteen
minutes. When dissolved, take your bone scraper
—the back of a table knife will do—and rub vigorously,
one way with the nap, following with moist
sponge and with the penetrating brush until the stain
disappears. Dry thoroughly before placing the hat in
the regular gasoline bath, which will be described later.
If described process fails to do the work dissolve
one teaspoonful of soap bark in one-half cup of cold
water, add twenty drops of ammonia and brush the
spots with this solution, using a toothbrush or nailbrush.
After brushing for a few minutes wash the
spot thoroughly with clear water, removing all the
soap bark, then keep it wet with a 2 per cent, solution
of pepsin for a half hour or forty-five minutes. Wash
out with plenty of clear water and let the hat thoroughly
dry ... Never apply alcohol to stains of this nature. >

Incidentally the reference to "gasoline" is to what is now called white gas i.e. naphtha.
 
Messages
10,499
Location
Boston area
My only contribution to this conversation, having worked at a slaughterhouse in my youth I have lots of experience with removing blood stains. Use only COLD water and cleaners. Hot will actually SET the stain.
 

John Galt

Vendor
Messages
2,080
Location
Chico
Blood spot removal

You can buy stiff bristled brushes at dry cleaning supply outlets, or search on eBay for dry cleaning brushes. I believe this is what is meant by a "penetrating" brush...
 
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T Jones

I'll Lock Up
Messages
6,688
Location
Central Ohio
How about bird sh*t? Any cleaning suggestions on that one? Workable ideas definitely appreciated.
 
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John Galt

Vendor
Messages
2,080
Location
Chico
How about bird sh*t? Any cleaning suggestions on that one? Workable ideas definitely appreciated.

Terry, it's a protein stain, like blood, I guess, so the same process would probably work. I've had pretty good results with Scout cleaner, generally, but make sure you get the light colored cleaner for light colored hats, etc.
 

viclip

Practically Family
Messages
571
Location
Canada
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

I recently removed some very tough stains from a hat ribbon using "Amodex", a well-known ink remover for stained clothing. Maybe I'll do a separate post respecting the mess that I faced, but for now I just noticed that the product documentation for Amodex indicates that it is effective on blood stains too. My source for Amodex is the Fountain Pen Hospital, who are great to deal with & also they carry a whole host of writing instruments, inks, refills etc. Using Excel cell nomenclature, Amodex is at B4 if you hit the "Repairs and Tools" tab on the attached link:

http://www.fountainpenhospital.com/
 
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Fredthecat

One of the Regulars
Messages
162
Location
Last house on the left
Thanks for the help. Good ideas. This blood spot is just one 1/4" sized drop, dabbed off with cold water/cotton cloth while wet, no deep/aged penetration, but left a stain. Only happened last Monday, so still semi "fresh" but now dry.
 

B1ggles

Familiar Face
Messages
89
Location
Suffolk, England
My brown Failsworth fur felt fedora had an accident involving candle wax some months ago.

Despite advice from friends to iron it to melt the wax (I figured that would just make it soak deeper in, instead of staying on the surface), I got the worst off with methylated spirits. The stain is now much less noticeable, but I'd like to try and get rid of it completely, would lighter fluid still as good a bet as any?
 

viclip

Practically Family
Messages
571
Location
Canada
My brown Failsworth fur felt fedora had an accident involving candle wax some months ago.

Despite advice from friends to iron it to melt the wax (I figured that would just make it soak deeper in, instead of staying on the surface), I got the worst off with methylated spirits. The stain is now much less noticeable, but I'd like to try and get rid of it completely, would lighter fluid still as good a bet as any?

Lighter fluid is probably a better wax solvent than alcohol. One trick that I've picked up is to dab the area while suspending the hat upside down, this minimizes the spreading of the spot; be sure to quickly follow the dabbing with application of something absorbent then repeat as necessary. Also consider applying talcum powder as an absorbent or as a poultice. Some people use corn starch but I find that talcum powder can be brushed off ten times easier than corn starch, quite frankly the latter creates somewhat of a mess in my experience.
 

g.durand

One Too Many
Messages
1,896
Location
Down on the Bayou
I unknowingly cut my finger several days ago while wearing a light colored beaver felt hat and got a couple of spots of blood on the hat while handling it before I realized I had a cut. Without having water or a clean cloth, I made a "field" repair by applying saliva to the blood spots with a finger tip, then scratching the stain off with my fingernail. The saliva eventually dried, leaving a very light brown stain, probably from spreading some remaining blood. After the spots dried, I used a piece of 400 grit sandpaper to lightly scuff the spots, which almost completely disappeared.

A couple of observations:

The blood wasn't completely dry, so I had a better chance of getting it out.

Although saliva is primarily for dissolving dietary starches and fats at the beginning of the digestive process, it probably played a role in since blood plasma is a sugar/fat/protein compound.

I have used fine sandpaper to remove surface stains on hats with some success. If the stain is not too deep a light sanding will sometimes take it out. The key is not to sand too hard or for too long, or else you can create other problems. A couple of light scuffs is all I give it. The method also works better on lighter colored hats that are relatively clean. Otherwise you wind up scuffing off a layer of dirty felt and leaving a light spot.
 
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B1ggles

Familiar Face
Messages
89
Location
Suffolk, England
Lighter fluid is probably a better wax solvent than alcohol. One trick that I've picked up is to dab the area while suspending the hat upside down, this minimizes the spreading of the spot; be sure to quickly follow the dabbing with application of something absorbent then repeat as necessary. Also consider applying talcum powder as an absorbent or as a poultice. Some people use corn starch but I find that talcum powder can be brushed off ten times easier than corn starch, quite frankly the latter creates somewhat of a mess in my experience.
Thanks, I'll mug a smoker for his fluid and give it a try.
 

viclip

Practically Family
Messages
571
Location
Canada
Thanks, I'll mug a smoker for his fluid and give it a try.

It's the naphtha in the lighter fluid that you want. Also known as "white gas" on this side of the pond, naphtha is also the main ingredient in camping stove fuels such as those marketed under the trade name "Coleman".
 
Messages
234
Location
Northern California
I frequently come across mystery stained military clothing in my hunt for military stuff in general. I use an airbrush cleaner by Media. it is intended for soaking an airbrush for about 24 hours before cleaning, breaks down acrylic paint into a jelly like substance that is easily cleaned. This stuff works great on just about anything. Black grease from cars, blood, pizza grease on a shirt, I use it all the time. Being an airbrush painter I've got a bottle full ready to just treat any stain as it happens but it is worth the trouble of seeking out at the art store to have around the house. Simply give a soak for about a day and then wash in the washing machine. It has never discolored or bleached anything.

Also, depending on how far you wanna take the solvent thing, you can purchase a cheap compressor and airbrush for about a hundo and use it as your own dry cleaner, very similar to professional equipment. It's another method I use after spot treatments of solvents like lacquer thinner or alcohol, maybe even some of the solvents mentioned back in this thread. But what's happening is the force of the spray from the airbrushed solvent is pushing the stain out through the other side as opposed to diluting and spreading it into a material. This is where the water mark looking stain happens. You simply back whatever you are cleaning with a white rag and blast through the stain with the airbrush. Works wonders.
 

LuvMyMan

I’ll Lock Up.
Messages
4,558
Location
Michigan
I frequently come across mystery stained military clothing in my hunt for military stuff in general. I use an airbrush cleaner by Media. it is intended for soaking an airbrush for about 24 hours before cleaning, breaks down acrylic paint into a jelly like substance that is easily cleaned. This stuff works great on just about anything. Black grease from cars, blood, pizza grease on a shirt, I use it all the time. Being an airbrush painter I've got a bottle full ready to just treat any stain as it happens but it is worth the trouble of seeking out at the art store to have around the house. Simply give a soak for about a day and then wash in the washing machine. It has never discolored or bleached anything.

Also, depending on how far you wanna take the solvent thing, you can purchase a cheap compressor and airbrush for about a hundo and use it as your own dry cleaner, very similar to professional equipment. It's another method I use after spot treatments of solvents like lacquer thinner or alcohol, maybe even some of the solvents mentioned back in this thread. But what's happening is the force of the spray from the airbrushed solvent is pushing the stain out through the other side as opposed to diluting and spreading it into a material. This is where the water mark looking stain happens. You simply back whatever you are cleaning with a white rag and blast through the stain with the airbrush. Works wonders.

That sounds like a great idea! I have been using some different chemical cleaners on white suede and I just used one of those cleaners on a hat that I accidentally touched the end of a ball point pen on it...ink is a scary thing when it comes to stains...so I have this cleaner, is says DYO Spot Remover on the small bottle it is in...and used a clean old tube sock splashed the cleaner on the sock and just dabbed (no rubbing) on the hat body. This is a IVORY hat from TonyB Custom and one of my Husband's treasures! I pressed the sock hard against the ink and kept dabbing it...for about two minutes...the ink was GONE! It was pulled into the sock and none left on the hat...but it did look like I would have a stain from the cleaner! OH NO! BUT nope...when the cleaner dried..you could not see any residue and no ink at all...looked like brand new again! The DYO is used to get crud and old polish and stains and anything you can think of off our Vintage shoes that have white suede and it works like magic! We purchased it from our shoe Cobbler about two years ago. It is only a two ounce bottle but it goes a long way! Have used it on about 10 pairs of shoes and then this hat and still more than a half bottle.

I am far too afraid to use lighter fluid (naphtha) on a hat body.....so I opted to use this DYO cleaner. Maybe it is better than naphtha? Not sure is naphtha would get a serious ink stain from a Ivory hat body????
 
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