Help rescuing dirty hat!

Discussion in 'Hats' started by spectre_general, Apr 18, 2021.

  1. spectre_general

    spectre_general New in Town

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Canada
    Hey folks!

    Using this forums generous knowledge, I have been able to clean my Adventurebilt fedora several times over the 13 years I've been wearing it.

    But this last time has broken me.

    I know I'm doing something wrong. I tried steam and sponging with naphtha, that didn't help the sweat/grease marks.

    I tried talcum to soak up the grease, but it just turned the hat white in places.

    Finally, I dunked it in naphtha completely for hours, and it didn't really do much of anything!

    Is my hat too far gone? Am I making some rookie mistake? Help me save my lid!

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  2. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    I have cleaned many hats. Very soiled ones in naptha and lesser using hot water and Orvis paste....all of them cleaned up well. Never had anything like your experience. If the hat has great sentimental value to you perhaps consider sending to a place like Rand's Custom Hats, in Billings Montana. I get their FB feed and they show before and after pics of western hats (true working mans hats) that were in deplorable condition and they came out the other end as new. Based on their pictures I consider them miracle workers.
     
  3. Frunobulax

    Frunobulax

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    Rob, I would like to hear more about the Orvis paste and how you use it, please. Also, though I have cleaned many hats myself, could you offer any advice on what sort of brush/sponge you use for staining and the like?
     
    deadlyhandsome likes this.
  4. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    I steal (borrow) the Orvis paste from my wife.....she uses it to clean her wool fleece prepping it for spinning. The paste is a gentle cleaner and I first used it for a hat that just needed a refresh not a thorough cleaning (no stains, sweat, oil etc). It rinses easily, leaves no residue and I was pleased with how the felt came out. If I have a hat that needs a resize I use a hot water drenching before blocking and now as a matter of course use a bit of Orvis paste. I have yet to try it on a really stained hat. For a brush I use a plastic brush I buy from Lee Valley Tools. It is called the World's Best Nail Brush. They cost a few dollars each, work really well but have gentle bristles that don't harm the felt fibres.
     
    Frunobulax likes this.
  5. spectre_general

    spectre_general New in Town

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    Do you think something like Dawn dish soap would help in a pinch? In case I am Orvis-less.

    It's the stuff they use on oil-covered birds, so I assume it's gentle, but I don't know.
     
  6. Frunobulax

    Frunobulax

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    Location:
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    Thanks. I'll check those out. I have a growing pile of hats that need attention and I've been lazily procrastinating. Gotta get to work!

    A couple things to remember is there is no one solution to cleaning. In the case of Dawn, if your grime is oil-based then such a detergent can be helpful. Other types of dirt/grime might require a different line of attack. Also, Dawn suds like crazy, so don't use too much or you may have trouble rinsing it out. Never used it myself, but I've used Woolite with some success.

    It's never a bad idea to check the Tide website for stain advice. You may not want to do exactly what they suggest, but it can give you an idea of where to put your energies, whether they be detergent, vinegar, or something else.
     
  7. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

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    Never used Dawn or the like on a hat. I am thinking that if the Naptha did not clean it there is something going on because I have never had this issue. Could the discoloration be a surface bloom that can be eliminated with some light pouncing or the use of a non abrasive pad?
     
  8. moehawk

    moehawk I'll Lock Up

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    A warm water and detergent bath can often get out dirt, grime and salt that naptha won't. Here's a few warnings (from experience) about using water and detergent, however. Always dissolve the soap into the water to lessen the suds. Never put soap directly on the felt and scrub, or you will be rinsing the hat forever to get it out. And, where a hat will usually dry from a naptha bath back to it's original shape on its own, water washing requires drying on a hat block for best results.
    Good luck!
     
  9. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

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    The big reason I use Orvis is how easily it rinses out of the felt with zero residue
     
  10. Frunobulax

    Frunobulax

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    Thanks for the tip on those nail brushes. I just scored a dozen.
     
  11. moehawk

    moehawk I'll Lock Up

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    I have used Dollar Tree wool detergent with good results. I think it has just enough stuff in it to clean out the gunk naptha doesn't but not enough actual soap to leave much residue. But if I run across the Orvis I'll grab some for the future.
     
    Zombie_61 likes this.
  12. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

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    It is likely more expensive than the Dollar Tree stuff but I steal mine from my wife.
     
  13. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
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    They work really well. I have them all over the house. Work as vegetable brushes, nail brushes and just general clean up....and they last.
     
    Zombie_61 and Frunobulax like this.
  14. Frunobulax

    Frunobulax

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    I figure my wife will abscond with a couple. Given they were $2.50ea or $10.50doz, what the hey. Shipping was only $10
     
    Zombie_61 likes this.
  15. Lean'n'mean

    Lean'n'mean My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Location:
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    Here's where I step in & suggest carpet cleaner/shampoo for the grime.
    Your hat though looks like it has a lot of fading which you can't do anything about.
    One can only ask what the hell have you been doing to it for it to be in that state ! :D
     
  16. spectre_general

    spectre_general New in Town

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    That may in fact be talc from a previous effort that next came out, and instead just bonded to the staining. I have no idea why!
     
  17. Frunobulax

    Frunobulax

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    Location:
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    Tramping through Tunis looking for some old box?
     
  18. spectre_general

    spectre_general New in Town

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    Location:
    Canada
    Almost literally yes! ;)
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  19. Frunobulax

    Frunobulax

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    16,216
    Location:
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  20. Zombie_61

    Zombie_61 I'll Lock Up

    No, looking for Tunis sandwiches. Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!
     
    spectre_general and Frunobulax like this.

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