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Help rescuing dirty hat!

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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belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,301
Location
vancouver, 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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View attachment 328059
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.
 
Messages
17,465
Location
Funkytown, USA
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.

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?
 

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,301
Location
vancouver, canada
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?
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.
 

spectre_general

New in Town
Messages
5
Location
Canada
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.

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.
 
Messages
17,465
Location
Funkytown, USA
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.

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!

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.

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.
 

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,301
Location
vancouver, canada
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.
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?
 

moehawk

I'll Lock Up
Messages
5,408
Location
Northern California
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!
 

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,301
Location
vancouver, canada
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!
The big reason I use Orvis is how easily it rinses out of the felt with zero residue
 

moehawk

I'll Lock Up
Messages
5,408
Location
Northern California
The big reason I use Orvis is how easily it rinses out of the felt with zero residue
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.
 

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,301
Location
vancouver, canada
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.
It is likely more expensive than the Dollar Tree stuff but I steal mine from my wife.
 

Lean'n'mean

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,014
Location
Cloud-cuckoo-land
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
 

spectre_general

New in Town
Messages
5
Location
Canada
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

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!
 
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