Discussion in 'Hats' started by RBH, Nov 15, 2009.

  1. RBH

    RBH Bartender

    Well ...pretty close.


    You start out with your hat
    a gallon {or 2} of naptha [camp fuel]
    and a sealable bucket [5 gallon or so]


    I pop out the crown on my hats and turn down the brim.
    {this is my newest Stetson Stratoliner}


    I then place the hat crown side down [as much as you can with what size bucket you have]


    Then pour the cleaner over the hat.


    After the cleaner has been poured on the hat.


    close the bucket and let soak for a few hours, 'swooshing' the hat and cleaner around in the bucket a couple times a hour.


    After your soak time [can vary ] hang the hat outside to dry for around 2 hours.

  2. BobC

    BobC My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Central IL
    That looks interesting. Thanks for the demo, R. Can you reuse the naptha for more than one hat?
  3. Garrett

    Garrett My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Does this have a negative effect on the ribbon, sweatband or liner?
  4. RBH

    RBH Bartender

    Yes you can Bob, just do not clean a dark hat and then put a light one in the same cleaner.
    I have already cleaned my grey Marathon and now have my old Mallory 'the Dallas' soaking in the same cleaner as the Stratoliner was in.
  5. RBH

    RBH Bartender

    I have never had any ill effect from doing this to any of my hats.
    But I seem to remember someone had a sweat mess up on them from cleaning.
    I sent a Open Road to Steve Delk one time for cleaning and as far as I know he used the same method that I show here.
    As with anything... anything could happen.
    I used to soak a hat for up to 12 hours, but now I do it for a lot less time.
  6. jimmy the lid

    jimmy the lid I'll Lock Up

    Rusty -- thanks a million for this extremely helpful tutorial. Could you please show us an "after" photo of the inside of the hat (and the backside of the brim) like the "before" photo that you posted above. It will be interesting to see the results. (Any other "after" photos would be great to see, as well!).


  7. RBH

    RBH Bartender

    Will do Jimmy.
    This Stratoliner was not in as good of shape as I had hoped.
    It had what looks to me to be 3 'rust' stains and real bad sweat stains, the cleaning helped but did not get rid of them all the way.

    The Marathon cleaned up great!
  8. rlk

    rlk I'll Lock Up

    Evanston, IL
    Some oils(in leather) inks(liner) and plastics(liner covers) can have solubility issues so when in doubt test first. A sound sweatband is much safer than a questionable one(common sense). As you have experience with Stetson's of this type they appear safe. Replacing some oils in the sweatband is still probably a good idea.
  9. RBH

    RBH Bartender

    So right RLK.
    I use Lexol on my leather.
    Cornshucker77 likes this.
  10. RBH

    RBH Bartender

    Here ya go Jimmy, maybe if I left it in for 12 hours or so...[huh]


    the stains are not as bad, but still present.

    I have had several ask me about cleaning and thought this would help. If the hat is bad enough, a hatter may be best. But then again some stains are just tough to try and get out.
    The Stratoliner had a large water stain on the crown, it is gone now but the sweat and rust are still visable.
  11. Ephraim Tutt

    Ephraim Tutt One Too Many

    Sydney Australia
    Terrific Rusty! Thanks for that.

    Just out of curiosity - what do you guys pay for naptha? A 5 litre bottle here costs around $25.

    And...does this stuff make your hat more flammable? I your head going to go off like a flashpot at an AC/DC concert if someone lights a match nearby??? :eek:
  12. rlk

    rlk I'll Lock Up

    Evanston, IL
    Napthas will also vary.

    năpˈthə, năfˈ–, term usually restricted to a class of colorless, volatile, flammable liquid hydrocarbon mixtures. Obtained as one of the more volatile fractions in the fractional distillation of petroleum (when it is known as petroleum naphtha), in the fractional distillation of coal tar (coal-tar naphtha), and in a similar distillation of wood (wood naphtha), it is used widely as a solvent for various organic substances, such as fats and rubber, and in the making of varnish. Because of its dissolving property it is important as a cleaning fluid; it is also incorporated in certain laundry soaps. Coal-tar (aromatic) naphthas have greater solvent power than petroleum (aliphatic) naphthas. Originally the term naphtha designated a colorless flammable liquid obtained from the ground in Persia. Later it came to be applied to a number of other natural liquid substances having similar properties. Technically, gasoline and kerosene are considered naphthas.

    The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition Copyright© 2004, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Lernout & Hauspie Speech Products N.V. All rights reserved.
  13. St.Ignatz

    St.Ignatz Call Me a Cab

    Left of Philadelphia
    Thanks a heap Rusty. I picked up a gallon of naphtha a week or so ago but was dancing around the deed, this should do it. I had a couple stains on a strat and used "Sun & Earth" brand stain remover. It's an enzyme cleaner that I pretested on a couple felt samples from Art. It worked for me. Nice folks located a few miles from my home.
    Tom D.
  14. Mario

    Mario I'll Lock Up

    No. The stuff evaporates completely without leaving any residue. Just give it a couple of hours (2-4). No need to panic if you're wearing you hat and someone lights a cigarette next to you... ;)
  15. mayserwegener


    I have had issues with questionable (cracks) sweat bands were the die got into the felt.
  16. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee One Too Many

    Thank you, Rusty. Very helpful. :eusa_clap I'll be checking back on this thread before I do my first naptha bath.
  17. Chuck Bobuck

    Chuck Bobuck Practically Family

    Rolling Prairie
    Thanks RBH, great info!
  18. feltfan

    feltfan My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Oakland, CA, USA
    So you don't have to completely submerge the hat?
    I would have thought partial submersion would lead
    to uneven cleaning?

    I have also read here that it is better to fold the
    sweatband out, rather than leave it against the felt?

    Don't you do any scrubbing at all? Surely there
    is some way to maximize the penetration of the naptha
    and removal of schmutz?

    Finally, to the pro hat makers, is naptha removal the reason
    why hat makers use a hat drying device (which spins the
    hat dry)? I happen to have one...

  19. RBH

    RBH Bartender

    If you want to buy more naptha, there is no reason not to cover the entire hat.
    I use just one gallon hence the reason I 'swoosh' the hat around in the bucket every so often.

    I cant speak to that...never folded a sweat out before soaking. I see no reason why it would hurt.

    Sure sometimes I rub a tough spot. Just use common sense as what to do on that part.
  20. RBH

    RBH Bartender

    Its around $10 at Wal Mart for a gallon of camp fuel.

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