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STEP BY STEP NAPTHA BATH

Messages
10,599
Location
vancouver, canada
This thread is a bit old now, but here’s my recent experience. I’ve read about cleaning hats using naptha, and I have also read that Coleman’s camp fuel is just naptha and is an acceptable substitute. Well, I just tried some on an old hat (because I had a gallon of Coleman’s fuel). It cleaned the hat, but days later the hat still reeks of the stuff. So, I went to Ace hardware and got a gallon of VM&P Naptha (for $18.99) and used it on another hat. A coupke of hours after I took the hat out of the naptha it was dry and smelled of nothing. So, based on my experience, if you do not want to smell like an oil refinery for the foreseeable future, DO NOT USE WHITE GAS CAMP FUEL. Get naptha (unless you’re in California, in which case you can’t).
Interesting experience. I wonder if there is a difference between US and Canadian Coleman camp fuel? It is the only thing I use as it is so easily obtained. The Coleman's gasses off within hours and have never had a lingering odour. It gasses off and dries super quickly. And I use it regularly in my hat restoration business.
 
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Messages
10,599
Location
vancouver, canada
I'll have to give this a try. I've used Crown brand camp fuel from Wal-Mart (@ $7.64 / gal.) and have had any odors related to the solvent dissipate in a short time (with a couple of exceptions that took much longer for reasons I can't explain). I've heard the Coleman fuel has other additives that might cause the issue you experienced, but if straight naphtha is available from Ace I might splurge. It could be worth it.
I use to pay $23 (Canadian dollars for a US gallon of Colemans. Last week it jumped up to $34......but NO ONE had any stock.....it is sold out everywhere.
 

Fed in a Fedora

Practically Family
Messages
739
Location
Dixie, USA
I have an old BGCD which I use while doing bird photography. It has accumulated some stains from over ripe elderberries. I was wondering if a naphtha bath would clean those stains. It needs regular cleaning anyway, but I might need to do something about the berry stains first.

Thoughts?

Thanks,
Fed
 
Messages
19,316
Location
Funkytown, USA
I have an old BGCD which I use while doing bird photography. It has accumulated some stains from over ripe elderberries. I was wondering if a naphtha bath would clean those stains. It needs regular cleaning anyway, but I might need to do something about the berry stains first.

Thoughts?

Thanks,
Fed

From my experience, a naphtha bath will rid you of dirt and grime, but stains are another matter, as they may need to be chemically dislodged from the fabric in another way.

I usually suggest going to the Tide site (P&G) and looking for the specific or similar stain source. It's an excellent primer on removing stains. Most stains need to be chemically counteracted and, while detergent can work wonders, that's usually not good for our sweatbands and the like. Of course, the Tide site is going to tell you to use Tide most of the time, but you can usually surmise what to do.

Personally, I have pretty bad luck with stains. Robert (@belfastboy) seems to be good at it. Perhaps he can lend some pointers.
 

Short Balding Guy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
9,750
Location
Minnesota, USA
What will remove the staining (crown and brim)on this hat?
(The attached pic shows the hat during steaming this morning. You can see a distinct line or stain on the hat.)

i-TkgPN53-M.jpg


i-FbrFw3f-M.jpg


Background: I am fortunate to have been able to aquire this hat. It has been on a "Search List" for a long time. When I recieved and looked carefully this hat I noticed some vague cloudy stains. It was infinitely wearable at that moment. In my desire to make the hat as close to pristine I started cleaning which exacerbated the staining. I regret my decision.

I first naphtha bathed the hat. The stain on the crown and brim edge started to show up more. I wiped the hat down with a damp distilled cloth and the stains absolutely popped out. I let the hat completely dry. As I was disappointed in my deision to clean the hat I put it aside for a week. Yesterday I started the Jiffy Steamer up and steamed the hat copiously and started brushing hard. I let the hat completely dry overnight.

Disappointed this morning I went and tested Scout Cleaner. No additional staining. I sprayed the cleaner and started brushing. Gentle brushing-no effect. Medium brushing-no effect. Back to my Jiffy Steamer. Lots and lots of steam and hard brushing. No effect.

To my eyes I look at the hat and only see the distinct line of staining. Duh!!!

What will remove the staining?

Chagrined and challenged this morning, Eric -
 

Ingramite

One of the Regulars
Messages
107
Location
The Texas Hill Country
What will remove the staining (crown and brim)on this hat?
(The attached pic shows the hat during steaming this morning. You can see a distinct line or stain on the hat.)

i-TkgPN53-M.jpg


i-FbrFw3f-M.jpg


Background: I am fortunate to have been able to aquire this hat. It has been on a "Search List" for a long time. When I recieved and looked carefully this hat I noticed some vague cloudy stains. It was infinitely wearable at that moment. In my desire to make the hat as close to pristine I started cleaning which exacerbated the staining. I regret my decision.

I first naphtha bathed the hat. The stain on the crown and brim edge started to show up more. I wiped the hat down with a damp distilled cloth and the stains absolutely popped out. I let the hat completely dry. As I was disappointed in my deision to clean the hat I put it aside for a week. Yesterday I started the Jiffy Steamer up and steamed the hat copiously and started brushing hard. I let the hat completely dry overnight.

Disappointed this morning I went and tested Scout Cleaner. No additional staining. I sprayed the cleaner and started brushing. Gentle brushing-no effect. Medium brushing-no effect. Back to my Jiffy Steamer. Lots and lots of steam and hard brushing. No effect.

To my eyes I look at the hat and only see the distinct line of staining. Duh!!!

What will remove the staining?

Chagrined and challenged this morning, Eric -
I'm along for the ride on this one Eric.
I have a similar type stain on one of my Stetsons.

I haven't tried anything but a talcum dusting that didn't work.
20221019_105232.jpg
 

Short Balding Guy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
9,750
Location
Minnesota, USA
I have been doing some investigations and am considering using a cool water soak of OxiClean (sodium percarbonate, sodium carbonate, surfactants and polymer) and then a thorough rinse with more distilled water. The above product breaks down into hydrogen peroxide and sodium carbonate in solution. The bubbling action, or the release of oxygen molecules, loosens stain molecules from fibers so they can be rinsed away.

Thoughts?
 
Messages
10,599
Location
vancouver, canada
I have been doing some investigations and am considering using a cool water soak of OxiClean (sodium percarbonate, sodium carbonate, surfactants and polymer) and then a thorough rinse with more distilled water. The above product breaks down into hydrogen peroxide and sodium carbonate in solution. The bubbling action, or the release of oxygen molecules, loosens stain molecules from fibers so they can be rinsed away.

Thoughts?
Is worth a try. Stains/soiling is such a crap shoot as it is so contingent on the composition of the stain. I have found that naptha is not the cure all as there are stains it does not touch. As you suggest in your post ....the stain has to be broken down and then flushed from the felt. If we don't know the nature of the stain we don't know what to attack it with.......other than trial and error.
 

CISO1969

New in Town
Messages
6
Location
US
Interesting experience. I wonder if there is a difference between US and Canadian Coleman camp fuel? It is the only thing I use as it is so easily obtained. The Coleman's gasses off within hours and have never had a lingering odour. It gasses off and dries super quickly. And I use it regularly in my hat restoration business.
What kind of bucket and cover are you using for this? Won't Naptha melt or dissolve plastic?
 
Messages
10,599
Location
vancouver, canada
What kind of bucket and cover are you using for this? Won't Naptha melt or dissolve plastic?
I use either a large SS stock pot or a bigger old enameled canning pot, both have lids. I have never used plastic and I always wear elbow length chemical grade rubber gloves. I have a soft silicone bristle brush that I use on the felt for the real tough stains. Also, the hat is stripped of all components, ribbon, sweat and liner.
 

buler

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,375
Location
Wisconsin
I have been doing some investigations and am considering using a cool water soak of OxiClean (sodium percarbonate, sodium carbonate, surfactants and polymer) and then a thorough rinse with more distilled water. The above product breaks down into hydrogen peroxide and sodium carbonate in solution. The bubbling action, or the release of oxygen molecules, loosens stain molecules from fibers so they can be rinsed away.

Thoughts?

Yes, the bubbling action and the hydrogen peroxides bleaching action both help with loosening dirt and removing stains. As belfastboy pointed out, it's knowing the composition of the stain that is most important. Most vintage hats arrive with their stains and we don't know what caused them.

I know Josh once cleaned a hat (I think for Alan) that was a very light colored felt using water (and maybe some detergent) and got great results.

B
 

buler

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,375
Location
Wisconsin
1674914432727.png



If this was mine and I really wanted the stain out. I'd try running water thru the crown from the inside out. Then use baking soda to absorb and repeat. Lots of running water. Start there and see if that makes a difference.
 
Messages
17,840
OxiClean will work depending on the composition of the stain, as pointed out. Warm water helps with the chemical breakdown & bubbling/agitation. And OxiClean will expand so make sure you use a tall enough container for that expansion. Woolite & Woolite Delicate will work under the same conditions. Rinse several times with plenty of fresh water when finished to get all the soap out.

And both are much easier to dispose of than Naphtha, no harm to the environment, etc.
 

Who?

Practically Family
Messages
664
Location
South Windsor, CT
I don’t want to be seen as shaking my finger at people, but if you are going to fool with naphtha, just be sure you know what you are dealing with.

Naphtha is very volatile and extremely flammable.

Back in the days when naphtha lamps were used in domestic lighting there were many horrible accidents, where people were severely burned, even fatally.

Nasty stuff.
 
Messages
10,599
Location
vancouver, canada
Yes, the bubbling action and the hydrogen peroxides bleaching action both help with loosening dirt and removing stains. As belfastboy pointed out, it's knowing the composition of the stain that is most important. Most vintage hats arrive with their stains and we don't know what caused them.

I know Josh once cleaned a hat (I think for Alan) that was a very light colored felt using water (and maybe some detergent) and got great results.

B
When cleaning a vintage hat my first step is to clean with warm water and Orvis paste (a low Ph soap my wife uses to clean raw wool) It works for a great many stains and even gets out some that naptha won't. The upside is it so much easier to work with than naptha....and cheaper....and I suspect easier on the felt itself. As well I can do the wash in my laundry tubs indoors rather than outside. I find myself doing it this way more often than the naptha bath. I have to experiment with the oxy clean/peroxide method.
 
Messages
10,599
Location
vancouver, canada
I don’t want to be seen as shaking my finger at people, but if you are going to fool with naphtha, just be sure you know what you are dealing with.

Naphtha is very volatile and extremely flammable.

Back in the days when naphtha lamps were used in domestic lighting there were many horrible accidents, where people were severely burned, even fatally.

Nasty stuff.
Yep, I def don't smoke my cigar whilst doing the naptha bath.......and I do it in my garage with the door wide open and the naptha bucket at the very open edge of the big doorway.
 

Timeras1

New in Town
Messages
43
Location
Fayetteville, AR
Hi guys... just finished (for the most part) my winter season hat naptha bath... thought I'd post some comments and have a question myself...

So I used 3 gallons of Crown white gas, bought at Walmart in the camping section... I wanna say I paid in the $13-14 range per gallon (3 cans). I don't recall the price exactly, but it was the same price as the Coleman Camp Gas, I do recall. I used the plastic tub I've used before with no problem. When I did it last year, I filtered the used gas through a coffee filter back into the cans, but I decided to just use new gas again, and used the old stuff to kill weeds in my driveway cracks (worked well!). I sprayed out the container with the garden hose but then noticed a dried powdery coating the inside of the container, below the 3 gallon mark. It's been a year, so I'm not sure what it might've been, remnants of stuff that came out of the hats last year? or maybe the container itself breaking down due to the gas? The container is plastic, not quite as stout as a pickle bucket, and I did leave the old gas in it for some time before I filtered it. In any case, I used a scouring brush and scrubbed it all out with water, and went along with my bath plans.

I bathed 4 hats this time, 3 lighter beige colors, and 1 green one. I used Lexol leather conditioner on all of the sweatbands, inside and out before the bath. I highly recommend doing this, I didn't have any issue with the sweatbands except what I'll detail later. Back to the bath. I think I determined this time to do the order of the least dirtiest first, as each subsequent one would be exposed to the previous one's dirt. And by dirt, I mean dust, etc from years packed away, these were all vintage lids won at auction. It did not occur to me until after to perhaps have done the darker green hat first or last due to color(it was in the middle, dirt-wise).

All of them came out relatively well, with a couple stain spots I used a toothbrush to scrub out. A couple did not, one that looks like it might've been an ink mark on the brim (maybe to indicate exact front across from the bow inside at the back). The gas scrub just kind of smeared it some. As well, there was a light mark of something on the ribbon of one hat, and the gas scrub got most of it out, but when it dried, there's a light stain of the area I scrubbed. So I need to try some method to get that out of the ribbon. Not sure about the brim mark, it's not hideously noticeable, so wouldn't be too bad If I left it alone. Anyone have any experience with ribbon stains?

Another thing, I did notice some shrinkage this time moreso than the last. In my container, the gas comes up to about the brim of the hat upside down. I turned the sweatbands out to spare them the dunking as much as possible, but I did press down a little bit to get the entire brim wet, so the sweatbands did catch some gas. So after, I noticed some shrinkage on at least two of them, not unbearably tight, or an entire size shrunk, but enough for me to put them on hat stretchers to hopefully stretch them back to size. Anyone else encounter shrinkage due to the gas bath?

The hats were dirtier than I initially thought, because there's a good amount of grime on the bottom of the container now. I'm debating washing one more hat, that's REALLY hammered, to see if I can get some of it's dirt out too. I'll decide this weekend.

Oh yeah, this year I just wore basic nitrile gloves that worked fine. My hands didn't spend much time in the gas, so no issues there.

Overall I'm pleased with the results, tho it seems to me the dirt was actually covering up a lot of wear on the felt... which I thought was weird... hadn't noted that last year on other hats.
 

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