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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Your Questions: Removing Stains from Hats

By Dr. Laundry February 3, 2008

Q: My father recently passed away and left behind two, white straw cowboy hats. I would like to give the hats to my young grandchildren, his great grandchildren, as a remembrance. We have several pictures of him in those hats and the youngsters remember him that way. The problem is, the hats are sweat stained and I would like to get them clean. How can I do that?

A: Sorry to hear about the loss of your father. Unfortunately, I don’t have a good solution for your sweat stained hat brim. I could recommend some products to treat the sweat areas but any washing might weaken the straw and I would not want to risk compromising the hat. Another concern is that as some components of the sweat age, they change color usually to yellow/brown and the best option is usually bleach to clean that up. I am worried that bleach would be too strong and damage the hats. Not sure if there is a way to try steam cleaning them carefully, but that is the best alternative I can think of at this time.