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How to Remove Sweat Stains Out of Straw Hats

Updated March 23, 2017

Unlike many other types of hats, straw hats are often worn for more than just decoration, which increases the likelihood of stains. Whether your hat has sweat stains from working in it outside or simply become prey to brow perspiration on a warm summer day, sweat stains can be unattractive and ruin the look of your hat. Try these quick tips for making your straw hat look like new again.

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  1. Brush the straw hat with a small whisk broom in small, light motions---being careful not to damage the weave. Flip hat over and lightly brush the interior of the hat.

  2. Dip a clean cloth in warm, sudsy water and wring it out well. Lightly clean around the area of staining or soiling, using small circular motions with the cloth.

  3. Rinse the cloth well with plain water, and wring until it is lightly damp. Return to the area of soiling and remove any soap residue with the damp cloth. Avoid getting the band or the hat too wet, as it may shrink the straw.

  4. Rescue a rain-soaked hat by wiping off the surplus water immediately with a clean dry towel. Sports straw hats with snaps in front should have the brim turned up all around to dry. Turn out the sweat band of a badly soaked hat to dry.

  5. Stand the hat on its band when drying to facilitate air circulation to the hat. Allow to air-dry indoors completely before wearing.

  6. Tip

    Stiffen up a limp straw hat with a light coating of clear shellac mixed with equal parts of rubbing alcohol. Apply when the hat is completely dry.


    Always dry your hat indoors and avoid setting it near a heating element to dry. Never dry a hat in direct sunlight. Do not put your hat in the washing machine or dry-clean it. Both will ruin straw hats.

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Things You'll Need

  • Small whisk broom or soft-bristled brush
  • Mild detergent
  • Water
  • Sink
  • Soft cloth or towel


About the Author

Abaigeal Quinn works as an international entertainment broker in the United States. She is a former news editor and insurance agent who began writing for a daily newspaper in 1995.

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