How to Clean Straw Hats

Two Methods:Soapy washHydrogen peroxide clean

Straw hats are beautiful, functional but hard to keep clean. Here's a guide on how to keep straw hats clean and lasting longer.

Method 1
Soapy wash

  1. Image titled CheckStraw Step 1
    Check the straw. Baku, shantung, or any other straw that will take water can be washed.
  2. Image titled RemoveDeco Step 2
    Remove all ribbons, floral elements or other decorative pieces and wires. Rub straw with a cloth and lukewarm soapsuds.
  3. Image titled Rinse Step 3 7
    Rinse in lukewarm water. Use a cloth that has been dipped in warm water and wrung out to rub over the straw hat.
  4. Image titled Reblock Step 4
    Re-block straw while still wet. Place it over a hat block or similar shape that will mimic the hat shape. When dry after blocking, apply a coat of straw sizing. If the straw is colored, use sizing of the same color. This will renew faded straw. Alternatively, use steam to put the shape back into a misshapen straw hat - even steam from a kettle held over the hat can help to reshape it.[1]
  5. Image titled Dye Step 5
    Dye if wished. Many straws can be dyed another color or can be re-dyed to restore the old color.
  6. Image titled ReplaceDeco Step 6
    Replace the decorative elements. The hat should look as good as new.
  7. Image titled CleanStrawHats Intro

Method 2
Hydrogen peroxide clean

  1. 1
    Brush the hat gently to remove any large dirt particles.
  2. 2
    Mix 1 part hydrogen peroxide and 1 part water in a spray bottle.
  3. 3
    Spray this onto a soft cloth.
  4. 4
    Test a small, area to see if the solution is not in any way damaging to the hat. If there is no sign of damage, wipe the cloth over the entire hat.
  5. 5
    Clean the stain. On encountering stubborn stains simply spray a little of the solution onto the stain.


  • Many straw braids can be cleaned by wiping off with cleaning fluid. Steam press, pin hat to a flat surface and let dry. Apply a coat of straw sizing and let dry.
  • To freshen a Milan hat, pin brim to a hard surface and steam press into shape. Let dry and size with sizing of the same color.
  • Note that a straw hat that gets too wet may shrink.[2]
  • If you are unsure about using any of these methods, take the hat to a haberdasher or dry cleaners.
  • If your hat is out of shape, dented or crushed simply hold it over steam and watch the magic! Be careful though, steam can burn!


  • Do not over spray your hat, as straw hats tend to shrink upon contact with too much water.
  • Do not put your hat in the washing machine; this will ruin it.

Things You'll Need

Method 1:

  • Mild soapsuds or soap detergent
  • Small soft cleaning cloth
  • Clean space to wash
  • Hat block or similar shaped item for drying hat over

Method 2:

  • Soft bristle brush
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Warm water
  • Small spray bottle
  • Soft cloth

Sources and Citations

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Article Info

Categories: Hats | Millinery