The Banner and Oak Guide to DIY Hat Repair

The Banner and Oak Guide to DIY Hat Repair

When it comes to your favorite hat, you would do anything to keep it in ship shape for as long as possible. Luckily a little maintenance can improve the life span of your hat for years. Not only will hat repair and maintenance keep you rocking your favorite classic cap but it will decrease your carbon footprint. The clothing industry makes up 10% of human caused carbon emissions, so having durable and sustainable clothing is key to slowing climate change. Follow these steps to maintain and repair your hats and they can last a decade or more!

As clothing goes, hats are fairly durable--but everything needs a mend when worn daily over years. Baseball caps are one of the most popular styles, and basic hat repair methods work as well for these as for fedoras or cowboy hats.

Banner & Oak, headwear professionals, recommends four basic methods so customers can maintain our high-quality products for years to come.


1. Cleaning

Light colored Banner and oak hat that will need a to be cleaned.

Cleaning is best accomplished with mild soap, warm water, and a toothbrush. Harsh detergents and bleach are never a good idea. Always hand clean rather than throwing in the washing machine. Scrub the hat inside and out, letting it dry naturally outdoors or next to an indoor fan. Beware of sunshine, as too much can fade the hats colors.

For light colored hats, you may need to clean more often as they show every small piece of dirt. Keep in mind that stains due to sweat may not come out of hats, light or dark. 

2. Uncrushing

Fitted hats are always the right size, but when they get crushed they lose both shape and fit. Use a few simple techniques to fix this problem—first, get the hat wet and wear it for a few hours on a sunny day.

If you don’t like having a wet head (or can’t find a sunny day), try fixing your crushed hat using the steam method. Boil water and use the steam to smooth out wrinkles, being careful not to burn yourself. By the same token, an iron can work well. Be sure to cover the hat with a cloth (like a T-shirt) before applying the iron, and use the “steam” setting.

If your cap bill is crushed, a good method for hat repair is to use rubber bands and a softball or bowl to reshape. Wet the cap bill, mold over softball, and secure with rubber bands. Wait until the cap bill has dried and remove rubber bands.

As a last resort—and especially if you own a lot of caps—you can buy an inexpensive hat washer, which comes with a cage to reshape the hat. Hat washers are cages that can be put into dishwashers.

3. Removing Wrinkles & Creases

Baseball caps can both lose their shape and develop unsightly wrinkles or creases. To restore, first wash the hat thoroughly and use a towel (do not place near a radiator or leave in the sun) to remove excess moisture. Once the cap is no longer soaking—but still damp--apply hair spray on both inside and outside.

Stuff the cap with plastic bags, as full as possible, then place a bowl inside the cap, pressing down on the bags. Leave the cap with bags and bowl in place to dry over a day or two. Again, do not use extreme drying methods like direct sun or a hair dryer. An indoor fan is perfect, or outdoors in the shade.

4. Re-dying Your Hat

If your hat has faded from too many days under the sun, you may want to redye it to keep it looking fresh. Perhaps the easiest way to re-dye a hat is with a product called RIT - plus a bit of dish soap, boiling water, and ¼ cup of salt. For baseball caps, using just 1/3 of a bottle of RIT should be plenty. Mix the ingredients into boiling water, then transfer the dye to the hat using a rag, while water is still hot. Be sure to use latex (or similar) gloves and be sure to clean your hat thoroughly before going through the dying process. Also—remember to use some extra caution around the logo on your hat!