As fall nears, you'll switch from your straw show hat to your felt one. Here's how to clean and store your straw to keep it in tip-top shape for next year.
Clean it. Use a soft brush to brush away loose dirt. Then use a soft, water-dampened cloth to wipe away dirt and grime. Wipe your hat, including the bottom, interior, and sweatband. (Tip: Clean your hat after each use to help ward off stains.)
Air it out. Residual moisture can mildew and rot hat materials. To air-dry, turn the sweatband inside out, and place your hat in an open hat can, or crown-down on a flat surface.
Store it in a hat can. A hat can will protect your hat from damage and dirt. Hat cans are available in single or double styles (for one or two hats), and range in price from $30 to $80.
Keep it cool. Hats stored in hot, humid conditions or near heat sources lose their shape. Store your hat well away from heaters and heat vents.
This article first appeared in the August, 2003 issue of Horse & Rider.