Leather hats offer durability, comfort, and protection from the elements. They’re versatile fashion accessories that can be timeless and stylish when paired correctly. However, like all types of hats, they accumulate dust and stains over time, which can make them lose their appeal.
The good news is that leather is a tough material and can age gracefully if it’s well-maintained and cared for! You can easily achieve this by cleaning and conditioning your leather hat using compatible products and storing it in suitable spaces.
There are also some best practices you can make use of when it comes to caring for your leather hat, such as wearing sweatbands and avoiding wearing it with wet hair. We’ll explore all that and more in this guide!
1. Clean & Condition Your Leather Hat Regularly
Although leather can be considered a tough and strong material, it can become brittle and prone to damage if it’s not regularly cleaned and conditioned. As leather dries, it loses its natural oils and becomes more susceptible to water damage.
Without proper cleaning and conditioning, the leather’s natural moisture barrier can break down, allowing water to penetrate the surface. Moreover, a high-quality leather cleaner and conditioner ensures that the natural fibers inside the leather are nourished with natural oils, preventing them from during out.
Before conditioning your leather hat, you should first gently wipe it clean of any dust with a lint-free cloth. Deep cleaning is not necessary unless the hat is covered with grime or hasn’t been cleaned for a long time. Feel free to read our guide on cleaning leather hats for more information.
Do a spot test of the conditioner on an inconspicuous part first to check for any adverse effects or discoloration that may occur. Remember that leather is a natural material that may react to certain products differently.
Apply the conditioner with gentle circular motions. Make sure to rub the conditioner in the nooks and crannies of the hat as well. Once the entire hat is covered, use a soft microfiber cloth to buff the entire surface. Allow the hat to dry completely before using it.
2. Use Sweatbands When Wearing Leather Hats
A sweatband is a band of leather, cotton, wool, or silk, that is sewn inside the base of the inner lining. It’s designed to absorb sweat and moisture from perspiration and prevent them from seeping into the leather.
Salt and proteins in the sweat can also develop and leave a thin film on the hat’s inner surface, inhibiting its breathability. This can cause the leather to deteriorate over time, becoming dry and brittle.
Most leather hats come with a sweatband sewn into the inner lining. However, if your hat doesn’t have one, and you find yourself regularly wearing it, it may be best to have one sewn in
3. Store Your Leather Hat Appropriately
It is important to store your leather hat properly, as improper storage can cause the leather to dry out and become brittle. When left in damp and moist environments, leather can also develop mold.
You should also store your hat using a hat box or a hat holder. You can even lay it on a level surface to preserve its natural shape. Here are some more storage tips that you should consider:
- Store your leather hat in a cool and dry place away from direct sunlight.
- Make sure that your leather hat is stored in a well-ventilated space. This will prevent mold and mildew growth.
- Avoid damp and moist locations like enclosed closets, bathrooms, garages, and similar places.
- It is a good idea to store your hat inside a hat box or using a hat holder. This will prevent the hat from picking up dust and will ensure it does get out of shape.
4. Avoid Wearing Your Leather Hat With Wet Hair
We recommend not wearing your leather hat when your hair is wet, as it can damage both the hat and your hair. Due to its porous nature, leather can easily absorb water and moisture, which can cause it to get moldy and suffer from water damage.
Wet hair may also cause the inner lining and parts of your leather hat to become discolored. To avoid this, we suggest that you wait until your hair is completely dry before wearing a leather hat.
5. Avoid Harsh Chemicals
With regular care, you won’t need to clean your leather hat often, as simple wipes should do the trick. However, if you notice any buildup of dirt and stains, a more thorough cleaning may be necessary.
When you’re cleaning or conditioning your leather hat, it’s important to keep in mind that you should only use leather-friendly products. Remember that harsh chemicals can damage the natural fibers and cause discoloration or even deterioration of the material.
When purchasing a leather cleaner and conditioner, it’s always good to read the product description carefully to ensure that they are compatible with leather.
Important Note: Also be mindful that finer leathers such as suede require special cleaning products, to avoid alteration in texture, material damage and discoloration.
6. Consider Using a Protectant Spray
Leather protectant sprays are formulated to coat your leather hat with a protective barrier, shielding it from sun and water damage. These layers also prevent water and other substances from seeping into the leather.
In addition to waterproofing, protectant sprays are also known to prevent fading and discoloration caused by UV rays from the sun. This not only ensures that the color of the leather is preserved but also that the material retains its strength and will last for years to come.
While you’re able to choose from a wide range of products, we recommend using Leather Honey’s Leather Cleaner Spray with UV Protectant to protect it against UV rays and Bickmore’s Gard-More Water & Stain Repellent for waterproofing.
Combined, both feature natural oils and effective natural ingredients, keeping your leather supply and protected against sun and water damage. Keep in mind that both protectant sprays are not designed for use on suede hats.
Here’s a quick guide on how to apply a protectant spray to your leather hat:
- Choose a suitable leather protectant spray for your leather hat.
- Clean your leather hat thoroughly beforehand using a soft-bristled brush or cloth to remove any dirt or dust and make sure that it’s completely dry (Additional Guide: How to Clean Leather Hats).
- Shake the can of protectant spray well to mix the formula thoroughly.
- Hold the can of protectant spray about 4 to 6 inches away from the exterior surface of your leather hat.
- Apply an even and light coating over the entire surface.
- Use a dry microfiber cloth and gently rub the protectant spray into the leather, making sure to cover all areas evenly.
- Allow your leather hat to dry completely before wearing or storing it.
7. Use a Professional Cleaning Service If Required
If you’re unsure of how to properly clean, condition, care for, or maintain your leather hat, we suggest sending it to a professional cleaning service. However, ensure that they are trustworthy, have experience with cleaning leather articles, or specialize in leather care.
Co-Founder, Researcher & Writer At Leatherskill
I’m a leather enthusiast who spends most of his free time crafting, researching, and writing about the many facets of this versatile material. Thanks for reading!