How to Care for Natural Fur and Faux Fur Hats

Care of fur hat

Janina Laszlo/ STOCK4B /Getty Images

Whether the hat is made completely of or lined with natural or faux fur, fur hats are some of the warmest winter hats available. And even if there's just a bit of fur trim, both types of fur need some special care to keep them looking their best and to provide long-lasting wear.

How to Care for Real Fur Hats and Trim

Whether you have a mink, fox, or rabbit fur hat, proper care will make it last many, many years. Natural fur hats should be protected from chemicals like make-up, perfume, and hair products; so, never apply these products while wearing the hat. After every wearing, allow the hat to "rest" to dry completely from body moisture and outside elements and to help retain its shape.

If your real fur hat gets wet, shake off excess water and allow the fur to dry naturally away from direct heat sources and the sun. Place the hat on a wig or hat form or over a rounded vase or jar so that air can circulate freely. This will also prevent the fur from becoming crushed or flattened as will happen if it is placed directly on a hard surface. Never use high heat to dry fur by placing it too close to a heat source, in direct sun, or using a hot blow dryer. When the fur is completely dry, shake to fluff. If necessary, you may brush the fur lightly in the natural direction of the fur with a good quality pet brush to restore the smoothness.

Your natural fur hat should be cleaned at least annually by a professional fur cleaner; not a regular dry cleaner. A qualified furrier has the knowledge and equipment to correctly clean furs. Dry cleaning or immersion in standard dry cleaning chemicals will rob the fur hide of natural oils, dry it out, and cause it to shed. Linings can be cleaned within the hat, or removed and cleaned separately.

At the end of the season, have the hat professionally cleaned. If the hat is expensive, consider allowing the furrier to store the hat in climate-controlled cool storage. At home, place the hat on a form and cover with a hat box or cotton storage bag to prevent crushing and to prevent dust from settling in the fur. Store in a cool, dry location that does not have huge swings in temperature. Do not use plastic storage bags or boxes that can trap moisture and cause mildew problems and avoid chemicals like mothballs and insecticides.

How to Care for Faux Fur Hats and Trim

When cleaning faux fur, pay close attention to the care label. Most will recommend dry cleaning, but some faux furs can be hand washed or machine-washed. The decision depends upon the fiber content of the faux fur and how the hat is structured, including the lining.

Faux fur can become distorted from too much wear, dry cleaning, or excessive heat. To maintain the hat's longevity, spot cleaning and good preventative care will work the best. If the fur gets wet after being caught in the rain, allow it to air dry by placing the hat on a hat form or jar to allow good air circulation. Dry the hat away from high, direct heat and full sun. Never toss faux fur in a dryer on a hot setting which can melt the fur. If possible, allow a day between wearings to give the hat a chance to dry from body moisture and fibers to relax. This will help it maintain the correct shape.

If the faux fur on your hat becomes matted, you may be able to detangle the fibers by mixing one teaspoon of hair conditioner with two cups of water. Place the mixture in a spray bottle and spritz the fur. Use a SOFT bristle brush to gently brush the fur. Work in a small area and work slowly. If fibers come out, then you are brushing too hard. When you are finished, wipe down the area with a clean, white cloth dampened with plain water and allow the hat to air dry.

If the faux fur completely loses its luster, the ends can be trimmed to bring back the sheen. If it is an expensive hat, take it to a professional milliner. Spot treat stains with a damp cloth and mild detergent and allow to air dry. To fluff faux fur, give the hat a good shake or use a blow dryer on the coolest air setting.

Never store faux fur in a plastic bag. Store completely dry faux fur in a hat box or place in a cotton bag to prevent dust from settling on the fur.