How to Care for Natural Fur and Faux Fur Hats

Care of fur hat
Janina Laszlo / STOCK4B / Getty Images

Whether the hat is made of 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, ever apply these products while wearing the hat. After every wearing, allow the hat to "rest" to help retain its shape and dry completely from body moisture away from direct light and with good air circulation. 

If your real fur hat gets wet, shake off excess water and allow the fur to dry naturally away from direct heat and sun. Place the hat on a wig or hat form or over a rounded vase or jar so air can circulate freely. This will also prevent the fur from becoming crushed or flattened if 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 dry, shake to fluff. If necessary, you may brush the fur with a good quality pet brush to restore the smoothness. Brush lightly in the direction of the fur.

Your natural fur hat should be cleaned at least annually by a professional fur cleaner-not a 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 in 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 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 moth balls 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 to air dry by placing the hat on a hat form or jar to allow air to circulate. Dry away from high, direct heat. Never toss in a dryer on a hot setting. If possible, allow a day between wearings to give the hat a chance to air 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 looses its luster, it 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. Use a hat box or place in a cotton bag to prevent dust from settling on the fur.