How to Clean a Vintage Hat. Vintage hats require special care. Most people will avoid wearing a vintage hat if they want to keep it in pristine condition, but then where is the fun in owning such a great hat? Feel free to wear your hat on special occasions but make sure to always keep it clean.
Purchase a brush with gentle bristles to remove dust from your vintage hat on a regular basis. The color of the bristles should be dark for a dark hat and light for a light-colored hat.
Dampen a towel with a smooth surface and gently rub the hat in a counterclockwise/circular motion to remove dust. Wet the towel and wring out as much water as possible. The hat should not get wet when you remove the dust with a damp towel if you use light pressure. Use a bath towel to gently remove any water transferred to the hat.
Tackle tough stains with a small-pore sponge or an art-gum eraser. Rub the stain in a motion that goes counterclockwise to the grain on the hat. Use light pressure to remove the stain. You want to wipe the stain off, not dig it out of the hat.
Sand a vintage felt hat with the finest sandpaper you can find. Be very gentle and only sand the stubborn stain. Watch carefully to make sure you stop sanding when the stain is removed. Don't force the sandpaper into tight spots or you could sand the wrong parts of the hat.
Clean oily stains with Fuller's Earth to draw the oils out of the hat. Brush the stained area and apply a coating of Fuller's Earth. After two to three hours, brush the compound off the hat. Repeat the process if the oil based stain isn't removed with the first treatment.