We use 100% real top grain steer leather. Since our leather patches are bonded onto the hat vs. stitched, how do I clean it? If a cow can get wet...can my hat get wet? And how do I wash it once my hat shows sweat stains or starts to smell?
Before diving in, if you wet leather and then dry it, it will lead to the patch shrinking and then drying out.
Dark stains are generally not from sweat, but from the natural oils in your skin and hair. These oils absorb into fabric as you wear your hat and honestly there isn't a whole lot you can do about the natural oils in your body staining your hat, because that is just part of how our bodies work. Healthy hair produces a certain amount of sebum, or oil, as a way to hydrate your scalp and protect your hair. The amount of oil you produce varies depending on your hair type.
Salty sweat stains are generally the stains that are lighter in color and have almost a white line around the edge of the stain. Salty sweat stains are normal, even common. Sweat is your body's method of cooling itself off and getting rid of waste. These stains are a pervasive problem and unfortunately, they are more prevalent during the summer when you need the most sun protection.
Anything you purchase in life is an investment and depending on the size of your hat order, this can be a sizable investment for you or your business. We want you to get a good life out of your custom leather patch hat, so proper hat care is essential. We get asked often if putting a hat in a washing machine or dishwasher is ok. Would you toss your leather wallet or purse in the washing machine and then throw it in the dryer? We can’t stop you from doing that, but we definitely do not recommend it. While throwing your cap in the washing machine may sound like a simple solution, the fins and high-velocity spin cycle are likely to damage your hat beyond repair. Consider your hat to be a delicate item. Just because you can wear it and sweat in it, doesn’t mean it will hold up in the washing machine.
So what happens when leather gets wet? When leather gets wet, the oils in the leather bind to the water molecules. As the water dries and evaporates, it draws out the oils with it. The leather's loss of natural oils causes it to lose its supple quality and turn brittle. Keep in mind that genuine leather patches will absorb water, oil, and detergent differently. Over time, they will patina and take on a more weathered look. Avoid getting detergent on or scrubbing your leather patches. Color debossing may be susceptible to peeling off if there is too much abrasion, wetness or heat.
What happens if it rains? Or I go to the beach? We encourage you to be outdoors enjoying life. This is probably the reason you are wearing a hat in the first place. We get it...rain comes out of nowhere sometimes. Your friend thinks it is going to be funny to flip you off of your float while enjoying the water at the beach. If your hat gets soaked or submerged we simply suggest letting it air dry. If it submerged in saltwater we suggest giving it a rinse with fresh water and letting it dry naturally.
OK so how do I clean my hat?
We do not recommend letting our leather patch hats soak. Soap, water, alcohol, and harsh chemical cleansers can weaken the glue bond between the patch and hat.
We suggest cleaning your hats naturally. Baking soda and vinegar is ideal for people with sensitive skin. This spot-cleaning method may require you to also hand wash your hat if you want to clean the entire cap.
Make a paste using four tablespoons of baking soda and ¼ cup of water and apply it to the stain using a soft-bristled toothbrush, rubbing in small circular motions.
Allow the hat to sit for up to an hour. Spray with distilled white vinegar and give the stain another short scrub.
Rinse clean in cold water. Pat dry with a towel and allow the hat to air dry completely.