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Having a hard time finding a hat blocking company or a hat cleaning store?

Updated on December 8, 2014

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Hat Blocking Made Easy

Let’s begin by addressing the question. What is hat block cleaning? It simply means putting the hats inner material over a carve wood with the specific and precise shape of a hat. The blocks are to maintain the hats form for easy steam cleaning, hand washing or even remaking the style of the hat. There are rarely few hats blocking maker in today’s world. It is said there are only 4 or 5 block makers in the world. That’s because hat blocking is a trade all on its own, just because you have expertise in wood working does mean you can just carve any wood into the shape of a hat. There is countless style of hat blocks around the world and people today hardly ever own any hat blocks, they are expensive, bulky and heavy, not to mention other accessories like the block stand.

Using your fingers to smooth or shape a hat to your specification is called creasing the hat (different type of hat style or crease). Remember to steam only the area where you like to make the crease one step at a time. On fur or felt cowboy hats avoid steaming the edge of the hats outer edge of the brim. Most straw cowboy hats have a metal wire around the edge, so it's acceptable to steam the brims edge on this type of hats.

An Alternative to Hat Blocking

First and most important step is to wash your hands before, making sure that you wash your hands with soap and water before shaping or cleaning any hat, especially lighter color hats. Second, depending on the type of hat the reader owns, look for something that resembles the roundness of the inside of the hat. Like a small kid’s bucket or a kitchen tall plastic bowl, but don’t use an easy combustible material, such as a towel or cardboard. Besides, they will cause the caps to have more lumps.

There is a similar and inexpensive alternative procedure found on Amazon or online to reform the hat and hold its contour while cleaning or storing your hats. The material used for this alternative procedure is called baseball caps dome panel shaper, the flat cap panel shaper, military caps or floppy hat panel shaper, which it is also made from vapor resistant EVA material. You insert the hat panel shaper inside the hat and underneath the hats sweatband and the rest of the shapers material pushes the fabric of the hat panel upwards.

Do it yourself steam cleaning to reshape your hat

Whether you own Baseball Caps, Palm Leaf hat, Cowboy hat, Panama hats, or Fedoras, you can use the overflowing power of steam! There are companies that sell a product called jiffy hat steamer (approximate cost $150 to $250) and unless you’re going into business for yourself cleaning hats, I wouldn’t recommended. Instead you can use a tea kettle on the stove or some other source of steam. Start by placing the hat 6 to 8 inches from the tea kettles spout as not to burn yourself or damage the hat, but rather to soften and loosen the hats fiber.* Starting from the top of the hat working from the center out use your fingers to smooth and form the hat to your desire crease or shape. Looking at it from a birds eye view go back and forth between steaming and training. The hat should eventually remember the way it was originally blocked. Perform the same procedure for the hats crown working from the center out.

To remove bump or wrinkles on baseball caps you can work your way down to the brim, following the outline of each stitched panel. Lastly, modify the brim to your particular style or the results that you are looking for. Once satisfied with the look of your hat, let it cool several minutes. Remember these words, a hat is the last thing you put on, but it’s one of the things people first notices! We hope this information was useful when it comes to steam cleaning you hats the next time.

*Please use caution near boiling water, under adult supervision only.

Basic tool needed for simple hat cleaning:

  • 2 hat cleaning sponges one for dark hats and the other sponge for light color hats.
  • If your cowboy hat has shrunk, a hat stretcher is also useful.
  • You will also need 2 hat brushes or a very fine cloth brush, again depending on the color of your hats one dark brush and one light brush for brushing away dust and lint from the Cowboy fur hats and Fedora felt hats.

© 2014 Al Cabrera


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