It’s often said that straw hats are the most traditional and iconic summer fashion accessories.
What many people don’t know is that a straw hat can be made to last with some simple waterproofing techniques.
In this article, we’ll discuss how to waterproof your straw hat so it will last for years and your hair won’t get wet in a sudden summer downpour!
Clean The Hat First
Before we get started it is a good idea to clean the hat first.
To do this use a soft brush on the hat.
This will remove any debris and dirt that may be stuck on that hat.
Take care not to use a brush that is too coarse so that you don’t damage the hat.
Then wipe the hat with a damp cloth to clean off any remaining dust particles.
Then give your newly cleaned straw hat time to dry completely, leave it in a warm dry place for around an hour or until it is dry to touch.
Once this is done your hat is ready to waterproof, to waterproof your straw hat you will need to use a sealant, there are a number of different sealant types that work well on straw hats:
1. Use Scotchguard
Scotchgard is a popular sealant that you can use to waterproof your straw hat.
When applying sealant make sure you do so in a well-ventilated area, preferably outdoors.
Note – make sure if you have dyed your hat that you only put Scotchguard on it after washing first, otherwise dye may come off during the application process.
Apply a light coat evenly on the outside of the hat.
While one coat should be enough we recommend applying two coats for the best results.
Leave the hat to dry for up to 6 hours before applying the 2nd coat.
Once applied leave it to dry for a few hours until it is completely dry to touch (with no sticky spots) before wearing it.
2. Use Amber Shellac
Shellac is typically used to seal wood however it works very well on straw hats too.
You can use either amber shellac (this will make your hat appear somewhat darker in color) or clear shellac.
Apply it on the outside of your hat with a paintbrush, use sweeping strokes and give it up to 24 hours to dry before you wear it.
This will create a protective barrier that will ensure long-term protection against rain damage.
3. Use A Waterproof Spray
If you don’t have the time to seal your hat with shellac, then one of the quickest and easiest methods is to use a waterproof spray.
There are plenty of waterproofing sprays to choose from however we recommend you use something similar to Nikwax’s fabric waterproofing spray.
Apply your spray from around 12 inches away, using sweeping strokes for even coverage before letting it dry completely (usually about an hour).
Ideally, you should apply 2-3 coats for the best results.
Make sure to give the straw hat time to dry between applications, 20-30 minutes should be enough providing the coats are light.
The downside of these sprays is that exposure to the weather causes them to break down over time and become less effective.
UV exposure from the sun can slowly degrade the spray and exposure to rain, over time will also assist in breaking it down.
Depending on how often your hat is exposed to the elements you may need to reapply the spray once a year for it to remain effective.
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