Make sure that you have a genuine fur felt before you start to clean and buff your hat. Do not use this 5 step technique on an imitation fur felt hat. Imitation fur felt hats are made with a cardboard base and their fibers are spray glued to the base. This process will remove the fake fur fibers.

After cleaning your hat, you may wish to retrim the hatband and bow. Follow my instructions here – Attach a Hatband and Bow To Sit Flat Against Your Hat

Dusty Bowler Hat

Brown Box Packing Tape

I advise my clients to use the brown packing tape, cleaning method because it is perfect for removing dust from hats and caps. This cleaning method is inexpensive. Packing tape is easy to find and, it works perfectly at picking up all the dirt fibers. A clothes brush can also work on the larger surface areas but the dust will become air bound and, the clothes brush fails at accessing the nooks and crannies.

STEP 1 – Clean a Felt Hat – Wrap Tape Around Your Hand

Take your packing tape and wrap it around your hand. Be sure to have the sticky side of the brown tape facing up. Try to wrap as many layers as possible while thinly overlapping the layers to get them to stick together. Cover your entire hand but leave your thumb free to help manipulate your hand movements.

STEP 2 – Pat The Taped Hand Up and Down
Cleaning a Fur Felt Hat

Start with removing the dust from the crown area first. If your hat is dusty, remove the loose dust by patting your hat up and down. Use the upside and bottom of your hand to move the maximum amount of dirt from your hat.

STEP 3 – Drag and Wipe The Crown
Cleaning and Buffing a Felt Hat

After the initial dust has been removed by patting up and down, wipe the tape over the hat. Use both sides of the brown tape on the hand. This action will lift the hat pile and remove any dirt that is in the felt. Renew your brown tape and continue steps two and three until the crown is dust-free.

STEP 4 – Remove the Dust From the Brim 

When the crown is dust-free, retape your hand and start by cleaning the underside of the brim. To get into the crevices on the upper brim, remove the tape from your hand and pat and wipe the against the brim crevices. The surface gets buffed by wiping the tape against the felt. If your hat has a hatband, try to lift it and remove the dust from the underside.

STEP 5 – Repeat Until Dust Free

Once your tape has been covered with dust you will need to renew the tape. Depending on how dusty your hat is, you may need to use several tape wraps to complete the job.


After you have cleaned and buffed your felt hat, you may find that your hat has a dent or two. To learn how to remove the dents and re-stiffen weak areas in your hat click, ‘HOW TO REMOVE THE DENTS IN YOUR FUR FELT HAT.’