Sometimes you find the perfect hat only to discover that it doesn’t quite fit. Luckily, there are a few methods that can help you shrink or reshape your hat so that it fits perfectly.
Wash the Hat in Hot Water
One of the best ways to shrink a hat is to soak or wash it in hot water. The heat makes the fibers contract, shrinking the hat, and the water helps you reshape the hat, which will help to ensure that it holds the correct shape and size when it dries.
There are a few ways to soak, reshape, and resize your hat.
First, you can put it in the washing machine on either a warm or hot cycle. You can put the hat in by itself, but putting it in with other clothes often works even better.
When the hat brushes up against or bumps into the other clothes, it can help to soften the fibers of the hat, which makes reshaping much simpler.
When the hat comes out of the washing machine, shake off any excess water and then put the hat on. The heat should have made the hat a bit smaller, and you can shape it to your head.
Allow it to dry on your head so that the fibers dry in the correct size and shape. If the hat hasn’t shrunk enough, pop it in the dryer.
Let it dry on a warm cycle for 10 or so minutes at a time. When it has reached the correct size, put it on and let it finish drying on your head.
You can also heat up water on the stove and soak the hat for five to 10 minutes. The water should be hot but not boiling, as boiling water can damage or break down the bill of the hat.
Once the hat is fully saturated and has soaked for a little while in the hot water, remove it and shake off any excess water. Let it cool enough that you can put it on and shape it correctly. Then allow it to dry while you wear it.
Lastly, you can shower with the hat on. Simply wear the hat in the shower and ensure that it soaks through with warm or hot water.
Shower as you normally would, but don’t get any soap or shampoo on the hat. Then, when you get out of the shower, shake excess water from the hat and wear it until it dries.
Steam the Hat
Instead of completely soaking your hat, you can also steam the hat. This works well for hats made of more delicate materials or those with emblems or decorations that can’t be soaked or washed.
This method also helps when you need to shrink a hat just a little bit.
To use the steam method, either heat a kettle or pot of water to create steam or use a fabric steamer. Use a pair of tongs or another utensil to hold the hat in the steam.
Don’t get your hand too close to the steam, as it can cause serious burns. Let the hat become warm and damp, and then shape the hat with your hands or by placing it on your head.
You may need to hold the hat in the steam, reshape, and repeat a few times before the hat shrinks enough.
Use Hat Tape
Hat tape was specifically designed to fill out areas where a hat is a little too big. The tape is made of a soft material that’s usually a bit thick.
It has an adhesive back that sticks to the hat. If you want to use hat tape, put your hat on and figure out where it’s too big and where you’d like it to be a bit tighter.
Then, cut the tape to fit those areas. It’s best to leave the backing on the adhesive parts while you figure out where to put the tape.
You can sometimes wiggle the tape in between the hat and the sweatband, which will keep the tape temporarily in place so you can size the hat and make adjustments as necessary.
Once you know where the tape is needed and how much you need, remove the backing and stick the tape into place.
Shrinking Difference in Materials
Different materials react differently to heating and soaking, so you might need to try a different method depending on what your hat is made of.
For example, polyester is a resilient fabric and it doesn’t shrink easily, so if your hat is made mostly of polyester, you’ll probably want to put it in the washing machine on a hot cycle.
Wool, on the other hand, shrinks very easily, so wearing your hat in the shower or steaming it might be enough to resize it.
Cotton falls a bit in between these two materials, so you might need to try a few methods to find out what works the best.
Always start with the most gentle method, such as steaming, unless the hat is far too big and needs to shrink a lot.
Some materials, such as leather or felt, shouldn’t be soaked or steamed at all, as the process can damage the material.
It’s also a good idea to avoid soaking or steaming hats that have certain dyes or decorations, as these can bleed or come loose.
Your hat should come with a label or care instructions that let you know what you can and can’t do with it.