Learning how to clean a beanie hat is the best way to promote the longevity of the beanie.
Beanies coming in a variety of styles, stitches, and materials, the wool beanie has a specific set of demands to meet maintenance requirements. There are several focal points to consider when cleaning a wool hat, specifically fabric, weave, thickness, and color.
With growing concerns of carcinogens in coloring agents and synthetic chemicals, proper cleaning of the wool hat can not only cause a longer-lasting beanie, but it can promote health safety in the home. According to the Federal Trade Commission, the quality of textiles has become increasingly regulated due to these concerns. While many steps have been taken to regulate fabric quality, the Textile and Wool Acts do not cover beanies and hats.
Due to the lack of governance over this product in specific, having relevant information for maintenance offers reassurance against the concerns which are usually regulated by the FTC.
Textiles science, or the study of sartorial materials, is a vast field that investigates the specifics of the broad variety of fabrics. According to the University of Nebraska, chemistry is a closely related field, due to the material sciences aspect of textiles. Extensive study and testing are conducted on fabrics, and these details are a large factor in the indications provided on labels to beanies.
Origins of Wool:
Wool itself is one of mankind’s oldest materials. Originally sourced from animals, the process of generating wool is handy to know when learning how to wash wool. Manufacturing includes these basic steps:
- Shear the animal (usually a sheep or camel, but can be any animal with fur adequate for fabric processing)
- Separate the sheared fur a process called classing (differentiate quality into four categories of which fleece is the most prevalent)
- Scouring (stripping the wool in a cleaning process that removes the animal’s oils and cell waste)
- The thickness of the wool determines its future purpose (upholstery vs. clothing and hats)
- Carding of the fibers (the filaments are passed through rollers that join together the strands and provide a uniform direction)
- Spinning is the final step (Using the centripetal force of the rotation, the individual fibers bind to each other, where the shorter the spinning process, the looser the resulting material)
Highlighting material chemistry’s modern evolution, acrylic (being the most prevalent wool synthetic on the market) has a specific manufacturing method to best replicate organic wool.
- Polyacrylonitrile (the acrylic namesake) is dissolved in a suspension than either
- The resulting product is spun and squeezed through small tubes making filaments, or
- The product is evaporated and formed into strands
- End product resembles wool which is spun to yarn in the same way as its natural counterpart
The Woolen Hat:
Once the final product is formed into a fabric, either wool or sheet, the beanie is made in a variety of styles. Stitching methods will directly reflect the thread count and fabric quality, with broader stitching generally being insufficient for woolen materials. Popular wool hats are often cool winter beanies that offer the warmth and weather resistance typically expected from animal-sourced fabrics.
Generally, the wool hat is chosen for its insulative properties. Key features that have kept this textile popular include:
- Natural water resistance
- High level of insulation
- Able to be formed in a variety of styles
- Able to be dyed to any number of colors
- Durable and high functioning
While the long shelf life of wool has made it trendy and highly useful, the functionality is at its best when the hat is properly cleaned. Upkeep of clothing ensures a long shelf life and keeps the gear working at its maximum capacity. When learning how to clean wool, it is best to think about the individual components of the hat, thereby learning how to properly care for each individual beanie.
Weaves and Hat Cleaning:
Loose wool beanie weaves have a specific set of considerations
- Subject to fraying during machine washing
- Require less detergent
- More subject to shrinkage
Tight wool hat weaves are generally tougher
- Reduced likelihood of shrinking
- Requires more detergent
- Better resistant to machine washing damage
Fabric Density and Maintenance:
Since wool is not always knit into its final material, particularly with the onset of acrylic fabrics, panel style wool beanies have their own set of cleaning considerations.
- The thread count of fabric (the higher the count, the sturdier the hat)
- Layers used in beanie manufacturing (the more layers, the less machine-washing wear, and tear)
- Stitching between panels (all fabric can fray, and in panel hats, seams are the most vulnerable)
Color and Beanie Upkeep:
According to the Food and Drug Administration, color additives are substances that require significant monitoring, stating, “There is no such thing as absolute safety of any substance.”
Considering this, the bleeding of dyes during the washing process becomes a point of concern when cleaning the wool hat. Easy ways to prevent color bleeding are:
- Choose light colored wool (paler colors generally require less dye)
- Wash with cold water (heat generally activates the bleeding process)
- Handwashing the wool hat (an easy way to keep an eye on dye bleeds is to be able to see the cleaning process by doing the work by hand)
How to Handwash the Wool Hat:
‘Can you wash wool?’ is one of the most common questions when learning how to properly maintain a beanie. Wool, like most materials, can be cleaned, but each method of cleansing has its own benefits and drawbacks from time consumption to fabric damage.
It is no secret that hand washing is the best method, both for the environment, and the beanie itself. Using these sure-fire steps, the handwashing process is made easy and accessible.
- Prepare the cleaning station with detergent, running water, and proper drainage
- Ensure there is somewhere clean to place the beanie after washing
- Run water until it is lukewarm
- Place beanie under running water and saturate until fully wet
- Remove from running water and place a pea-sized amount of detergent at apex
- In each hand, pinch fabric between index finger and thumb
- Rub fabric against itself until small soap bubbles can be seen
- Continuing the motion, rinse the wool beanie under lukewarm water
- Gently ring the beanie out
- Run cold water and rinse beanie again
- Ring out beanie and leave to hang-dry in a well-ventilated area (the beanie will be ready within 24 hours)
How to Machine Wash the Wool Hat:
If wondering, ‘Can I wash my hat in the washing machine?’, the simple and reassuring answer is yes. Following these easy steps, a quality cleaning job can be achieved.
- Sort clothes so that washing load is of like material and color
- Set washer to gentlest cold-water cycle
- Properly adjust water level to closest size match
- Using sensitive-skin, or scent-free detergent, add the indicated amount
- Run washing machine normally
- Once the load is finished, promptly remove items and ready to dry
How to Dry the Hat:
One of the most forgotten parts of the cleaning process is quick and efficient drying of the material. Proper drying of the hat prevents mold and mildew, two concerns that degrade both respiratory and skin health, as well as the fabric itself.
In addition to the prevention of biological growth, adequate drying techniques work to avert the unfortunate phenomenon of shrinkage. Two options are present for the drying of clothes: machine-drying and hang-drying. Following these easy steps, the beanie can be kept in high quality for the long term using either method.
1) When machine drying, ensure the heat is at its lowest setting
- Dry for the minimum required time
- Remove promptly from dryer
- To reduce static cling, include a dryer-sheet in the load
2) When hand drying the beanie, ensure proper location
- The area should be well ventilated and warm
- On average, the end product will be ready within 24 hours
How to Store the Clean Hat:
Once washed and dried, the clean and cool wool beanie needs to be properly stored to prevent damage that can be incurred between maintenance sessions. While the value of wool hats tends to be their compact nature, properly folding the beanie along its seams will save the stitching and extend the shelf life. These seams are identifiable as the thin lines where panels of fabric meet.
Keeping the beanie flat will not only keep its appearance and quality above par, but it will prevent dirt and debris from accessing the fibres. Naturally, the beanie should be stored away from steam and smoke to prevent dust particles from settling on the item.
Generally, the beanie will not need to be cleaned each time it is worn, especially for woolen beanies worn during the winter months. However, for every full day’s worth (24 hours) of wear time, the wool hat ought to be cleaned.
The Value of a Clean Beanie:
Given the longstanding popularity of the wool beanie hat, it is safe to say that the accessory will stay in style during the coming year. With proper cleaning methods, money is saved, and these necessary cold weather items can last for decades.
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