Panama hats, widely known as toquilla straw hats are finely woven and light-colored hats crafted from the straw of the toquilla plant. Their features such as breathability, lightweight, and attractiveness make them a practical and popular choice for hot and sunny weather. The straw hats or Panama hats are perfect for both men and women and they are available in a wide range of colors and styles.
However, keep in mind that the Panama hats require special attention while handling. Additionally, you need to pay close attention to the maintenance process of the Panama hats. As Panama straw hats are hand-woven items, you need to understand the relevant methods to care for your straw hat so that they don’t become discolored or faded.
Origin of the Panama Hats
Even though the name implies they came from Panama, the Panama straw hats were initially crafted in Ecuador in the 1600s. However, with the growing demand, the industry of the Panama straw hats expanded and by the end of the 19th Century, people started exporting the Panama straw hats to Asia, Europe, and America. As per previous stories, gold miners who are traveling to California through the Panama Canal purchased these hats and ended up naming their Panama straw hats. However, the popularity of the Panama straw hats exploded in the United States when Theodore Roosevelt clicked a photo wearing the Panama straw hat.
Panama hats used to be created with hand-woven. But due to the extreme popularity and demand, now the Panama straw hats are woven by machine. Amongst the various shapes, the fedora-shaped Panama Straw hat is the most famous.
Here are some general tips that will help you care for your Panama straw hats.
Remember that the primary purpose of the straw hats is to protect you from the sun. Many people think that straw hats can also help them stay protected from rain. But this is a misconception. If the straw hats get wet, you might have to face severe consequences. The water will swell inside the materials of the straw hat that will ultimately damage the shape. Not to mention, it can also cause rot. Therefore, you should not use straw hats on rainy days. Even if do encounter rain, make sure you pack the straw hat to avoid any water damage.
Handle with Care
If you’re a frequent straw hat user and started to notice the damage in the shape of the hat, your holding position of the hat might be the primary cause of this problem. While holding your straw hats, make sure you hold them by the wings. If you pinch the crown of the hat or grab it from the front, chances are your straw hat will start breaking quickly.
If you notice any type of creases or marks or want to straighten your straw hats, use a household iron. However, before applying iron, check the instruction label of the straw hat to know if they are appropriate to be ironed. Additionally, don’t forget the temperature setting. We recommend you use the lowest temperature setting of the iron to avoid burning the fibers of the hats. Even if you purchase high-quality straw hats, you should be careful about the fire damages. While applying iron, make sure you strengthen the threads with your finger.
Store the Hat in a Dry and Cool Place
The fibers of the straw hats are vulnerable to high temperatures. Therefore, don’t leave the straw hats in hot places. Extreme temperature, both hot and cold will dry out the fibers. This will crack the fibers and make the hat look frayed.
Store your straw hats in a location where it’s cool. Additionally, select a place where the hats won’t get dirty. Hanging the hat from a hook or storing them in a dark and dry place is also a good idea. However, avoid strong straw hats in humid places. As straw hats are crafted from natural materials, humidity can cause mold or rot. As per How to clean stuff, don’t store the straw hat until it’s dried completely. Never store the hats in plastic bags if you want to avoid mildew and discoloration.
If your straw hat has a curved brim, store it in a relevant hat box to maintain its original shape. You can also store the hats with soft tissue papers or cover the top with a cotton pillowcase.
Clean the Straw Hats Perfectly
The cleaning process of the straw hats is undoubtedly a complicated and time-consuming method. When you’re not wearing your straw hat, make sure you use a clean and dry cloth to wipe it down. This way you can easily remove the debris and dust particles that the hat accumulated throughout the day. Whether your straw hat is crafted from synthetic material or natural straw, the cleaning cloth you use needs to be plain and white.
You can also use a soft-bristled brush to clean your hat. This will not only remove debris and dirt but also pollen. Brushing is straw hats regularly is one of the best ways to extend their longevity.
Make sure you follow these steps to care for your new straw hat. Before applying any caring procedure, don’t forget to check the label of instructions. Irrelevant caring methods will damage the internal structure of the straw hats.