Re: How can I clean mildew spots off felt hats?
- I've never had mildew spots that were white...a lot of other colors (though green was most common). I've only seen it happen on hats that were put in storage damp (with sweat--the wardrobe personnel before me at the park often rushed stuff straight from the stage to storage on a show's closing).
The hats we've used since I've been there have either been for a single number in a music revue (and therefore didn't get much sweat soaked into them) or were used for a Western-style show (most of which were stored outside boxes, just stacked on each other on the shelf). I haven't noticed any mildew problems with either. I also tend to gather up all the costumes from the shows and set them aside so I can go through and inspect everything and make repairs before they go into storage, so hats get extra time to dry before they get tucked away.
The single biggest problem we've had is salt stains from performers' sweat, which I have yet to find a truly satisfactory method for dealing with. Right now, I take a soft brush (like an old toothbrush) and mist the affected area with water, then brush lightly to break up the edges of the salt stain and kind of blend it into the hat. I don't know anyone in this area who actually cleans hats, though that would probably be the best way to go (for both problems).
As for prevention--depends largely on your climate. I live on the edge of a desert, so it tends to be pretty dry around here, overall, and mildew isn't a common problem unless you leave stuff sitting in the wash machine...
But you could see if a floral supply place could get you some silica powder (looks like white sand--it's what they use to dry flowers, silica naturally wicks the moisture out of the flower and it's also the stuff you find in the little white packets in some containers when you buy something that is NOT moisture-tolerant.) The silica would soak up any excess moisture in the air and create a less inviting condition for mildew to grow. It shouldn't take a whole lot of it, if your boxes are in decent condition.
--- In TheCostumersManifesto@yahoogroups.com, "costumerkate" <costumerkate@...> wrote:
> Has anyone got a method for cleaning white mildew spots from felt and wool hats? These are high quality wool felt, fur felt, and wool fabric hats that have been stored for several years. I have used a wire brush to remove the raised portion of the mildew, but there are still spots on the fabric.
> Also, those of you with experience storing such hats -- how can I prevent this in the future? The hats were in cardboard boxes high on a dry shelf.
> Thanks for any help --