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how to clean disintegrated foam from a vintage trucker hat

you found a sweet 70’s or 80’s mesh and foam backed snapback trucker hat. congratulations! 

the snap in back still works, and it fits like a dream.

but….what the hell is this powdering? snowing foam particles covering your hair like dandruff?

the foam used as padding in the back of vintage mesh hats has been known to disintegrate. even a brand new, deadstock hat will eventually lose its foam and start powdering. 

it’s not a matter of if, but when. the more you sweat and move, crinkling the hat, the faster it will powder. unfortunately, once it starts powdering, the only thing you can do to make it wearable is to remove all the foam.

the hat will no longer stand up on its own, but it will still be sweet, wearable, functional, and stylin. 

70’s trucker hat with foam removed

this is how i have easily removed the foam from powdering vintage hats. 

1. fill a bucket or large pot or bowl with 1 liter of hot water and 1/3 cup white vinegar.

2.  soak, then agitate the hat in the solution. rub the foam against itself. agitate, agitate, agitate some more. (3-5 minutes)

3. rinse with more hot water into the bucket.

4. agitate more until the majority of the foam is disintegrated and floating in the solution. agitate, agitate, agitate.

5. carefully remove the hat from the bucket, roll up a clean rag into a head shape, and stuff inside the hat to dry.

6. dump the water into a container and place in the trash. i don’t recommend dumping foam into the ground. 

7. when the hat is dry, take it outside and slap it against something until all the last remaining foam flies away.

*TIP* – do NOT use the sink as a bucket. i can’t imagine your pipes would like the addition of a hat’s-worth of disintegrated foam.

*This is just one method, which I made up after seeing no other methods online. If you have other, cleaner, faster, better methods, please share them!

See all vintage trucker hats on Skippy Haha Vintage.