I have a very delicate white paper hat that has turned yellow on several areas. How can I whiten it? Can I bleach it? Send it to the dry clean? ...Paint it? I have considered using soapy water but I'm afraid it wouldn't be gentle enough.

3 Answers 3


Liquids might damage it. The following suggestions are from mildest to more likely to damage the hat:

  1. Various types of erasers. The most gentle I've used is a bag of shredded gum rubber, AKA "bunny bag". One blots, as much as rubs, with that tool.

  2. Exposure to sunlight (or UV lamp). This is less predictable in removing color.

  3. Gently spraying with with water and then exposing the hat to chlorine gas. Unless one is familiar with safety precautions for handling toxic chemicals, leave this to a professional. Spraying bleach (e.g. sodium hypochlorite) directly on the hat might remove the stain, but the dried residue could cause the paper to disintegrate later.


Baking soda, dry, rubbed on with a terricloth rag.This hat had very noticeable staining, removed with baking soda.


I have the exact same hat. I hand washed mine. I gently submerged it in warm water with washing powder and pool chlorine. Then I rinsed it twice and lastly sprayed it with a strong solution of ironing starch. Dried it hanging in bright sun. Hat like new!

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.