Don't take care of our products; let them take care of you!
We say that often, and we mean it. There are, however, still a few simple things we recommend doing, and also not doing, to prolong the life of your RDB hat and/or bag.
Some folks don't clean their Real Deal Brazil products, ever. They figure the extra road dirt just adds extra character. And hey, fine by us if that's fine by you, and the people you share personal space with. That said, if you wear an RDB hat often in a warm climate, and if you also tend to sweat a bit, let's face it: Things can get pretty ripe pretty quick. That heavy old canvas is slow at first to soak up the funk, but once you hit salty, oily saturation, wham, bam, you reek, by damn!
Cleaning your Real Deal Brazil recycled-tarp hat actually couldn't be much easier. If you're in a bind and need rapid minor-funk relief, simply soak your grubby headwear with a garden hose, then shake your hat vigorously to get the excess water out and set it aside to air-dry. If it's a warm day, leave your newly rinsed RDB out in the sun, and it shouldn't be too long before it's ready to rejoin you in some quality adventurin'.
Another instant-cleaning option, sent to us by a longtime RDB owner from Texas: Jump in a chlorinated pool with your hat on. Make sure the canvas gets fully soaked, then set your RDB poolside to air-dry. (The clever Texan also recommended pounding a few brewskies while doing this, but that part isn't really fundamental to the overall cleaning process.)
When the funk gets a bit more serious, however, and you've got a few more minutes to spend on upkeep, we recommend hand-washing your Real Deal Brazil hat, or any of our recycled-tarp products. Fill your tub or sink with enough warm water to cover your RDB, adding just enough laundry detergent or plain ol' dish soap to work up some good suds; in the case of particularly pronounced funk, opt for a scented variety of soap, if your pride can handle a little perfumery.
Soak your RDB in the soapy mixture for a little while and then, depending on the magnitude of nastiness, scrub the canvas with a rag or soft brush. Rinse thoroughly, shaking out excess water by tapping your RDB against the side of the sink or tub. Finally, let your RDB hat/bag air-dry, preferably outside.
Presto: fragrantly fresh kick-ass RDB hat or bag!
Note that once the canvas material is dry again after you've washed, or otherwise submerged or soaked, your Real Deal Brazil recycled-tarp product, you should cover any metal parts (grommets, zippers, etc.) with a thin film of motor oil, to prevent the onset of rust: Q-tips are great for this. Applying a light coat of clear fingernail polish will also work toward rust prevention, though avoid getting the caustic liquid on the fabric itself.
Of course, some funk is really, really bad funk. Consider this very real note we received a while back:
"Love the hat. But it has become covered in wild hog dung and needs to be washed. It is currently hanging in a tree. Any recommendations?"
In any similar such profoundly odiferous case, add a little OxiClean to the soap-and-water mix mentioned above, and maybe also squeeze in a little fresh lemon juice, to boot, scrubbing the soiled fabric with a soft brush and then rinsing thoroughly. Just don't be surprised if you have to repeat this whole process at least once. Wild hogs? Honestly. What are you people getting up to out there?
Some folks even put their RDB hats in the dishwasher, which is fine, if you don't have any spot-scrubbing to worry about. Which brings us to the subject of …
In general, do not use them with our products! The agitator arm in a standard clothes washer can beat heck out of, in particular, the essential stitching securing the crown of our original Real Deal Brazil hat.
The wire in the hat brim can also get beaten to the point where it pokes through the fabric, sometimes even with a front-loader washer. At that point, even if you've got some mad skills with a needle and thread, trying to work the exposed wire back inside is not a battle you want to fight. Also, the wire can sometimes snap outright, and in more than once place, and then you're gonna be really sad, and then we'll be really sad, too. So much utterly avoidable sadness ...
To be fair, we've seen several of our hats survive machine-washing just fine. But we've also seen several more just flat ruined by it. As in go on and read your Real Deal Brazil hat the last rites, cuz it's pretty much toast. So don't chance it! Hand-washing an RDB is always best.
We also strongly advise against putting our hats (or our bags, for that matter) in a dryer. All that tumbling can, for instance, add an unexpected, and unwanted, new shape to our original RDB hat brim that can be truly irritating to try to work back out. Air-dry, people! Air-dry!
CARE FOR METAL PARTS, PARTICULARLY HAT GROMMETS
Periodically, rub a thin film of motor oil on the hat grommets, as well as on the metal parts on any RDB product, and they'll last a whole lot longer without showing signs of rust.
RDB TIPS FOR USE
WATERPROOFING YOUR RDB
The heavy, tightly knit canvas at the heart of our Real Deal Brazil products has a certain amount of natural water-repellency, so if you and your RDB get caught out in a light sprinkle, no worries. However, if you're ever out with your RDB in a real downpour, that little bit of innate protection's just not gonna be enough. Once thoroughly damp, it will start gobbling up raindrops, quickly reaching a saturation point, when it will then begin shedding excess water. As in, in the case of one our hats, all over you.
There are a lot of products out there you can use to get your RDB product more consistently water-repellent. Scotchgard or some similar silicone-based spray will generally do a pretty good job, though many people don't like that heavy chemical smell or, for that matter, using such strong chemicals, period. (If you do go this route, make sure you spray the stuff in a very ventilated area, preferably outside, and we then strongly recommend that you also leave your treated RDB product outside for about 24 hours more, to let it off-gas before wearing or using it).
Other milder options, which are a bit more labor-intensive, include working beeswax or linseed oil into the canvas, or even applying a nifty little product that several customers have strongly recommended, Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam, originally designed for treating leather.
DYEING/COLORING YOUR RDB
In general, our recycled-tarp products, being made from heavy cotton canvas, hold dye extremely well.
Feel like you might be fixin' to dye? One of our repeat customers shared some good tips with us on his successful efforts to color his own original Real Deal Brazil hat closer to the rich brown the Zombieland costume crew created for actor Woody Harrelson's RDB in the 2009 hit film.
If you do decide to dye your hat or other Real Deal Brazil recycled-tarp product, do not follow the part of the instructions on most dye packaging telling you to put your newly dyed fabric (in this case, your RDB) into a clothes-washer. Hand-wash/rinse your RDB product only!
SECURING YOUR ORIGINAL RDB HAT TO YOUR HEAD
Riding with the top down in a zippy little convertible? Hiking along a cliff with a drop-off a long way down? Standing between tall Manhattan buildings in November? The worst can all too quickly happen to your Real Deal Brazil hat if you don't plan ahead …
We can't emphasize this enough: If it's windy out there, strap that RDB hat down! Thread one of our inexpensive, easy-to-use Hat Hitch Wind Straps through the grommets of your hat, then cinch the strap under your chin with the accompanying plastic slider. Either that or else create your own personal way of securing your RDB to your noggin. Just don't leave it to chance. The wind can be such a, um, breeze, when it wants to …
That's even truer if you're wearing your RDB on, or beside, the water. Cuz if a sudden wind whips up, you may quickly find out the hard way that our hats do not float! In fact, they typically sink like stones. We've heard one too many sad stories of a prized original Real Deal Brazil hat whisked off a boater or fisherman's head only to vanish almost instantly into the murky depths, never to be seen again. (No doubt there are massive blue cats right now voguing it up in lost RDBs discovered in the silt and sludge beneath our nation's rivers. Don't accidentally become yet another outfitter for bottom-feeding fish!)
MAN'S BEST FRIEND & MAN'S BEST HAT
Keep your RDB hat out of reach of Rover, especially if Rover's still a teething pup. We've seen our hats survive largely intact through some major canine gnawing, but bear in mind: Every once in a while, the dog's gonna win.
PERMANENT MAGIC MARKERS & YOUR RDB
Permanent truly means permanent. As in that ink ain't gonna wash out, at all. Embellishing an RDB with a permanent marker is kind of like getting yourself a tattoo: You'd better be sure you're gonna like what you've written, cuz you're gonna have to live with it, regardless.
FIRE & YOUR RDB
Do not attempt to combine the two. It may take a couple of minutes for that old tarp to ignite once exposed to flame, but once it does, and it will, it'll burn faster, and brighter, than even your sudden sadness at your soon-to-be horrible loss ...
LOANING YOUR RDB TO FRIENDS
Do so at your own risk. Consider yourself warned.