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How to Care for Your Pussyhat

So you can preserve it for generations to come.

Women's March On Main - Park City 2017 Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

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Protect Your Pussyhat!

I spotted the first pussyhat on First Avenue and 2nd Street — I wasn't even five blocks from my home and there it was, adorning the head of a lady who looked to be in her late 50s/early 60s and was wearing her pale pink cap with a belted princess-style overcoat and hot pink sneakers. Clearly, Saturday's Women's March was not only going to be about political expression, but also about self-expression through fashion and art.

It's impossible not to think that future generations will regard our pussyhats the way that we look at suffragette sashes today, as important relics from the fight for women's equality, and therefore as items not just for wearing in the here and now, but also for preserving as tokens of our resistance (though it's important to note that the pussyhats themselves aren't without controversy). So if you want to make sure that your pussyhat survives to be handed down to daughters, granddaughters, nieces, and so on, here's everything you need to know about caring for it.

Washing a Pussyhat

If you're anything like me, you might have amped up the makeup for the Women's March. My outfit said "athleisure" but my face screamed "Night out at the club. Oh, and the club is in New Jersey." Gold glitter eyeliner was involved, you guys.

Given that, had I been wearing a pussyhat, the inside would have been quite orange (not unlike a certain world leader) and therefore in need of washing, because makeup will set in and leave permanent stains if it's not removed from the fibers. Even if you didn't look like you were headed out for a night of UNZ-UNZ-UNZ-ing, your pussyhat may have gotten sweaty, grimy, or glittery.

Since most of your pussyhats are probably made from wool or fleece — and here I'm referring to cashmere and mohair, not the performance stuff — a very brief hand washing in cool water will be the best way to clean them. Wools and fleeces don't love to be over-handled, nor do they enjoy prolonged exposure to water, so while machine washing is an option, it's not the one I recommend for these precious items. Plus, because pussyhats are relatively small, this is an operation that's going to take you ten minutes, tops.

Using a no-rinse detergent like Soakwash, which is a darling among the knitting set, will help to make the hand washing process go super fast. Detailed hand washing instructions can be found here, but the short version is:

  • Fill the sink or a small washing bucket with lukewarm water and a scant capful of detergent;
  • Submerge the pussyhat and swirl it around in the wash water for a minute to saturate it with detergent solution;
  • Allow the pussyhat to soak for five minutes, then drain the water;
  • Roll the pussyhat up in a towel to press out water, then lay it flat on the towel to air dry.

Removing Glitter, Lint, and Pills From a Pussyhat

If your pussyhat isn't in need of washing but still needs some tending to because it's gotten some glitter or lint on it in the course of marching, a sticky lint roller should do the trick. Any lint roller will do, but the Flint retractable lint roller is particularly handy, and it comes in rose gold, which means you can get your pink protest expression into your fabric care tools.

Glitter in particular might be tricky to remove from a knitted cap since there are so many nooks and crannies in which the glitter can embed itself. Maybe you like that look! In which case, go with Goddess. If the glitter is being really stubborn, you may need to wash it out.

Many of you will certainly choose to make your pussyhats your everyday cold weather headwear, which means that after regular wear, pilling is likely to develop. Remove them and keep your pussyhat looking brand new by using a fabric shaver, like the Gleener.

Storing a Pussyhat

If you plan to preserve your pussyhat as a memento or for wearing at future protests, store it carefully so it doesn't get snagged, faded, or otherwise damaged in between wearings. It may seem overly precious, but laying a pussyhat flat in between sheets of acid-free storage tissue will help to protect the fibers and dye from the ravages of time.

But maybe you want to display your pussyhat as a reminder of a wonderful day. Sure thing, get a wig stand and show that pussyhat off! And send us photos of your pussyhat displays, please!