The cowboy hat got its start at the hands of John B. Stetson in 1865, according to "The Cowboy Hat Book." The man whose name is synonymous with the iconic, large-brimmed hat first created one as a joke, the story goes. But when Stetson wore it on a hunting trip, he discovered that it provided excellent protection from the elements. He eventually sold it to another horseman for $5, and a business was born. Today, top-tier felt cowboy hats cost more than $200. Proper cleaning helps protect that investment. Use a soft-bristled brush to remove dust and surface dirt. The Stetson company advises starting on the left side of the hat and moving around the brim counterclockwise. Apply talc or cornstarch to water spots or grease stains. Then brush the powder away. Use a clean makeup sponge or a soft piece of foam rubber to remove stubborn stains or those the brush can't reach. Move the dry sponge or foam rubber counterclockwise in a gentle, circular motion.