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How to Wash a Baseball Cap the Right Way

How to Wash a Baseball Cap the Right Way - Baseball 360

So you just bought a baseball cap? Chances are it’s now a filthy, sweaty disaster. Thankfully, learning how to clean a baseball cap will ensure that your hat lasts for several years.

Start with the gentlest cleaning approach and work your way up, just as you would with most items. If your baseball cap is just slightly soiled, a short soak in the sink will suffice. However, if you have significant sweat stains, you will want to increase the stain-fighting power.

This article will wash away all your dirty baseball cap issues and questions!


What to know before cleaning a baseball cap

A baseball cap that sees a lot of action, whether on or off the field, can become sweat soaked, grimy, and even stinky. Cleaning your cap will not only make it look better, it will also prolong its wearable life.


How Often Should You Wash a Hat?

Opinions differ, with some advocating you should wash a cap a few times a year. The worn-in look of a sweat-stained cap may add some activewear credibility, but the crust should come off at some point! However, even the most devoted regular usage limit should be required to wash once a year.


How do you wash a baseball cap without ruining it?

First and foremost, you must first determine the material of your baseball hat before washing it. Check the tag and read the care label to learn more about the fabric and how to care for the product. Check the manufacturer's website or ask your dry cleaner if your hat is missing a tag. To assist you in making an educated decision, here are some of the most popular materials used in baseball caps:



Cotton and cotton twill baseball caps are normally machine washable. Keep in mind that unless the cotton is pre-shrunk, it will shrink by at least half a size when washed in hot water. Cotton baseball hats are often more likely to fade when cleaning, so make sure to test their color fastness by washing them according to the instructions.



New caps made of man-made materials such as polyester, acrylic, jersey mesh, and blends of cotton are typically colorfast and sturdy enough in cleaning. However, it’s not unheard of for this type of hat (or any hat, for that matter) to be damaged in the washing machine.



Cleaning older hats is a delicate procedure, so take your time. If you have an old baseball hat from the early 1980s, do not submerge it in water because it is likely to have a cardboard bill that will break down and lose its shape. Handle an old hat with caution because it could be a collector's piece.



Do not wash a leather or suede baseball cap with water if it has not been chemically treated to be water-resistant. Use a dark-collared cloth to spot clean some dirt and gently brush it away in a circular motion. If that does not work, get it cleaned by a professional.


What is the best soap to clean my baseball caps?

You can use any dishwashing detergent you want if it does not contain bleach or citric acid – use natural soaps. Both ingredients have the potential to damage the fabric. Do not use hand sanitizer or other sanitizer based products to clean your hat!


What's the best way to wash a baseball cap?

Did you know? Wool, cloth, felt, and suede hats should not be washed or placed in the dishwasher. In the machine, these materials will quickly lose their shape and unravel. Below are some alternatives and tips on how to clean your baseball cap.

The following all include a set of accessories which you will need to find to ensure your hat is looking its best. These can be bought at any shop:

  • Toothbrush
  • Laundry detergent
  • Gloves
  • Dishwasher detergent

Find these accessories and you’ll be the best and most efficient stain remover in the business!


Quick Cleaning

If your baseball cap just needs a fast wash, here’s how to do it: 

  1. Pour cool water into a clean sink or basin and add a drop or two of mild laundry detergent products (can be bought at any shop). To make suds, submerge the hat in the water and agitate it.
  2. Soak the hat in the water for 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the hat and thoroughly clean it with cool water. Squeeze excess water out of the hat gently, but avoid twisting the brim, as this will cause it to bend out of shape. Pat the hat down with a clean towel. Hang the hat to dry or reshape it and place it on a towel to dry.


Deep Cleaning

Here’s how to restore the appearance of a sweat-stained baseball cap:

  1. Put on your gloves before you begin as laundry detergent can irritate your skin. Fill a clean sink or basin with cool water, then obey the manufacturer's directions for using a color-safe oxygen bleach.
  2. Drop the hat into the bath to target specific stains, then rub a dab of laundry detergent products on the stain. Scrub the infected area gently with a gentle toothbrush.
  3. Soak the hat for about an hour in the solution– this is something you need to account for! You should be able to see if the stains have been removed by examining the hat.
  4. Rinse the hat under cold, running water. Then, to reshape and dry the hat, repeat step three and four above.


Can I use a dishwasher to clean my baseball cap?

If you do want to try your hand at a dishwasher then this is how to clean it:

  1. Begin with an empty dishwasher to avoid food residue staining the hat caused by heavily soiled dishes.
  2. Fill the dishwasher dispenser with a dishwasher detergent pod.
  3. Place the hat on the top rack of the dishwasher. You may use a cap frame to keep the hat in better condition.
  4. Start a regular cycle in the dishwasher on light wash or low heat.
  5. Allow the baseball cap to air dry.


How to wash a baseball cap by hand

Hand-washing your hat is the only way to thoroughly disinfect it. This is a simple task that will take you about 30 minutes to complete.

To clean your baseball caps, follow the steps below:

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine 12 cups of cool water and mild detergent products.
  2. Put on gloves as laundry detergent can irritate your skin. Spot clean the hat with a scrub brush, sponge, or toothbrush.
  3. To clear stubborn stains from a white hat, use a color-safe bleach.
  4. Using cool water, rinse the cap.
  5. Hang the baseball cap to air dry naturally.

Believe it or not, you can clean your hat the same way you clean your hair. You can use baby shampoo to give your hat a light clean. Like washing your hair, wet the baseball cap with some water and put some baby shampoo on a toothbrush. Using the brush, scrub the hat and then rinse away the baby shampoo to leave a baseball cap that is squeaky clean!


How to get a stain out of a baseball cap?

Sweat stains on baseball caps are a pain for athletes and fitness buffs alike. The good news is that you probably already have everything you need in your kitchen cabinet to clean them! 

To remove sweat stains from your hat, do the following:

  1. Add 4 tbsp. baking soda and 14 cup cool water in a mixing bowl.
  2. Put on a pair of disposable gloves and use a toothbrush to apply the solution to the stained spot.
  3. Set aside for an hour to allow the solution to settle – this is something you need to account for!
  4. Rinse thoroughly with cold water.
  5. Using a towel, pat it dry.

If the stain persists, use distilled white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide to spray it off. The acidity in your hat can serve as a natural cleaner, breaking down any build-up.


What is the best way to prevent sweat stains?

Sweat repellent is a non-toxic spray-on solution that removes stains on all styles of hats. Simply get your new hat and spray the repellent just on the outside of it before wearing it. It repels sweat, water, dirt, and sticky stains, keeping sweat contained inside the headband.


How to get a smell out of a baseball cap?

Sprinkle baking soda on the inside of your hat, let it sit for about 30 minutes, and then shake it out to make it smell fresh.


Can you wash a baseball cap in the washing machine?

Throw it in with the rest of your laundry!

Many caps are made of washable fabrics that are identical to certain clothes, such as khaki shorts, jeans, or heavy-cotton work shirts. Quality caps may be washed in the same manner as cotton, twill, or polyester clothing, such as in cool or warm water with mild laundry soap. 

However, always read the cap's care and laundry instructions – the washing machine whirlpool may damage your hat if you choose the incorrect settings. Pre-treat stains with a decent stain remover, such as sweat stains on a ball cap; never use bleach on caps.

You can do this by hand with a hand-operated washing machine that will make a whirlpool to clean your clothes. This may give you more control but will need more attention.


Can I dry my baseball cap in tumble dryers?

Drying a wet baseball cap is not a good idea. It will shrink whether it’s made of cotton or polyester. Instead, let it air dry on a towel.

Using dryers may leave your hat a little misshapen if you do not use a hat frame. Place the hat over a balled-up towel that fills the entire cavity to reshape it and prevent large wrinkles from forming. If wrinkles do appear, use a wrinkle release spray.