How to Wash a Baseball Hat So It Doesn’t Lose Its Shape

If your favorite baseball cap has seen better days, follow these steps to clean it—without ruining it.

Knowing how to wash a hat the right way will keep your favorite baseball cap looking sharp. Whether it’s covered in sweat stains or starting to look a bit dingy, follow these simple steps and use the best laundry detergent to get it squeaky-clean once again—without getting it bent out of shape in the process.

But first things first: No matter what you’re washing, always read the label first and check the laundry symbols, because you shouldn’t just toss your items into the wash on any old washing machine temperature. Still, despite what you already know about how to do laundry, figuring out how to wash a baseball cap is a whole different ball game (pun intended)—and it doesn’t involve a washing machine or a dryer at all! In fact, the best way to wash a baseball cap is by hand in a tub of cool, sudsy water.

Before you do, though, flick the brim to see what material it’s made out of. If it has a hollow sound, don’t dunk it in water. Vintage hats (typically ones made before 1983) have cardboard brims versus today’s plastic brims, so they should only be spot cleaned. Once you determine whether your hat is safe to wash, here’s how to clean it so you can get back to wearing your favorite accessory in no time.

How to wash a baseball hat quickly

When your favorite cap needs a quick refresh, follow these steps for how to wash a hat by hand. You’ll be done in just about 10 minutes!

  1. Fill a sink or large basin with cool water. Mix in a few drops of laundry detergent or dish soap, and agitate the mixture until sudsy.
  2. Fully submerge your hat in the soapy water and swish it around a bit, being careful not to squish the brim.
  3. Let sit for 10 minutes, swishing it in the soapy water every so often.
  4. For especially dirty hats, you may need to soak and swish for double the amount of time to remove all of the grime and sweat buildup.
  5. Finally, rinse the hat under cool running water for a minute or two until no suds remain. Gently squeeze the excess water out of the cap, avoiding the brim, which will lose its shape if twisted. Instead, blot the brim with a dry towel to remove excess water before laying the hat on a towel to dry.
  6. Help your hat keep its shape while drying by filling it with newspaper, an upside-down bowl, or a bunched-up towel.

For other delicate items, here’s how to hand-wash clothes in just a few easy steps.

How to deep-clean a baseball hat

Don’t toss your hat into the washing machine, even if you’re dealing with excessive sweat stains, grunginess, or noticeable dirty spots. Instead, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Fill a sink or large basin with cool water. Mix in a scoop of color-safe oxygenated bleach (such as OxiClean), and agitate the mixture until sudsy.
  2. Fully submerge your hat in the soapy water and swish it around a bit, being careful not to squish the brim.
  3. Let sit for 1 hour, swishing it around in the soapy water every 15 minutes.
  4. Rinse the hat under cool running water until no suds remain. Gently squeeze the excess water out of the cap, being careful not to squish the brim, which should be blotted dry with a towel.
  5. Fill the cap with newspaper, an upside-down bowl, or a bunched-up towel to help it keep its shape before hanging or laying it out on a towel to dry.

And that’s it! Now that you know how to wash a hat, find out how to wash “dry clean only” clothes at home.

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Maryn Liles
Maryn is a home, lifestyle and travel writer who's always on the lookout for what's new and next. When she's not dreaming up new content for her freelance writing business, Connected Content Co., you can find her working on her latest home decor DIY project, out for a hike or dancing around the house to 80s jams.