Do you have a dirty, grimy, or stained hat that you want to clean up? Have you been searching high and low for the best hat washing guide around? Look no further! In this in-depth guide, we will walk you through every single step of the hat washing process from start to finish.
Never head out in a dirty hat again! Get those old hats out of the closet and put them to good use. After reading this guide, you will be able to clean, restore, and care for all kinds of hats on a near-professional level!
Here, we will discuss washing a hat in the dishwasher, cleaning a hat in the washing machine, hand-washing hats, blowdrying your hat, and much more! We’ll cover the best ways to care for wool hats, cotton hats, synthetic materials, and everything in-between.
Whether your hat is made of fur, straw, leather, or something else, this comprehensive tutorial can make your fashion life easier. In each section, we offer tips, key considerations and will even go over the potential cost of materials. Be sure to read carefully and check through each section from beginning to end. That way, you won’t miss anything important!
We want to make your hat cleaning journey as easy as possible! That way, you can easily clean up your old hats or care for any hats that get dirty in the future. This is your one-stop-hat-washing guide! Without any further ado, here’s your total How to Wash a Hat Guide!
In this chapter, we’ll go over everything you need to know before you break out the cleaning materials and start freshening up a hat. You’ll learn some of the best tips out there to use so that you can proceed with confidence based on your specific situation. We’ll also discuss how to read the label inside of your hat.
Tips to Consider Before You Start Washing Your Hat
Now, let’s talk about some of the best tips to consider before you start washing a hat. As they say, it’s always better to be prepared. With these handy hat cleaning tips, you will always be able to clean the exact type of hat you own properly and efficiently. Add these tips to your cleaning knowledge arsenal to make the entire process go much more smoothly.
Not to worry, each of these helpful hat cleaning tips has been tested and approved with great results! Hopefully, you can use a few of, if not all, of these tips to get your hat looking like new. The goal is to help you easily get your hats looking refreshed or even as if you just bought them from the store.
Survey the Job Ahead of You and Customize Each Job
First of all, take a good look at the job ahead of you before you even break out the soap. Factors like the type of hat you have, the cleaning solutions you are using, and how dirty the hat in question is, must be considered. Keep in mind that you should only use tips that apply to the fabric and type of hat that you need to clean. Is your hat made of leather or cotton? Is it a polyester ball cap? Different materials require different cleaning approaches, and every new hat cleaning job will be unique.
Don’t Believe Everything You Hear or Read Online
What works for one garment won’t necessarily work for another. Many blogs and influencers will say to pop your hat in the dishwasher or toss it in with your clothes. Some also suggest using bleach, oxy-clean, magic erasers, or even toothpaste to clean your hat. In some cases, this is fine. In other situations, these “hacks” are a terrible idea. This YouTube video shows people using magic erasers to clean their hats. Don’t do this unless you are sure that the dye in your hat will not be ruined!
Magic erasers can strip the fabric and remove the waterproof coating from a hat. So, even if the hat gets clean, it will no longer stand up to wear and tear. Different types of clothing require different types of care. Some hats will respond fine to these methods, while others will be faded, damaged, or stained forever. Using common sense and doing your research can save you from all kinds of problems.
Gather the Right Materials for Your Specific Type of Hat
Next, you will want to make sure to have the cleaning materials to get the job done on hand. You already have the dirty hat. Now, you’ll need cleaning supplies like oil removers and scrubbers. Soft bristle brushes or microfiber rags are good for cotton, polyester, or certain hemp fabrics. On felt hats, stiffer dry brushes may be needed. If a hat is made of leather, you will need a leather cleaning kit. You get the picture!
For some hats, standard liquid soap or laundry detergent will work just fine. For others, soap can be a big problem. You will also want to have a way to dry your hat. There are hat drying racks that make the job easier. Blow dryers can help as well with some hats. Otherwise, paper towels or newspapers can help your hat keep its shape as it dries. Remember that some hats can not withstand intense heat and are meant to be air-dried only.
Some materials to have on hand may include:
- Liquid soap
- Laundry detergent
- Oxy-Clean (or similar stain lifting cleaners)
- Soft or stiff brushes
- Hat drying rack
- Newspaper or paper towels
- A container that holds water
- A microfiber cloth or rag
Be Ready to Take Your Time and Do Things Right
When cleaning a hat, things may take longer than you expect. Don’t rush the process! Factor in things like drying time, multiple scrubs, and rinses. If you clean your hat incorrectly, skip critical drying steps, or try to rush the process, you could ruin your hat.
Also, consider the level of grime that you need to remove. The grimier and dirtier a hat is, the harder it will be to clean. With some types of hats, less is more. For instance, if you just need to remove one stain, you don’t need to submerge your whole hat in the water. Set time aside to do things right the first time.
If Possible, Avoid Total Submersion
When you look for ways to clean your hat online, many places suggest dunking it underwater in a sink or bucket. This can work for some types of hats, but for others, full water submersion is a death sentence. Water can cause dyes to run or ruin the cardboard in the brim. Cleaning your hat without getting it soaked is the best approach. You will save yourself from having to deal with lots of unnecessary frustration.
Look at the Type of Grime Your Dealing With
Different kinds of stains and types of grime must be dealt with in different ways. For example, sweat stains can often be wiped away with just a damp cloth. For dust or dirt, a spray bottle can sometimes be used to gently mist your hat. Or, you can use a baby wipe to gently brush everything off. If your hat has a stain from food, stain removers might need to be used. The same goes for marker stains and paint. If your hat is dirty all over and needs a deep cleaning, full submersion in warm water might be necessary. Each method will require a different cleaning process and won’t work on all hats.
Some Hats Should Only Ever Be Hand Washed or Dry Cleaned
If your hat has a contoured shape to it, like a cowboy hat or fedora you will need to hand wash it gently. The same goes for wool hats, or hats made using felt of any kind. Fur and leather hats should be dry cleaned or washed with extreme care. Ball caps often have cardboard pieces in the brim. This makes them prone to losing their shape when wet. All of these hats could be ruined or irreparably damaged if washed incorrectly.
Know the Different Hat Types
The type of hat and the material it is made of are the most important considerations to keep in mind before you start the cleaning process. It is absolutely critical that you don’t start washing a hat the wrong way from the get-go. Felt, fur, leather, and wool hats can be permanently disfigured by water. The same goes for many other types of nice hats. Countless hats are ruined every year by people who learn the hard way that failing to look before you leap can end in disaster! Don’t let your hat become another casualty.
Types of wool and felt hats include fedoras, berets, Stetsons, cloches, bowler hats, derby hats, Marion wool caps, and homburgs. Trooper hats, Cossak hats, coonskin caps, and the like often use real fur. Ball caps, flatbill hats, trucker hats, snapbacks, newsboy hats, baker boy hats, driving caps, Gatsbys, and Herringbones also should be washed with consideration.
Always Follow the Recommended Washing Instructions on the Label
Last but certainly not least, always follow the recommended washing instructions found on your hat’s inner label. This will tell you the materials that your hat is made of and other key information. No worries, in the next tip section, we will go over how to read the label on your hat and apply what you learn.
Reading and understanding the hat label
Reading and understanding the label on your hat is another important factor that can help you do things correctly. The label of your hat is its custom washing guide. Unfortunately, hat labels can occasionally be somewhat difficult to decipher. Use these tips to help you understand the care and washing instructions for your hat or cap.
First, look for symbols that identify when a garment cannot be washed. A symbol that looks like a cup of water with an X through it will indicate this. This symbol applies to machine washing and hand washing. If you see this symbol, you might need to take your hat to a dry cleaner or professional to make sure its fabric is cleaned appropriately.
Another symbol to watch for inside a hat is the natural drying symbol. This will be represented by a simple square. The plain hollow square means that your hat must be air-dried only, not heated. Don’t dry your hat with the blow dryer if you see this symbol. Also, never dry a hat in your automatic clothes dryer! Even a beanie can shrink in the dryer.
A plain circle means dry clean only. If you see this symbol, just save yourself the trouble and head down to your favorite dry cleaner. It may cost you a little bit of money to clean a hat this way, but at least you won’t ruin it! Plus, a reputable dry cleaner will be able to make your hat look just like new.
Other terms that you may need to know include weatherized, pre-shrunk, and the visor type of your hat. The brand of your hat and its size will also often be listed on the label inside. Finally, the type of material your hat is made of, and other washing instructions will usually be listed on the label.
Weatherized hats will be coated in some type of stain or water-resistant material. These kinds of hats can usually be cleaned gently with a brush, soap, and water. Pre-shrunk means that the material of a hat has already been heat-treated. The heat causes the material to shrink to ensure the best fit.
If the material that your hat is made of is listed on the label, you can then proceed with washing your hat accordingly. Be sure to follow all washing instructions and guidelines provided by the tag symbols. Here’s a helpful video that will walk you through the meaning of those small laundry symbols on your hat’s label.
Most caps have labels that will say not to use bleach and to hand wash them in cold water. These hats are usually made with polyester and spandex and are the easiest to clean. However, it is still important to check the tag in your hat and use the information you gather there to clean it the right way.
Prelude Hat Washing Tips Conclusion
There you have it! Now you know what to do before you begin trying to clean your hat. Remember, always read the label on the inside of your hat so that you know how to best care for its material and shape. Also, use common sense and be sure not to treat your hat with harsh chemicals. Next, we are going to get into exactly how to wash your hat with step-by-step instructions. Read on to get the best possible advice on washing all types of hats!
About the Hand Washing Basin Cleaning Method
Although there are many different hat cleaning methods to choose from, the simplest and most effective method for cleaning a cap-style hat involves handwashing it in a sink or large basin. This method works for most snapbacks, ballcaps, flat bill hats, and the like. It can also be used for beanies and similar knit hats, though we will also offer a washing machine method for these later on.
We have broken the basin cleaning process down into multiple steps that you can follow in order. Each step has clear instructions to help you fully understand what to do as you move from one step to the next.
Instructions for Cleaning a Cap, Snapback, or Similar Hats, Step By Step
We recommend reading each step fully before you start cleaning your hat. Then, you can follow the steps in order after gathering your materials and prepping a cleaning space. Keep in mind you should not wash wool hats, straw hats, leather hats, or felt hats using this method. Additionally, some hats should never be fully submerged in water. If a hat must be dry cleaned, it will usually have a label inside that says dry clean only. We cover how to wash these kinds of hats in another section. With that in mind, let’s dive in!
Prepping Your Cleaning Area and Gathering Materials
Estimated Time: 5 Minutes
Before you start cleaning your hat, you will need to prepare a workspace and gather your materials. This will save you time and help you avoid problems after your hands are already wet. If you are going to be using a sink, clean it out first. That way, any residue or leftover dirt will not get on your hat. This is especially important if you are using a kitchen sink.
Kitchen sinks can be full of bacteria and smelly odor particles. Scrub out your sink and consider bleaching it before you put your hat in there. You may also want to run the garbage disposal if you have one. Comet is a great cleaning powder for kitchen sinks. Lemon juice can help you clean out and freshen up the disposal. Bathroom sinks can have things like hair, toothpaste, and other similar residues in them. Clean your bathroom sink well before using it as a washing basin. Then, rinse it thoroughly with cold water to remove any leftover comet or bleach. This should take about 4 minutes max.
With the basin cleaning method, you won’t need many materials. You will need a cleaning basin that can be filled with warm water. You will then need a cloth-safe surfactant to break up oils and grime in the fabric of your hat. Surfactants that you can use to clean your hat include laundry detergent, baking soda, or a gentle fabric-safe soap. However, we recommend powdered laundry detergent because it lets you get some scrubbing action in and dissolves easily.
If you prefer, you can use a toothbrush and your favorite liquid laundry detergent. In fact, any scrub brush, scrubbing sponge, or textured scrubber will be helpful. Just don’t use steel wool, as it is too abrasive and will damage the fabric of your hat. Finally, you will need a roll of paper towels or a cotton towel and a blowdryer. These items will help you dry your hat and maintain its shape.
- Laundry soap of your choice (liquid or powder)
- Scrubbing brush or sponge
- Basin with warm water
- Cloth towel and/or paper towels
You should not have to spend much money on these materials, as you probably already have them at home. If not, a small bottle or box of laundry detergent costs about $5. A cheap scrub brush or toothbrush should be about $2, and a roll of paper towels can be purchased for $1. If you don’t own a blowdryer, you can always borrow one. However, if you will be cleaning more than one hat, you might as well buy one of your own. A cheap blow dryer should only cost about $15. That comes to about $23 in materials total.
Washing the Hat
Now, it’s time to wash your hat! Read these steps all the way through before you start so you know what to expect. Also, have your drying station ready so that you can keep your surface area clean and free of splatters.
Step 1: Fill Your Clean Sink or Basin
Estimated Time: 3 Minutes
If you have your clean sink or washbasin ready, fill it up with warm water. The water should be warm enough to bathe it. If it is too hot for your hands, it is too hot for your hat. A temperature range of 98 to 103 degrees is best for most hats. You should fill your sink or basin almost all of the way, as you will be fully submerging your hat to soak.
Step 2: Add Laundry Detergent to Warm Water and Mix Together
Estimated Time: 1 Minute
Now, you will want to add some laundry detergent to the water. About three tablespoons of detergent should be fine. This will be used to soak your hat. Mix the detergent into the water until it dissolves evenly and you see some bubbles or foam at the surface. This will provide a safe, even, deep clean.
Step 3: Dip and Rub Down Your Hat
Estimated Time: 3 Minutes
Using only a little bit of laundry detergent (a few drops at most), you will now dip and scrub down your hat. First, dip your hat in the water and let it soak for three seconds to ensure it is thoroughly wet. Now, add a few drops of detergent to a wet brush or scrubber. Don’t put the detergent directly on your hat until it is lathered up on a rag or brush to prevent uneven washes or dye transfers.
Create a light lather on your brush, and start scrubbing the inside rim of your hat. Scrub the frothy suds in to break up sweat stains or grime. Then, move to the underside of the brim and gently scrub this area. Finally, scrub any other dark areas or grimy spots near the stitching or seams. This should take about three minutes total. The goal is to get suds into the dirtiest parts of your hat so they can start breaking apart the dirt and grime.
Step 4: Soak the Hat
Estimated Time: 5-8 Minutes
Now comes the easy part. Simply let your hat soak in the soapy water for 5-8 minutes. This lets the grime and dirt make their way out of the fabric, seams, and brim of the hat. Don’t let your hat soak for more than 10 minutes, as it can lose its shape, bleed colors, or warp. Setting a timer on your phone can help you keep track of the time that your cap has been submerged.
Step 5: Do Another Light Scrub and Warm Rinse
Estimated Time: 1-3 Minutes
After your hat has soaked, you should notice that the water in your sink is now dirtier. This is a good sign! It means that the grime on your hat is coming out. At this time, gently remove your hat from soaking in the water and lightly scrub it down once more. Depending on how your hat looks at this stage, you can scrub any areas that still look dirty. Then, use warm water to rinse off any detergent residue. Repeat as needed.
Step 6: Final Rinse in Cold Water
Estimated Time: 30 Seconds
Once you have scrubbed out the dirty stuff to your satisfaction, rinse your hat in cold water. This step is very important! Cold water rinsing ensures that your hat will not fade or lose its colors in the drying process.
Drying Your Hat
Estimated Time: 15 Minutes Total
After your hat is washed, it is time for the two-step drying process. When done correctly, this drying process will help you get your hat dry and shaped perfectly!
Estimated Time: 10 Minutes
After your hat has been rinsed in cold water, gently set it aside and let it drip dry. Stuff it with a washcloth or paper towels and set it on another towel with the brim flat for flat-billed hats or supported for curved brim hats. If the brim of your hat is curved, you can use paper towels to create a rounded shape for the brim. For most hats, the brim contains cardboard. Cardboard can lose its shape when wet, so provide as much support with the paper towels as you can. The goal is to use paper towels to recreate the shape of your head while also keeping the bill/brim in the right position. Keep your hat out of the sun for this stage as well to prevent fading.
Blow Dry from the Inside Out
Now it’s time for the final step. Blow drying your hat from the inside out is the perfect way to use air to sculpt it into the ideal dry shape. Once the hat is dryer but still damp, get your blow dryer and use the coolest setting first. Blow-dry the inside of the cap, not the outside. This works to ensure that it will not fade or develop an uneven, warped shape.
Ensure that the blow dryer moves back and forth in a circular shape. Keep waving your blow dryer back and forth to keep the heat even and produce a sculpting effect. Using this circular fanlike motion, you will keep the drying process even. Do not touch the blow dryer to the fabric. Hold it at least an inch away and use the air to keep the hat inflated in a round shape. Do this for about 5 minutes until the hat is dry, blowing the water from the inside out. Do the same thing for the brim or bill but in a back and forth motion instead of a circular one.
Here are a few things to consider as you use this hand washing and blow-drying method. First, remember to use care and common sense. If your hat is super old and dirty, you may have to scrub it longer. If you have a brand new hat that only has a few sweat stains inside, try to wipe them away with a damp rag before submerging the whole thing in water.
Also, some hats have dark dyes that could bleed or fade. If a hat is a dark color with light stitching, consider using something to protect the stitching from bleeding dyes. Some hats shrink if you wash them in overly hot water. So, keep this in mind as you proceed.
For sweat stains or other heavy stains, you may want to have a stain remover on hand as well. OxiClean is a good option, but baking soda or even a can of club soda can help too. For the above method, let’s assume that your hat is semi-dirty, with regular grime from daily wearing. For deep cleaning, see the section of this guide about deep stains.
So there you have it! If you have a cap, ballcap, trucker hat, snapback, or flat-billed hat that has a regular amount of grime, this is a great washing method to use. It should not cost much and will take about 25-30 minutes from start to finish. Remember to use your blow dryer as a sculpting tool and to always blow dry a damp hat from the inside out. Your main concerns when washing a ballcap or similar type of hat are the colors fading and the brim losing its shape.
The blow dryer can be used to protect and aid with the shape of your hat. Also, fading can be prevented using a gentle hand washing process and a cool water rinse. If you have another kind of hat that isn’t a cap, keep reading for more washing methods! In the next section, we’ll talk about using a washing machine to clean your hat.
Not to be confused with the dishwasher cleaning method (which we will cover in another section), washing machine cleaning can yield maximum results with minimal effort. However, before you wash your hat in the washing machine, there are some aspects to consider.
For one thing, you can’t wash all types of hats using this method. Some hats absolutely should not be submerged in water. Moreover, you will have to do some prep work before you wash your hat in a washing machine. We will walk you through each step of the washing machine hat cleaning method in the following section.
Although this method is easy, it isn’t as simple as just throwing your hat in the machine with your other dirty laundry. That’s why we will go over everything you need to know below! After reading these instructions, you will be able to easily wash your hat in your washing machine without making any big mistakes.
What to Consider Before Putting Your Hat in the Washer
You should know that not all hats can be cleaned in a washing machine. Hats made of wool, felt, fur, and most hats with cardboard lined brims, should only ever be washed by hand or dry cleaned. Hand washing your hat is probably the best way to get it clean without risking damage.
Dry cleaning is best for most garments made of wool or fur. Still, when done properly using the right kind of hat, washing machine cleaning is effective and can work quite well. Check the following list to ensure that washing your hat in the washing machine is a good idea.
No Felt or Fur
Do not wash felt hats, wool hats, fur hats, or hats that say Dry Clean Only in the washing machine.
Cardboard Brims are a No-Go
Some hats have cardboard in their brims, which can warp if fully submerged in water. Avoid washing hats with cardboard-lined brims in the washing machine.
Use the Cold Cycle
Hot water is usually bad for hats! Never wash a hat in hot water unless you know it’s safe. Use the cold cycle or a lukewarm cycle instead.
Avoid Harsh Chemicals
Some chemicals will damage the colors and shape of your hat. Bleach can ruin your hat, so do not add bleach to your wash cycle.
Use the Washer, Not the Dryer
Hats and clothes dryers do not usually go well together. Even a beanie can shrink in the dryer. Who likes beanies that are too small? You will need to air dry your hat or use a blowdryer.
Know Your Hat
Check to see what materials your hat is made of before washing it. Ballcaps and Snapbacks can occasionally be washed in a machine but are usually better cared for by hand washing. Beanies and other fabric or knit hats are usually washing machine safe.
Step-By-Step Guide to Washing Hats in the Washer
Now, let’s go over precisely how to prep your hat for getting cleaned in the washing machine. We will also cover a few other important steps. The entire process will take about an hour from start to finish, not counting the time it takes for your hat to dry. If you already own a washing machine, the cost of this method should be $0. However, you might need a few things like stain remover spray and laundry soap. These things cost around $10 combined.
What You Will Need:
- Garment Bag
- Washing Machine
- Dirty Hat
- Laundry Liquid
- Stain Remover Spray
- Scrub Brush
- Paper Towels (or any small towel)
- Blowdryer (or patience if you prefer the air-dry method)
Step 1: Pretreat the Hatband and Spray Stain
Estimated Time: 15-20 Minutes
First, you will want to pre-treat your hat with a sprayable stain remover. This can help loosen grime and ground-in dirt. If your hat is made of cotton or a cotton blend, stain removers can be sprayed right onto the hatband. Beanies and knit hats can also usually tolerate stain removers. You can find out if your hat is made out of cotton by reading the label, which we go over in the first chapter.
Spray Dirty Spots and Stains
Look for dirty or grimy spots and spray them down thoroughly. The part of the hat that touches your forehead will usually be the dirtiest. Stain remover works well for sweat stains, food stains, and other kinds of mild, ground-in stains.
If your hat is heavily stained or extremely dirty, you might want to use the hand washing method, which we also covered in a previous section. Or, you can pre-soak your hat overnight with lukewarm water and stain removers. However, if your hat has a stiff brim like with a Ballcap or Snapback, try to leave the brim out of the water when soaking it for long periods. This will prevent warping and damage to the bill.
Work the Stain Removers if Needed and Let Sit
After you have sprayed down your hat with stain remover, you can use a toothbrush or your hands to work the stain removers to a light lather. Or, you can simply let the stain removers sit in place to break up dirt and grime for about 20 minutes. You will have to use your best judgment in this process. Remember to be gentle and do not overwork the fabric.
Step 2: Place in a Garment Bag (or Pillowcase)
Estimated Time: 30 Seconds
For more delicate hats, you might need to use a garment bag. If you don’t already have one or do not wish to buy one, a pillowcase will work. The point of this bag is to give your hat room to move in the washer, without being too roughly spun around. Plus, with a garment bag, you can wash other laundry items. Just be sure that your other clothing items are the same colors as your hat.
Step 3: Select the Right Wash Cycle Settings
Estimated Time: 1 Minute
Now, it’s time to put your hat in the washing machine and select the proper wash cycle settings. You should choose a gentle wash cycle. Also, never use the hot or sanitary settings with a delicate hat. Instead, choose a cool or lukewarm wash setting cycle. The delicate cycle setting on your washing machine will probably take from 15 to 45 minutes.
Step 4: Start the Washer and Wait
Estimated Time: 15-45 Minutes
This is the easy part! Simply add your laundry soap, start your washing machine, and wait. If you notice that colors are bleeding in the washer, stop the cycle by hitting cancel. If the colors seem to be bleeding, remove your hat and rinse it in cool water immediately. You will probably need to hand wash it. However, if you don’t see any colors running, you are all set. Let your washing machine do its thing!
Step 5: Remove Hat and Prep it for Drying
Estimated Time: 2-3 Minutes
Now that your hat is washed, you can remove it from the garment bag and proceed to the drying process. To prepare your hat for drying, you might want to stuff it with small towels like paper towels. This will help to preserve its shape and prevent shrinkage. Just stuff in the towels to mimic the shape of your head. This will be helpful for both the air drying and blow-drying methods.
Step 6: Dry Your Hat
Estimated Time: 5-120 Minutes
Now, you will need to decide how you want to dry your hat. There are two ways to get your hat dry without causing damage. The first is air drying which takes the longest but is the gentlest. The second is by using a blowdryer, which can be very effective. Let’s go over both methods, and you can choose the one that works best for your hat and time constraints.
Air Dry Method
Air drying is a good choice because it won’t cause the colors of your hat to fade. With the air-dry method, all you need to do is stuff your hat with towels and place it in a clean dry area.
Some people prefer to let their hats air-dry outdoors due to the fresh breeze. However, if you have a fan or air vent, placing your hat near one of them is the better option. This will prevent sun damage and keep your hat from getting dirty all over again.
After putting your hat in a clean place out of the sun with good airflow, all you need to do is wait. Depending on how humid your home environment is, your hat should be almost dry within 12 hours and completely dry within 36 hours. You can replace the towels inside of your hat with fresh ones after a few hours to prevent bad odors from forming and expedite the drying process.
Blow Dry Method
If you want your hat to dry faster, blow-drying it is a great option. Although this method takes more effort, it prevents bad odors from developing and gets your hat completely dry. In some cases, the fabric of a hat can develop a musty smell if left to air-dry.
To blow-dry your hat, you will need paper towels and a blow dryer. The paper towels will do the best job of wicking away moisture. At this stage, your hat should be damp to the touch but not soaking wet. If your hat is dripping water, it is too wet. Shake it dry or gently wring it out until it is damp.
Now, stuff your hat with paper towels in a spherical shape that mimics your head shape. Then, set your blow dryer to the lowest heat setting with the most airflow. If you use a setting on your blow dryer that is too hot, it could cause your hat to warp or make its colors fade.
Using a back and forth motion, blow dry the outside of your hat. You can use the warm setting if you like, just don’t hold your blow dryer too close to the fabric of your hat or overheat it. Hold your blow dryer about two inches away from the fabric of your hat.
When the exterior of the hat is only slightly damp, remove the paper towels and start drying your hat from the inside. Blow air in a circular motion to mimic the shape of your head. Do this until the inside is dry or slightly damp to the touch.
Now, stuff your hat with fresh paper towels again. This creates a moisture-wicking effect. Blow-dry the exterior once more until it is dry to the touch. You can now let your hat air dry for about an hour until it is completely free of moisture. If you are in a hurry, you can repeat the interior blow drying process as needed. The entire drying process should take about 15 minutes. This method will also help your hat retain its shape.
Now that you know how to clean your hat in the washing machine, you will be able to get beanies and other washer-safe hats clean and smelling great. However, some Snapbacks, Ballcaps, and Trucker hats can’t be washed using this method. No worries, we will tell you how to wash them in a different kind of automatic washer in another section. Good luck with this method; hopefully, it works well for your hat! We encourage you to read on before using the washing machine method, as there are some other great options below to consider as well!
If you want to know what to avoid when cleaning your hat, you may also want to check out our Hat Cleaning Dos and Don’ts section. That way, you can get an idea of what you should never do when cleaning hats. Read on so that you will be fully informed and ready to clean all of the hats you own!
How to Clean Sweat Stains from a Hat
Sweat stains are one of the most common annoyances for people who wear hats to work while fishing, hunting, in hot climates, and while working out. They can be incredibly frustrating, as they are visible on light and dark-colored hats. Even though sweat stains are one of the most common and frustrating types of stains for hats, they’re also one of the easiest to remove. Best of all, they can also be prevented.
Easily Get Rid of Sweat Stains with a Damp Washcloth
To easily get rid of sweat stains, you can wipe them away with a damp cloth. Water and a little bit of dish soap mixed together and then applied to your hat can work as well. If your sweat stains are very old or persistent, you can use a soft bristle brush to give you some scrubbing power. Target clean the stains and then rinse your hat with cold water. Let it air dry, and you’re all set!
Use a Spot-Cleaning Approach
Remember, when removing sweat stains from your hatband or from the brim area of your hat, it is not necessary to get your entire hat soaking wet. Instead, just clean the area where the sweat stains are present. The rest of your hat can be left alone. Since you will only be cleaning part of the hat, it should air dry easily within about a day.
For Deep Stains, You Can Use Oxygenated or Stain Fighting Detergents
If you have sweat stains on your hat and they are particularly persistent, you can use oxygenated or stain-fighting laundry soap like OxiClean. When mixed with water, these soaps work to give you some lifting stain-fighting action. Be sure that the material of your hat is safe for these types of cleaners. The inside of your hat should have a label that will tell you what cleaning methods are safe for its fabric. For more about hat labels, read the above section.
Run Your Hat Under a Cold Tap
Since sweat stains are caused by salt crystals and skin cells that cling to the fabric of your hat, they can sometimes be washed away with just a bit of cold water. This is especially true if the sweat stains are fresh.
To remove fresh or still-wet sweat from your hat, all you need to do is carefully hold the stained area of your hat under a cold, gently running tap. Keep running the tap until the stains are dissolved or the fresh sweat is washed out. This should only take about 20 seconds. Pat your hat dry with a towel, and you’re done!
Use Preventative Care to Keep Sweat Stains from Forming Again
Sweat stains are super easy to prevent. To prevent future sweat stains from forming on your hat in the first place, you just need to rinse your hat before the sweat dries. After a long day, take your hat off and rinse its interior hatband gently in cold water. There is no need to get your whole hat wet; just gently run water over the hatband area (the part that touches your head) and then pat it dry with a towel.
This easy method will wash the salt from your sweat out of the hat’s fabric before it can form into crystals and make a visible stain. If you have been wearing your hat all day, just remember to do this simple step when you take it off before you shower. Keep in mind that this method is mainly meant for ball caps, trucker hats, flat bills, and snapbacks.
How to clean a felt hat?
Felt hats must be cleaned with care. Felt is a type of non-woven cloth produced by matting, condensing, and pressing wool fibers together. As such, it can not be cleaned the same way that cotton or nylon can. Since felt is made of wool, it has the tendency to shrink or change its shape based on the temperature of the water that you use to clean it.
Also, felt fibers have a coarser texture than other types of synthetic fibers. This means that stains can be ground or pushed into felt materials more easily. As such, you will have to first clean a felt hat using a dry brush and a lint roller. Then, you can begin using liquids to gently work out stains.
Cleaning Dry Dirt, Dust, and Stains Off Your Felt Hat
Before you can use liquid to clean any stains, you have to remove dry dirt, dust, and hair from your felt hat. To clean dried stains, dust, and dirt, brush your hat using a hat brush in a counterclockwise motion. Start at the center and move your way all around the hat consistently.
Then, get a lint roller. Use your lint roller to remove lint, hair, dust, and other small kinds of debris from the hat. Just sweep the lint brush across the surface area of your hat evenly. If you do not own a lint roller, you can use a piece of sticky tape. Just wrap it around your finger with the sticky side out and begin tapping all over your hat to remove dirt, debris, and hair. After this step, you are likely to notice an immediate difference.
Use a Damp Cloth to Gently Work Out Stains
Now, you can start cleaning off any stains. If possible, gently flake off the stains first using your hat brush. The goal is to remove as much of the stain as possible before getting it wet. If you have the stain worked out as much as possible, you may now use a damp cloth to start spot-cleaning stained areas. Be sure that you use a linen or cotton cloth. Paper towels and napkins will not work well for cleaning felt as the fibers may shed and create a mess.
In a separate bowl, mix together some gentle dish soap such as Dawn or Ivory. Then, dampen your cloth. The cloth does not need to be fully saturated, just damp enough to start working on the stained areas. Warm water works best for felt fibers. Gently blot and rub the stained area, cleaning and rinsing your cloth in the water bowl as needed. Take a separate towel to blot and dry the stained area. Repeat as needed until all stains are removed. This can take a while, so be patient and keep working on it.
Consider Using Wool Cleaning Products or Having Felt Hats Professionally Cleaned
If all else fails, you may need to have your felt hat professionally cleaned. You can also try wool cleaning materials for felt. However, try the above methods first, as you may be able to get your hat satisfactorily cleaned by simply working out a stain by hand.
How to clean a straw hat?
Cleaning a straw hat is a delicate task. To clean your straw hat, make a solution using a few drops of dishwashing liquid and warm water. Wet a soft cloth until it’s slightly damp. Test a small area of the hat to ensure that the water doesn’t cause any adverse effects on the straw.
Once you know it’s safe, you can gently start to wipe the hatch and a circular pattern that goes with the weave of the straw pattern. Do not wipe against the grain, as this can cause damage. After you are done wiping down the hat, place it in a warm, dry place. A straw hat should air dry in a matter of hours.
Other Cleaning Methods for Straw Hats
You can also attempt to remove dirt from a straw hat using a clean, dry makeup brush. The fibers of the makeup brush will be able to easily reach between the creases of the straw weave without causing damage. After brushing the entire hat, shake it off your hat over a sink.
Now, you can use a damp cotton cloth to gently wipe down any leftover dirt or debris on your hat. This method works well for straw hats that have become dusty or discolored from dry materials.
How to clean a baseball hat?
Baseball hats are fairly easy to clean using a damp washcloth and a bowl of soapy water. Simply hand clean the entire hat and rinse it off in cold water. Try not to fully saturate the brim, as it may have cardboard inside, which might start to warp if fully saturated.
Then, you can stuff your damp baseball cap with paper towels so that it will retain its shape as it dries. Now, leave it in a safe place to air-dry. For more tips on cleaning ball caps, check out our in-depth hat cleaning tips in sections 1-3. There, you will find many awesome ways to get baseball caps looking as good as new!
How to clean a delicate white hat with stains?
If you have a delicate white hat that has become stained or discolored, there are many ways to get it looking fresh and clean. If the hat is truly white, that is to say, it is not cream or off-white; you will be able to clean it using peroxide. If your hat is a cream or off-white color, using peroxide will not work safely and can cause whitening and discoloration effects.
Peroxide is a very useful stain and color remover for white objects. First, wash the entire hat by hand. While it is still damp, you will then use hydrogen peroxide to lighten its color. Make a hydrogen peroxide mixture with 1 part peroxide to 3 parts water. You can use a spray bottle to evenly coat the hat for a light, whitening effect. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes, and then wipe the hat down again with a clean wet, white cloth. Using a white cloth prevents the possibility of colors from transferring to your hat.
If you have stains to remove from the hat, you can use a cotton swab, white rag, paper towel, or white cloth, apply pure hydrogen peroxide directly to the stained areas. With a toothbrush, scrub the peroxide in. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes, and then gently rinse and dry your hat.
Other Hat Stains and How to Clean Them
For all other types of stains, you may want to consider using a stain removing product. Clorox, Tide, Gain, and a few other brands make stain removal products for all kinds of fabrics. With these products, the stain removal process often involves dampening the stained area, applying the stain remover, and allowing it to sit for a certain amount of time. Then, you will hand wash the entire hat. Most stain removal products have instructions that you can follow listed on the side.
We hope that this section of special hat cleaning considerations has been helpful! Many of these methods have been tried and tested with great results. If you haven’t found what you are looking for yet, don’t worry. Just keep reading to find out more about the hat cleaning process! In the next section, we’ll go over how you might even be able to get your hat clean by using the dishwasher in your kitchen!
For the most part, all you will have to do is add the right type of laundry detergent to your dishwasher and select a gentle cycle. With this method, you could wash one or multiple hats at the same time!
This is a great choice for those grimy, dirty hats that you wear to work, while fishing, hunting, or during other outdoor activities. The dishwasher can deep-clean your hat and remove smells, stains, and sweat.
Below, we will discuss what you need to consider before washing your hat in a dishwasher, what you will need to effectively get your hat clean, and each step of the dishwashing process in order. That way, you will be able to effectively get your hat looking clean and fresh by simply running it through a standard kitchen appliance!
The Dishwasher Method is Great For…
This method will not work for all types of hats, but it does a great job of cleaning ball caps and snapbacks. Depending on the type of dishwasher you have and how dirty your hat is, the entire process takes about three hours, including drying time, or around 40 minutes, excluding drying time.
Bear in mind that this method will not work for all types of hats. You cannot wash wool hats, cotton hats, hats made with natural materials, straw hats, fur hats, or leather hats in the dishwasher. These materials can easily be ruined by the heat and abrasive spray of your dishwasher.
Additionally, if you have a high-quality hat that you want to keep in a like-new condition, do not put it in the dishwasher. The dishwasher is best for dirty ball caps that you wear to work or when engaging in outdoor activities. Think dirty, ragged hats that you want to clean up but aren’t trying to keep in pristine condition.
The dishwasher method also works great for snapbacks or trucker hats with plastic or poly-fiber mesh backs. Most synthetic materials and nylon blends will do fine with this method. Finally, be advised that washing your hat in the dishwasher may lead to a slight warping of the bill or shrinking of the hatband.
What You’ll Need
You won’t need much to wash your hat in the dishwasher. For the most part, you will need a dishwasher and some sort of detergent that isn’t scented like lemon and does not contain bleach.
- A dishwasher
- Gentle detergent
- Stain remover
- Hat or cap frame
You should choose a gentle detergent that does not contain bleach. Lemon-scented dishwashing detergent is not a good choice for washing a hat either. This is because lemon-scented products of this kind are often acidic and designed to remove food particles.
This will deteriorate the fabric and cardboard brim of your hat. Additionally, bleach may discolor your hat. Instead, choose a gentle laundry detergent that is free of harsh chemicals.
There are also plastic frames that you can buy made specifically for helping a hat maintain its shape as it goes through the dishwasher. If you don’t own a frame like this, you can stretch your hat across the rungs of the dishwasher. The goal is to keep your hat in its natural shape and support its brim.
Step 1: Prep Your Hat and Put it in the Dishwasher
Estimated Time: 3 Minutes
First, you will want to prepare your hat for the dishwasher. Shake out any dirt or dust and try to get off as much grime as possible before getting your hat wet. Then, you can treat your hat with a stain remover and gently rinse the stained area to help remove ground-in dirt or tough stains.
If you have a plastic hat frame or a container designed to help your hat hold its shape as it goes through the dishwasher, place your hat in the container or stretch it over the top. There are many different kinds of hat-safe containers and frames designed to help you wash your hat easily. These devices usually come with instructions that you can follow.
Be Sure Your Dishwasher is Empty
Be sure that your dishwasher does not contain dirty dishes. It is best to wash your hat in an empty dishwasher so that the food or gunk from your dishes stays far away from the fabric of your hat. Washing your hat with other dishes can make it smell bad once it dries.
Whether you are using a frame or washing your hat on its own, place it on the top shelf of your empty dishwasher. You can wash more than one hat at a time as well. So, if you have a few hats that you want to get clean, this would be the time to add them in. Generally speaking, you can wash about ten hats at once.
If you do not have a dishwasher-safe plastic frame for your hat, you may want to use clothespins or plastic clips to secure your hat to the top shelf of the dishwasher. This will hold your hat in place so that it does not move around during the dishwashing cycle. Do not use metal clips or paper clips, as they can cause rust stains on your hat.
- Position your hat securely on the top shelf
- You can wash multiple hats
- Use plastic clips or clothespins to hold your hat in place
- A hat frame or dishwasher hat container is recommended
Step 2: Fill the Dishwasher Detergent Bay
Estimated Time: 30 Seconds
Now, fill the detergent bay in your dishwasher with the hat-safe laundry detergent that you have decided to use. Do not use regular dish soap designed for the sink. This will cause your dishwasher to become filled with frothy bubbles or even overflow. Additionally, do not use bleach detergent or lemon-scented dish detergent. Dish detergents with citric acid will damage any fabric on your hat.
- Add detergent to the detergent bay in your dishwasher
- Do not use detergents for dishes that contain citric acid
- Do not use a laundry detergent that contains bleach
- Do not use standard liquid soap meant for the sink
Step 3: Run a Delicate Cycle
Estimated Time: 30 Minutes
Now, it’s time to start your dishwasher. Set your appliance to a normal or delicate wash cycle using warm water. Do not use hot water, as the hot water in your dishwasher can damage your hat or cause it to shrink. Also, make sure that if your dishwasher has a heat drying option, it is turned off. The heated drying cycle of a dishwasher can cause your hat to shrink or warp.
- Run a delicate warm cycle
- Do not use a hot cycle
- Be sure to turn off the “heated dry” option on your dishwasher
Step 4: Remove and Dry Your Hat
Estimated Time: 2 Hours
Finally, it is time to remove and dry your hat. The easiest way to dry your hat involves stuffing it with paper towels, napkins, or newspaper. The goal here is for these materials to help soak up the water from your hat.
As you stuff your hat, try to emulate the shape of your head so that your hat will dry in the right shape without warping or shrinking in size. Also, you can use these materials to support the brim of your hat if it is curved. If you have a flat bill, clip the bill to something flat so that it won’t bend or warp.
Additionally, you will want to place your hat in a dry, clean area with plenty of air circulation. You may want to set your hat in front of a fan to help it dry. You can also use the warm setting on a blow dryer and gently blow dry your hat in a circular motion.
When left to air-dry, a hat should take around two hours to completely dry. However, this will depend on the humidity levels where you live. Do not place yourself in the sun to dry, as this can cause it to fade or become discolored. Also, if you choose to blow dry your hat, make sure to use a warm setting instead of a hot setting so that your hat does not get damaged.
So there you have it! Now you know how to wash your hat correctly using a standard dishwasher. With this method, you should be able to easily clean old, dirty work hats with minimal effort. You can even clean many hats at once! Just remember not to use the hot cycle on your dishwasher.
Also, be sure that you always use the correct type of laundry detergent. The wrong type of laundry or dishwasher detergent may damage your hat. Finally, if you want to reduce the drying time, a blow dryer is a great choice. You can read more about blow-drying your hat in the above chapters.
Hopefully, these dishwasher hat washing tips will help you turn your kitchen appliance into a hat-saving solution!
Keep reading to learn important do’s and don’ts about cleaning your hat. That way, you will be able to easily wash and clean a range of different hats without damaging them or leaving them in a condition that is worse than when you started.
In this helpful section, we will give you a quick rundown of the dos and don’ts of washing a hat. We have listed an explanation underneath each step so that you can fully understand the reasoning behind these rules of thumb. Let’s get started!
Do’s of Hat Cleaning
So what are the things that you should definitely do when cleaning a hat? Well, there are a few steps that you can take to ensure your hat will stay in tip-top shape. With these helpful do’s for hat cleaning, you can begin the transformation process for old or dirty hats with confidence.
Do read the clothing tags and labels on hats.
It is important to always read the label on any hat or item of clothing that you want to wash. Most hats have tags located inside of the hatband, below the brim, or toward the interior crown area.
A hat’s label will usually tell you what type of fabric your hat is made of, how to wash it, dry it, and any other important fabric care instructions. Various laundry symbols on a hat’s label can guide you. These symbols may take a little while to decipher.
Once you understand these laundry symbols, it becomes easier to care for all kinds of garments properly. If you need further directions on this subject, you can consult our previous section about reading the label on a hat.
Do take your time and clean your hat the right way.
It’s also important to take your time and clean your hat properly. As they say, haste makes waste! Sometimes, extra dirty hats take a long time to get thoroughly clean. Deeply ground in dirt and soiled fabrics may also need pre-treatment washes or stain removal solvents.
Although the pretreatment process can be tedious, it is worth your time to get your hat restored to its former state. Usually, cleaning your hat will take about 45 minutes.
If your hat needs to be pre-treated with a stain remover or pre-washed, the cleaning process could take about an hour and a half. Drying time may be as long as three hours if you choose the air dry method or 15 minutes if you choose a blow-dryer method.
Do invest in the proper materials and cleaning supplies.
It is also important to have the proper cleaning materials and hat washing items you will need on hand. These items could include hat frames for the dishwasher, small scrub brushes, laundry detergents, pre-treatment solutions, a blowdryer, clothespins, stain remover solvents, and so on.
If you are going to do a job, you might as well do it right! Many of these materials are inexpensive. Some of these materials can be substituted for cheaper alternatives. Yes, if you don’t already own a blow-dryer, you could simply air-dry your hat.
Hat frames can be made using plastic-coated metal coat hangers. However, if you have lots of hats to clean, you may as well just invest in these materials so that you can easily get the job done correctly.
Do use a drying method that helps your hat keep its shape.
When you dry your hat, it is best to select the method that most effectively keeps your hat in its original shape. So, if air drying your hat is the easiest way to get your hat dry without it warping, choose this method.
If you need to use clothespins to keep the brim of your hat flat as it air-dries, do that. That your hat would more easily retain the ideal shape if you used a blow-dryer, then that is the method to go with.
Do use a stain pre-treatment if possible for your hat’s fabric.
Depending on what type of fabric your hat is made out of, you may be able to pre-treat deeply ground-in stains and soiled fabrics with a stain-fighting solvent. Although this extra step can take a little longer, it may be worth your time.
Sometimes, these stain treatment products will remove dirt and stains right away! Just be sure that your hat is made of the appropriate materials before you use any stain treatment products.
Leather, fur, feathers, straw, and other natural materials, do not mesh well with spray stain-fighting products. However, wool can sometimes be treated with stain-fighting products.
Do consider hiring a professional laundry or restoration service for cleaning expensive hats.
If all else fails or if you are nervous about ruining your hat, it may be a good idea to hire a professional. Many laundry services can help you restore expensive items of clothing. If you don’t know where to go, most dry cleaners can provide you with answers.
Don’ts of Hat Cleaning
There are definitely some things that you should avoid when cleaning your hat. As we have said before, each hat must be washed and cleaned with consideration made for its material type, construction, and other specific factors. Here are the things to avoid doing as you clean and restore your hats.
Don’t use bleach on hats that aren’t already a crisp white color.
Never use bleach on a hat that has colorful fabrics. Bleach ruins the dyes in fabric fibers. This will decimate the look of your hat. The only time that it is safe to use bleach on a hat is if your hat is already a bright, crisp, white color. Also, you cannot use bleach on leather, fur, angora wool, or other similar materials.
Don’t put your hats in the clothes dryer.
Unless your hat is a knit or fabric beanie, it cannot go through your clothes dryer. Clothes dryers can heat hats to very high temperatures. This can warp or shrink them permanently. Instead, use a blow dryer or the air drying method we discussed in the previous chapters.
Don’t put hats in the dishwasher with dirty dishes.
If you decide that your hat is safe to wash in the dishwasher, be sure to empty your dishwasher first. If you wash your hat with other dirty dishes, it can become dirtier than ever! Not to mention, this can cause your hat to have a very unpleasant odor.
Don’t air-dry your hat directly in the sun.
When you are air-drying a hat, be sure that you place it in a location that has plenty of air circulation and is out of the sun. The sun can cause hats to fade and become discolored. Don’t leave your hat outside to dry or place it in a sunny window. Instead, let it dry in front of a fan. Stuffing your hat with paper towels or newspaper can help expedite the air-drying process.
Don’t fully submerge certain types of hats in water.
Some hats can not be fully submerged in water. Hats with cardboard brims can only be submerged for short periods and must be dried with care. If you are hand washing a hat, try to keep the brim out of the water. You can use a wet rag to wash your hat’s brim instead. Then, you can use a dry rag to absorb much of the water before you begin the air-drying or blow-drying process.
So there you have it! Now you know how to wash a hat by hand, in the dishwasher, and more. You also know how to dry your hat in a way that will help it retain its shape. We hope that this guide has been helpful and that you have learned a lot! After all, nothing is better than getting the most out of your favorite clothing items.
Why buy a new hat when you can simply clean and restore a hat that you already love? It’s often a good idea to care for the belongings you already have and restore them if possible. Plus, some hats are simply too cool to get rid of.
Do you have questions about washing your hat? We encourage you to leave your comments below! We want to hear how your hat transformation journey went. We also want to hear any tips you have about washing a hat! We look forward to hearing from you, and thanks for reading!