A black cloth baseball cap on a countertop

How to wash a baseball cap in 4 steps

If you’ve ever wondered how to wash a hat, you’re not alone. While you may have heard you can wash a hat in the dishwasher or washing machine, it’s best to stick with hand washing to avoid bending the hat out of shape. Some parts of your hat, specifically the bill, are structured items, making hand washing helpful for preserving its specific shape. As dirt, oils and sweat start to build up, you can give your hat a much-needed refresher with a thorough cleaning. This guide offers helpful tips on how to wash a baseball cap so you can keep your entire family’s favorite hats clean and fresh.

A black cloth baseball cap on a countertop with a toothbrush, towel and cleaning supplies A black cloth baseball cap on a countertop with a toothbrush, towel and cleaning supplies

What to know before cleaning a hat

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Color test the fabric of your hat

Test to make sure your hat will stand up to the cleaning process by rubbing a small amount of cleaning solution like Swash® Laundry Detergent* or stain remover powder mixed with water on a hidden part of the hat, like the underside of the bill. If any color comes away, use only water to clean the hat.

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Got an older, vintage cap?

Since older hats often have cardboard bills instead of today’s more durable plastic, avoid soaking the hat and spot clean only to preserve the material. Generally, hats made prior to 1983 will have a cardboard bill—if the hat makes a hollow sound when you flick or tap the bill, you can assume that it’s cardboard.

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Can you wash a baseball cap in the dishwasher?

It’s not recommended to wash a baseball cap in the dishwasher. While you may have heard that it’s okay to clean a hat in the dishwasher, the high heat and harsh, bleach-based dish detergents can damage fibers and remove color from the hat. Because of the potential for wear, avoid ruining your prized baseball caps by keeping them away from the dishwasher and washing by hand.

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Can you wash a baseball cap in the washing machine?

It’s possible to wash a hat in the washing machine using the delicates/gentle cycle, but you still run the risk of the hat losing its structured shape due to friction and pressure caused by the washer’s agitation. To help keep them looking great for as long as possible, avoid washing hats in the washing machine and hand clean as needed.

How to wash a baseball cap by hand

We’ll guide you through two different ways to clean a hat—the first method shows how to give your hat a quick refresh after light wear, and the second method goes into how to deep clean a baseball cap that is especially dirty or sweaty. Start with the gentlest method first, then work your way up to more serious cleaning if needed.

How to quickly refresh a baseball cap

Perk up a hat that’s looking a little dingy with these easy steps:

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Step 1: Fill a sink with water

Fill a clean sink or bucket with cool or warm water and add a couple drops of laundry detergent or about a tablespoon of stain remover powder.

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Step 2: Soak

Soak the hat in the water for about 15 minutes.

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Step 3: Rinse

Rinse the hat thoroughly with cool or warm water and gently pat dry with a towel.

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Step 4: Reshape and drip dry

Reshape the hat by placing the cap (the part that sits directly on your head) on top of an upside down coffee can, small bowl or other container that mimics the shape of your head. Leave the hat out to dry.



Cleaning tip:
Take extra care when cleaning wool baseball caps since the fabric is more delicate and prone to losing its shape. Using a mild detergent specifically designed for wool, dilute it in water and scrub gently. Reshape the hat either by wearing it until dry or placing it on something that mimics the shape of your head.
 

How to deep clean a baseball cap

For hats with especially tough stains and sweat marks, follow these steps:

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Step 1: Spot clean

Spot clean extra-dirty areas by using more detergent diluted in water and scrubbing them with a toothbrush or other small brush.

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Step 2: Soak

Soak the hat for a few hours and check the hat occasionally to see if any spots need more cleaning.

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Step 3: Rinse

Rinse the hat thoroughly with cool or warm water and gently pat dry with a towel.

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Step 4: Reshape and drip dry

Reshape the hat by placing the cap (the part that sits directly on your head) on top of an upside down coffee can, small bowl or other container that mimics the shape of your head. Leave the hat out to dry.

Explore Whirlpool® washers

Whether you're getting your child’s uniform ready for the big game or restoring a childhood baseball cap, a Whirlpool® top or front load washer can help you streamline the laundry process and keep your day moving.

Explore the full collection of washing machines by Whirlpool brand to find the washer that’s right for your home.

More laundry cleaning tips

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*Swash® and the recommending brands are owned and distributed by Whirlpool Corporation.