How To Clean Hats Without Ruining Them

There is nothing worse than when your favorite hat starts taking a beating. It’s a double-whammy because you don’t want to risk ruining it by washing it. However, the oil build-up is equally bad—no need to fret because you can wash your hat safely without destroying it. 

There are many different ways to approach this. Different materials shouldn’t be treated the same. A Fedora is going to be different than cleaning your baseball cap. Understanding the material is the first step when you want to know how to clean different types of hats.

    How To Clean Hats Without Ruining Them

    Determine Your Hat

    Before considering how you will clean your first you need to know what material your hat is made of. Some hats will shrink if you throw them in the washer while others simply should never go in a machine. Here are the most common hat materials you will come across. 

    • Straw

    Straw hats that are woven together can never be put in any sort of machine. As one of the most delicate materials, it can only be hand-treated very carefully. 

    • Cotton

    Cotton is one of the best materials to work with when it comes to washing. It’s durable and regardless of whether it is a beanie or a baseball hat, it can go in the washer. Hats that have shape still need protection in washers. 

    • Wool

    Wool is usually hand-knit and will need protection when it goes into the wash. Wool beanies can lose their shape or come unwoven if the cycles are too rough. Cleaning your hat by hand is always the best, but it can go in the wash with the right protection. 

    • Synthetic Materials

    You’ll find synthetic materials are common for baseball hats or mesh trucker hats. These can go through the wash when the water is set to cold because hot water can melt synthetic materials easily. 

    Aside from the materials, you must understand the different types of hats. Learning how to clean a baseball cap with cardboard is much different than a winter beanie. 

    How To Clean Hats Without Ruining Them

    How Can I Clean My Hat Without Damaging The Shape?

    Throwing the hat right in the washer is the easiest way to damage your hat. When you throw the hat in, it’s easy for the hat to deform and lose its shape while tumbling around. There are several ways to clean your hat; we don’t have to remove the washer altogether. Many wonder what is the best hat cleaning kit, but in reality, many common household items can get the job done.

    Here are a few different ways to do so. 

    Using the Washing Machine

    Cleaning your hats in the washing machine is not entirely out of the question. You just have to proceed with caution. 

    What You’ll Need:

    • Pre-treatment
    • Hat frame  (Hat form)

    First, you need to check the label to see if there are any instructions already in place for the hat. Make sure that you change any washing settings to delicate and cold settings. Warm or hot water can either melt the materials or shrink the hat. 

    Take your pre-treatment and spot-treat areas that get the most abuse. The inner lining of the cap where your forehead meets it is definitely an area to be treated. If you are using a detergent, scrub the area gently if it is a durable material. If it is more fragile, simply leave it on. 

    Place that around or inside the frame, depending on the one you have. Place with other clothes to pad the hat form from jumping around too much and ruining the shape. The laundry setting should always be gentle. 

    If you have a hat without shape, some washers today have separate trays and areas for delicates like bras and underwear. You can use this as well for hats like beanies. This method is one of the better ways on how to clean hats from sweat. 

    How To Clean Hats Without Ruining Them

    Spot Cleaning

    Spot cleaning and hand washing your hats is the absolute safest way to treat them. This gets rid of the risk of shrinking them or losing their shape. There are several mixes you can make from this. 

    How To Clean Hats Without Ruining Them

    How To Clean Hats With Baking Soda

    Hats wick moisture, which is why you may see gross sweat stains around the rim or scalp. They aren’t easy to get out because they also have oil components to it. Baking soda can be a great way to get the job done with ingredients right out of your pantry. 

    How To:

    1. Mix together four tablespoons of baking soda with ¼ cup of water. It should be a relatively thick paste but easy to lather on. 
    2. Take a toothbrush and lather it onto the stain. Scrub in circular motions carefully. Too much pressure can break down the fabric. 
    3. Spray the stain with white vinegar and rinse with cold water to get the stain out. 
    4. Let your cap air dry. 
    How To Clean Hats Without Ruining Them

    How To Clean Hats With Borax

    Borax is a white powder substance known as sodium borate. It’s great for getting sticky stains out of things; this method works wonders on our caps. 

    How To:

    1. Using a clean sink, plug the drain and fill it with warm water. Most recommend hot water but depending on your hat materials; it is better to go with warm water. 
    2. Add one tablespoon of Borax, one tablespoon of powdered laundry detergent, and one tablespoon of Arm and Hammer Washing Soda. 
    3. Put your hat, or hats, into the water and move around to lather the suds. Let the hats sit for 20 minutes. If the hats are incredibly dirty, you can leave them longer. 
    4. Drain the sink and rinse the hats in cold water, so they don’t shrink. Let them air dry afterward. 
    How To Clean Hats Without Ruining Them

    The Dishwasher

    In case you were wondering how to clean hats in the dishwasher. This is the way to do it! It may seem like a weird concept because clothes are meant to go in the washing machine. However, the dishwasher provides stability that many washing machines don’t by offering racks. Treating your hat as fragile as your dishes is a great way to preserve it. 

    How To:

    1. Clear your dishwasher of any dishes and make sure the inside is clean. Anytime right after a cycle is fine. 
    2. Choose a regular dishwashing detergent that does not contain bleach. This will permanently ruin your hats. 
    3. You can pretreat any specific areas that have significant stains by leaving laundry detergent on those areas. 
    4. Place your inside the hat form to protect its shape. Then use clothes pins to secure it to the racks. 
    5. Choose the appropriate settings for your dishwasher. The water should be warm, not hot. You also need to turn off the heated dry cycle. This will damage the hat. 
    6. Let your hat air dry! 
    How To Clean Hats Without Ruining Them

      Frequently Asked Questions

      Cleaning a cap is not a difficult process once you start doing it. But there are some questions here and there that can make you think twice about proceeding. Here are the most frequently asked questions regarding cleaning hats. 

      How Do You Deep Clean a Dirty Hat?

      The best solution for a hat with a lot of dirt, oil, and sweat is to pre-treat it by hand and let it soak. First, use this method with the Arm and Hammer Washing Soap ingredients. Afterward, it is still worth putting in a hat form and washing it through the dishwasher. Combining these two methods is the best way to go. 

      What is Hat Cleaner Spray?

      There are different hat cleaner sprays on the market that serve different purposes. Some are just odor sprays if your hat starts to smell like sweat. Others are sprays that are used as a spot treatment. You can get white vinegar in spray bottles to treat certain areas that are hard to clean up. 

      How to Clean a Hat Yourself?

      The methods listed above are the perfect way to clean your own hat. While you can send it to a store, it can cost a lot of money. The process is not difficult once you start trying it out. But we love our hats; the thought of ruining them can keep us from trying. 

      Practice Makes Perfect

      If you are nervous about ruining the hat yourself, you can always pick up a hat that doesn’t cost much and try the methods out. Each of them works well, but this is always the way to go if you can treat a hat by hand before using a machine. 

      It’s also always better if you use home products that don’t have harsh chemicals. Sometimes detergents can have bleach in them, and before you know it, your hat is discolored. Proceed with the most caution to protect the shape of that hat.