How To Wash a Baseball Cap and Keep Its Shape

How To Wash a Baseball Cap and Keep Its Shape

Is there any feeling quite as devastating as finally washing a beloved garment only to accidentally destroy it? If you are a baseball hat lover, this is probably one of your biggest fears. 

Baseball caps are some of the most underrated types of hats out there. Whether you are representing a beloved sports team, rocking a cool pattern, or just donning a solid shade, baseball caps always manage to pull together great outfits. 

There is a risk with baseball caps, however. The shape is fragile, and when you run it through the washing machine, dryer, or even on the top rack of the dishwasher, you run the risk of destroying the hat and permanently altering the shape of the bill. 

Of course, you can’t just avoid washing hats. Like any other article of clothing, your cap will eventually collect dirt and grime and need a deep clean eventually. Thankfully, we have some helpful advice to avoid damaging your baseball caps when you next wash them. 

Read on to check out our favorite methods of washing baseball caps, and keep your hat’s shape intact during its next wash! 

Washing Machines: Proceed With Caution

Washing machines or dishwashers can be a more effortless, convenient way to go about cleaning your baseball caps, but beware; you run a much higher risk of damaging your hat or ruining its shape when you run it through a machine — even on a gentle cycle.

Machines can be powerful, so proceed with caution when using them to clean baseball caps. The washing machine cycle is especially risky for your cap. It runs in spin-based wash cycles, so your cap will tumble around in circles while spraying cold or warm water on it. It will effectively clean your cap, but the washer cycle can be very harsh against the lightweight hat, and will very likely warp the shape and damage and reshape the bill, weighing it down with excess water.

Aside from the damage your washing machine might impose on your beloved hat, you also waste more water when you take the machine-clean route. You would have no choice but to wash your hat, or multiple hats, on their own cycle, since doing a full load of laundry along with baseball caps will almost certainly lead to damage. It would be a massive waste of water to do an entire cycle on just one or two hats. 

Sometimes, however, hot water and mild detergent in the washing machine might be your only reliable source to wash your hats. If that is the case, we highly recommend investing in a cap buddy cage, to keep your hat secure during the washing process. Make sure to wash the cap using cold water, and then air dry it after the fact. If you follow those instructions, you are much less likely to bend or damage your hat. 

Hand Wash in the Sink 

If your baseball cap is in need of a full makeover, the best cleaning method is to hand wash it in a clean sink or in a basin. When you wash garments by hand, it is inherently lighter and easier on the article of clothing, and you will be able to ensure any target spots are addressed while doing the cleaning. 

You also save water and energy when you choose to hand wash instead of machine wash. It can take excessive amounts of energy and water to run those machines for only one or two articles of clothing, and that is heavily reduced when you instead do it by hand. 

Hand washing your cap is extremely simple and effective and will keep your hat’s shape as flawless as it was the first day you bought it. Follow the steps in the next paragraphs to successfully clean your cap by hand. 

The Handwashing Process

Firstly, make sure your sink is clean, and then put a plug in or grab a clean basin. Then you will fill your sink or basin with cool water and then proceed to drop two or three droplets of mild laundry detergent or dishwashing detergent into the water. Mix the water and detergent around until suds start to form.

After you produce that cool, soapy water you can submerge your baseball cap into the sink or basin. Make sure the hat is completely covered by the sudsy water and then let it sit there for about five to 10 minutes. 

Once those five to 10 minutes are up, remove the hat from the water, and drain your sink or basin. Then, rinse your cap with cool water until you have gotten all of the cleaning solution out. 

Finally, once your hat is damp and detergent-free, simply leave it out in a clean, safe space to air dry, and voilá! You now have a clean hat with no shape damage! 

Hand washing is simple, only takes about 15 minutes of your time, is more sustainable, and keeps your cap’s shape perfectly. It is an easy and harmless method of cleaning that will make your hat look as good as new in no time. 

Spot Cleaning

Sometimes our hats do not necessarily require a full-on cleansing, but perhaps need some sprucing up in specific spots. When you notice unwanted stains and spots on your baseball caps, you can try spot-cleaning them so that you can pay close attention to the specific areas that need to be cleaned, and save some water in the process. 

To get out those pesky little stains on your cap, all you will need to do is concoct a DIY stain remover and rub it in on the spots until the mess is gone. 

To create this mixture, all you will need is water, baking soda, and vinegar. For a gentler solution, take equal parts of water and baking soda (we recommend a tablespoon each) and combine them until they form a paste. If you find your stain needs a little extra strength, add a teaspoon of vinegar to the solution. 

Once you have created your cleaning paste, gently apply it to the unwanted spots on your hat. Then, take a small brush (an unused toothbrush works well for this) or a small cleaning rag and gently scrub the solution in circular motions. 

When you have scrubbed your stains sufficiently, leave the solution on and let your hat sit for about 15 minutes. Then, check the spots and scrub further if it is necessary; otherwise, you will rinse the areas of the hat that have the solution on it thoroughly until it has all come off. 

Then, much like with the hand washing routine, you will leave the cap out to air dry. This method is great for targeting spots that you want going, without having to soak the entire hat in the water. The shape will remain perfect, and all your stains will be removed very quickly. 

Extra Tips

Hand washing, spot cleaning, and cautious washing machine use are the best methods of cleaning your cap without damaging the structure or shape. There are, however, some extra little tips and tricks you should keep in mind while cleaning your baseball caps to ensure that you keep them in pristine condition. 

Stain Stick

If you plan on giving your hat(s) a complete cleanse, consider utilizing a stain stick pen to target specific stained areas to ensure that they are removed completely. Of course, you can do spot cleansing prior to your full hand wash, but stain sticks are convenient and save a lot of time, and are just as effective. 

Just apply the stain stick to the rougher areas that need some extra attention and let it sit for a while before washing, so that the solution from the stain stick can soak in and break down the dirt and grime buildup that has accumulated. 

Then, if you are hand washing your hat, rinse off the areas with the stain stick before submerging it in the sink or basin, and then proceed to clean it as normal. You will find that all those stains are gone and your cap will look brand new!

Pay Attention to Sweat Stains

If you are a regular hat wearer, it is no secret that our heads produce a fair amount of sweat on any given day. Pay extra attention to the areas where sweat tends to build up in your hat. If you do not get ahead of it, you might inadvertently leave a sweat line stain along the interior and exterior of the hat, which can be difficult to remove. 

If you notice any sweat stains beginning to form, that is a good sign to wash your cap ASAP. We recommend scrubbing the more sweat-prone areas extra to ensure you thoroughly remove any trace of a stain. 

Be Careful With Vintage

Vintage baseball caps are extremely cool and stylish, but washing them can be risky since the bills are often made out of cardboard, which will become soggy and lose shape if it gets too wet. 

To avoid damaging vintage baseball caps, we just recommend that you carefully spot-clean it using your DIY solution, and gently rinse them off, trying to avoid soaking the bill of the hat. Just be cautious while cleaning and you will maintain your vintage hat’s shape. 

Fresh and Clean Caps

Cleaning your ball cap has never been easier! We know the heartbreaking feeling of damaging your hat’s shape, but now that won’t be an issue. 

Follow any of the above methods for cleaning your baseball cap, and keep it clean and intact with ease!


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