How to Wash a Baseball Cap

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa Mertes

Promo Expert

There are several tips and tricks that go into the care and keeping of baseball hats. You may have noticed stains or dirt marks on your most beloved cap and wondered: what's the best way to wash a baseball cap, while maintaining its orginal shape and color? The answer waits for you in the article below!

Want to hear something crazy? According to recent statistics, more than 43 million baseball caps are sold in the United States each year. Recent stats also list the U.S. population as being well over 321 million. Put those two together, and you realize that every year, enough baseball hats are sold to cover the heads of over 13% of the U.S. population.

Let this sink into your (possibly covered) head.

It might be hard to imagine replacing your favorite baseball cap. Once you’ve found your one true hat love, it’s impossible to think about ever having to find another one. However, with improper care, you might end up on the hunt for a new hat earlier than expected.

So how should you wash your favorite cap to keep it lasting a long time?

New Cotton and Cotton Blend Caps

If your cap was made after 1990, chances are it’s made with cotton. This material is usually listed as 100% cotton, cotton twill, jersey, or a cotton-polyester blend. Always check the label to be certain of the material used to create your favorite hat. Although handwashing is the most delicate approach, newer hats can do well with machine washing – and believe it or not, there are a few different machine-washing methods to choose from.

No matter which machine-washing technique you go for, feel free to use a stain remover on the parts of your cap that need some extra attention. A little cleaning can go a long way!

Toss it into the washing machine!
Seriously, it’s what the appliance is there for, right? However, we’d like to recommend this only if you have a front-loading/high efficiency washer; a top-loading washer with an agitator in the middle of the tub might cause too much damage.

Toss your cap into a gentle cycle with similarly colored items, and don’t throw it into the dryer when it’s done (more on that later). Be sure to use cold water and avoid using bleach!

Throw it into the dishwasher!
Yes, you read that correctly – you can wash your baseball hats in the dishwasher with your usual dishwashing detergent. Many people don’t choose this method because they can’t use cold water this way. The solution: run your dishwasher on the coolest temperature setting possible, and be sure not to set it to "dry."

Other dishwasher cap-washing tips: place your hats on the top rack around the upright pegs, which will help them retain their shape. Secure each hat by attaching its adjustable strap to a peg with a clothespin. Wash multiple hats at once to avoid wasting water. And please don’t do a load of dishes in there at the same time – that’s just weird, not to mention unhygienic.

For Older, Vintage Caps (Especially Caps Made of Wool)

Apply a stain remover or pre-treatment product to any particularly nasty stains on your cap.

Fill a clean bucket or sink basin with cool to cold water and add the recommended dose of detergent. For a wool cap, use a detergent specially designed for wool and other delicates.

Drop your hat in the bucket and slosh it around a little to soak it thoroughly.

Allow it to rest in the bucket for at least an hour. We all know how funky those well-loved caps can get.

Gently scrub any parts of the cap that need some love. You can use a soft-bristled brush, a clean cloth, or even just your palms in a pinch.

Rinse the cap under cool running water until the water runs clear.

A Few Words on Drying Your Cap

No matter what material your favorite cap is made from, you will never find a source that suggests putting it into the clothes dryer. We’re willing to swear to this. Why? Because hot air will shrink your hat and leave it looking like an item that one of your child’s dolls can wear. Your kid will be thrilled, but you...probably not so much.

Air It Out!

Air drying is the way to go to make sure your hat remains the right size; speed the process along by patting your cap free of excess water with a towel. You can clip your cap to a clothes hanger with clothespins if it’s a newer cap, but if you want your cap to keep its shape (and this is especially important with wool), we suggest fitting it over another object to dry. You can use items around-the-house to dry baseball caps, like:

  • Large coffee canisters
  • Inflated balloons
  • Balled-up towels
  • Rubber sports balls (clean ones, of course, if you don’t want to redo all that work)
  • Melons (because there’s nothing creepy at all about walking into the kitchen and seeing a cantaloupe wearing your favorite hat)

With a bit of effort (and maybe some tropical fruit), you'll keep your favorite baseball cap in tip-top shape for years to come. Newer caps made from cotton can stand up to careful machine washing, while older caps are best washed by hand with cool water. And air-drying is always best! Follow these tips, and the only reason you’ll need to be one of the millions of people buying a new cap each year is if you see one you like... maybe somewhere like the Quality Logo Products website!