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How to Wash a Baseball Cap & Get Rid of Smells

Alyssa Mertes

Published: February 27th 2021

Do you wear your favorite baseball cap all the time? If so, your hat is probably all kinds of dirty and may even be full of sweat stains. Gross.

Unless your goal is to smell and look like you haven't showered in days, it's important to wash your baseball cap! Luckily, it's pretty easy to do, and all you need is some water, detergent, and little bit of time and patience.

How Do You Know if a Hat is Washable?

Always check the care tag to see if your hat is washable. Is the tag missing? Figure out what kind of fabric your hat is made from instead and follow the care instructions for that material.

The following fabrics are usually safe to wash:

Cotton

Cotton

Cotton
Polyester

Polyester

Denim
Twill

Twill

Canvas

Canvas

Jersey Mesh

Jersey Mesh

Before you wash your hat*, test to make sure it's colorfast by dampening a cloth and running it under the brim. Any change in color means it's best to avoid getting your hat wet!

*DISCLAIMER: Quality Logo Products® is not responsible for any damage caused by washing your baseball caps or hats. If you're at all unsure, contact the manufacturer directly for more information.

Did you know?

You shouldn't clean wool, leather, felt, or suede hats in the washer or dishwasher. These materials can easily lose their shape and unravel in the machine.

How to Wash a Baseball Cap

The best way to deep clean a baseball cap is to wash it by hand. This is fairly easy to do, and you only need about 30 minutes of your time!

Follow these steps to wash your baseball caps:

  • Step One: Mix ½ cup of cool water and a gentle dishwasher detergent in a bowl.
  • Step Two: Use a scrub brush, sponge, or toothbrush to spot clean the hat.
  • Step Three: If the hat is white, use a color-safe bleach to get rid of stubborn stains.
  • Step Four: Rinse the hat with cool water.
  • Step Five: Hang the hat so it can air dry.
Step 1
Detergent

Mix Detergent & Cool Water

Grab an old bowl and fill it with cool water and ½ cup of mild detergent. Are you fresh out of detergent? You can also use a gentle shampoo!

Step 2
Sponge

Scrub the Hat

Gently scrub at the dirt using a brush, sponge, or toothbrush. Be sure not to use too much elbow grease, or you could scratch your cap! You can also submerge the entire hat in the bowl for about 10 minutes if it's really dirty.

Step 3
Clorox

Use Color-Safe Bleach on White Hats

White hats can be more stubborn than others to clean. To get rid of stains, look for a bleach that's labelled as “color-safe” or “non-chlorine.” You should then scrub the hat again with the solution.

Step 4
sink

Rinse With Cool Water

Hot water is a big no-no when it comes to washing your baseball caps. Keep the water nice and cool instead.

Step 5
Clothesline

Air Dry

Your baseball cap should never go in the dryer! Hang it over a clothesline, on your shower rod, or better yet, on a hat stand and let it naturally air dry.

How Do You Remove Sweat Stains From a Hat?

Baking Soda

Athletes and fitness buffs know the struggle of having sweat stains in their baseball caps. The good news is you probably have everything you need to clean these right in your kitchen cabinet!

Do the following to remove sweat stains from your hat:


  1. 1) Mix 4 tbsps. of baking soda and ¼ cup of cool water.
  2. 2) Put on a pair of disposable gloves and apply the solution to the stained area with a toothbrush.
  3. 3) Allow the solution to sit for an hour.
  4. 4) Rinse with cool water.
  5. 5) Pat it dry with a towel.

Baking Soda

If the stain persists, try spraying it down with distilled white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide. The acidity will work as a natural cleaner and break down any buildup on your hat.

How Do You Get the Musty Smell Out of a Hat?

Lemons

Let's say you just ran a marathon wearing your baseball cap and now it smells extremely terrible! Do everyone a favor and make your hat smell fresh as a daisy once again by sprinkling baking soda on the inside, letting it sit for about 30 minutes, and then shaking it out.

Lemons

How Do You Get Mold Out of a Hat?

Man and child

Remove mold from your hat by mixing lemon juice, salt, and cool water in a bowl. Soak the hat in the water and then let it dry in the sun. The sun will naturally kill many different types of mold spores.

Man and child

Can Hats Go in the Washing Machine?

Washing Machine

Baseball caps are usually safe to clean in the washing machine. Double check the material that's used to make your hat, and when in doubt, consult the care tag for more information.

If your hat is machine washable, be sure to:

Washing Machine
Detergent

Pre-wash with a stain remover

Your washing machine can't do everything! Spot clean your baseball cap with a stain remover before you start the load.

Hat

Check the brim

Hats with a plastic brim can be safely cleaned in the machine. If the brim is made from cardboard, it's best to wash your hat by hand instead.

Washer

Wash on a delicate setting

Baseball caps usually contain some kind of elastic that can be damaged in the washing machine. Avoid this issue by rinsing on a delicate setting with cool water.

Pants

Keep separate from towels, jeans, and sweaters

Think of this laundry like the bullies on the playground. They're bulky, heavy, and will beat up your hat if they're together in the machine.

Hat

Throw it in a laundry bag

Be proactive and throw your cap in a mesh laundry bag before washing. After all, the last thing you want is for the hat to get tangled in the machine!

Hat

Invest in a hat holder

Are you concerned about your baseball cap losing its shape? You can solve this problem with a machine washable hat holder. Find one at retail stores like Bed Bath & Beyond, or online through Amazon.

Machine washing is recommended for your most worn and beaten hats. Structured or fitted hats like snapbacks, on the other hand, should be cleaned by hand as it's less damaging.

Can You Wash a Baseball Cap in the Dishwasher?

ishwasher

You can wash most baseball caps in the dishwasher. Just be sure to place the hat on the top rack, securing it with plastic clothespins. Run your dishwasher on a delicate or china wash cycle.

It's also important to use a gentle dishwashing soap that does not contain any bleach and isn't lemon scented. Either one could cause damage to your hat and make it lose its vibrant color.

Please note, there are sources that recommend avoiding the dishwasher altogether when it comes to cleaning your hat. However, if you're in a pinch, this method will work as long as you're careful about which cycle and detergent you use.

Dishwasher

What Happens If You Put a Hat in the Dryer?

Dryer

Your baseball cap should never go in the dryer. The high heat could damage the hat and make it lose its structure. Not to mention, your hat might shrink while in the dryer!

Dryer

How Do You Get Wrinkles Out of a Hat?

Pink hat

It might seem crazy, but you can get wrinkles out of your baseball cap by popping it on your head and then taking a hot shower. Keep in mind, this might also cause the hat to shrink a little, so proceed with caution.

Another option is to use a handheld steamer or hair dryer. Either way, make sure to keep the heat about 8 to 10 inches away. High temperatures are great for removing wrinkles, but they also may cause damage to your cap.

Pink hat

How to Clean a Hat That Says Do Not Wash

Red Hat

Some hats simply can't get wet. You can clean this type of hat by using a microfiber cloth, or even a handheld vacuum to get rid of any dirt or debris. It's also safe to use baking soda to hide smells and white vinegar to get rid of stains.

Red Hat

How Often Should You Wash a Hat?

Hat

It's really up to you as to how often you wash your baseball cap. If you want to avoid smells or stains, aim to clean it at least 2 to 3 times every season. Increase it to once a week if you wear your favorite hat all the time!

Hat

How to Wash Other Types of Hats

Of course, baseball caps are probably not the only type of hat that you have at home. You likely have even more headwear that needs washing!

Here's how to wash your other hats:

Beanie

Beanies

Brr…it's getting chilly outside! Keep your beanie hats nice and clean by washing them in the machine with cool water and a mild detergent. Hang them up to air dry afterward.

Sun hat

Sun Hats

Summer is the perfect time to wear a straw hat to the beach! Get rid of any sand by submerging the hat in water for 5 to 10 minutes. You can then let it dry while you're having fun in the sun!

Visors

Visors

The fastest way to clean a visor is by using a stain remover, but you can also wash them by hand with a mild detergent and cool water. Air dry at the end.

Felt hat

Wool or Felt Hats

Fashionable folks love to wear wool or felt hats for a date, or even out running errands. If that sounds like you, clean your hat by submerging it in soapy, cool water. Just like every other hat, air dry at the end to avoid damage.

Hat

Snapback Hats

You should never machine wash your snapback hats! It's much better to hand wash them instead using cool water and a mild dishwashing soap. Air dry at the end, securing the cap by the brim with clothespins.

The Bottom Line

You wouldn't go long without washing your t-shirts, socks, and underwear. Why should baseball caps and hats be any different? A good cleaning may just make yours look brand new!

Quality Logo Products are experts on all things printed and promotional. Let our team of awesome, incredibly good looking, and fun promo nerds help you select awesome promotional swag today!

4 random promtional products 4 random promotional products tablet
Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa is the Lead Copywriter at Quality Logo Products. As a promo expert, she's uncovered the world's first custom tote bag, interviewed the guy behind rock band ACDC's logo, and had a piece published by the Advertising Specialty Institute, a leader in the promotional products industry.

References

Yellow Pages. 3 Effective and Easy Ways to Wash Your Favorite Baseball Cap. Retrieved from, https://www.yellowpages.ca/tips/how-to-wash-a-baseball-cap/

Banner and Oak. (2020, February 7). How to Get Those Nasty Sweat Stains Out of Your Hats. Retrieved from, https://bannerandoak.com/blogs/news/how-to-get-those-nasty-sweat-stains-out-of-your-hats

Dropps. Don't Sweat It: How to Wash Baseball Hats. Retrieved from, https://www.dropps.com/blogs/spincycle/50607685-don-t-sweat-it-how-to-wash-baseball-hats

Leverette, M. (2019, November 7). Colorfast Fabric and How it Affects Your Laundry. Retrieved from, https://www.thespruce.com/is-this-shirt-colorfast-2145883

wikiHow. (2020, March 23). How to Clean Baseball Hats with a Dishwasher. Retrieved from, https://www.wikihow.com/Clean-Baseball-Hats-with-a-Dishwasher

Tenth Street. The Best Way to Wash a Baseball Cap. Retrieved from, https://blog.tenthstreethats.com/posts/best-way-to-wash-a-baseball-cap

Delusion MFG. (2020, January 21). Definitive Beginner's Guide to Washing Hats. Retrieved from, https://blog.delusionmfg.com/definitive-guide-of-washing-hats

Bell, M. (2020, April 20). How to Get Wrinkles Out of a Hat. Retrieved from, https://www.ehow.com/how_12117984_wrinkles-out-hat.html

Bullock, M. How to Get Creases Out of a Canvas Hat. Retrieved from, https://oureverydaylife.com/clean-dress-hat-20737.html

Singh, V. (2018, September 6). How to Fix a Wrinkled Baseball Cap: A Step by Step Guide. Retrieved from, https://thebaseballguide.com/fixing-wrinkled-baseball-cap/

Mold Blogger. (2008, September 29). How Do You Remove Mold From Hats? Retrieved from, https://moldblogger.com/how-do-you-remove-mold-from-hats/