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How to Wash a Baseball Cap: A Detailed Practical Guide

How to Wash a Baseball Cap: A Detailed Practical Guide

how to clean a hat with baking soda

Baseball caps are one of the basic fashion accessories of today’s millennial parents and Gen Xers – then again, no matter how fashionable they may seem, they can get dirty quickly. Learning how to wash a baseball cap will make removing any dirt, sweat, makeup stains, or hair products that gradually build up on your baseball cap seem effortless.

Most people honestly believe that when a task involves washing, all that is required is to dip the cap into soapy water and scrub it with your hand until the stain comes off. In reality, though, washing a baseball cap is not as easy as it may seem. You will need to consider the production fabric used, the washing technique, and the type of detergent that works for the fabric.

A baseball hat can easily damage with cleaning supplies that contain bleach or when washed in a dishwasher. Luckily, this guide on how to properly wash a baseball cap will help you keep its shape and avoid ruining it.

How to Wash a Baseball Cap by Hand

washing baseball caps by hand

Hand-washing may feel more like a DIY route because it takes effort and can be time-tasking. Then again, it is the best way to keep your vintage, embellished, and structured caps clean. Another advantage of this laundry method is that it is straightforward and offers deep-cleaning effects for tough stains that just won’t go off. To hand-wash a sports hat, here is what you should do.

What You Will Need

The right cleaning supplies you should get include:

  • A laundry detergent (liquid or powdered)
  • Water
  • A large washing basin (optional)

The Process

Once you gather your supplies, follow these steps to get your caps looking like new again.  

Choose a Washing Station

a use a basin as a washing station to wash baseball caps

The best part of hand laundering is that it allows flexibility. You can wash anywhere and in any container, so long as you have the necessary supplies and the item that should be washed. A good washing station may be a utility sink, bathroom sink, bucket, basin, bowl, or bathtub. Still, for best results, get a large basin with enough room to move your hands.

Fill the Basin with Water

b fill water in the basin to hand wash baseball hat

After getting a place to hand-wash the hat, fill it with cool or lukewarm water. Don’t use warm or hot water – it can damage the hat’s fabric. Ensure the basin is only 2/3 filled so you don’t slosh water everywhere while you wash.

Add Detergent

c add detergent to hand wash a baseball hat

Most detergents contain bleaches, but there really isn’t any specialty detergent for hand-laundering a ballcap. Powdered or liquid detergents are both effective, but the liquid ones work better because they dissolve easier and faster than powdered soap in lukewarm water.  

When it involves adding detergent to the water, another tip to consider is to pour it in small quantities. Too much soap means the water will foam excessively, making it difficult to rinse the cap. Besides this, laundering detergents can cause skin irritation, so you need to be careful when adding them to the water.

Soak the Hat

d soak the hat to hand wash

Before soaking the hat, gently agitate the water to create suds. Then, get the dirty sports cap and submerge it in soapy water. Don’t start hand-scrubbing immediately. How long you leave the material in the water determines how easy and fast it will be to get the dirt out.

So, for light stains, leave the hat in the water to soak for five to ten minutes so that the soapy water penetrates deep into the material. This makes dislodging the dirt easier.

For tough stains, we recommend soaking the hat overnight so the dirt can easily come off.

Rinse Thoroughly

e rinse the cap with clean water
Source: “Yoútube Youtúberson” vía YouTube

Once you see that the stain is out, drain the dirty soap water. Pour some clean water into the basin, rinse and squeeze the hat to remove soap and foam residues. When you use too much detergent, the foam won’t easily come off. So, drain the water again, pour a clean one, and re-rinse.

The most important thing to remember when doing this is to squeeze the hat gently, especially around its panels or any bendy material that gives it its shape. You don’t want to ruin its appearance.

Reshape It and Air Dry

f air dry baseball cap

Squeezing the hat won’t completely remove the water from the fabric. So, once you rinse, squeeze and get a good amount of water out of the fabric, leave your caps to air dry.

How to Wash a Baseball Cap in Washing Machine

wash baseball cap with washing machine

Another stress-free method to clean a baseball cap is using a washing machine.

Still, the most important tip on how to wash a baseball cap without ruining it in a washing machine you should consider is to check if the fabric allows machine washing. Most fabrics used for caps are not supposed to be machine-washed. Without taking proper precautions, they risk damage.

If you intend to use this method, only do so for your dirty sports hat worn during sweaty activities like exercises.

Supplies You Will Need

  • Laundry detergent
  • Hand Towel
  • Stain remover

The Process

Apply Stain Remover Treatments

a apply oxiclean tough stains on baseball cap

Baseball caps are one of those regular fashion accessories most people can’t do without. At the same time, they are one of those garbs people rarely wash frequently – and because people seldom wash them, they often retain heavy stains that may need stain remover products to remove dirt.

Before putting them in the washing machine, apply some stain remover on the heavily soiled spot and let it sink into the fabric for five minutes.

Avoid Mixing Them with Bulky Items

b wash baseball caps alone
Source: “Dimo Petkov” vía YouTube 

A ballcap can crush under the weight of bulky items like jeans, towels, and sweatshirts. When laundering with the machine, only mix light items like socks, underwear, and soft linens, so the weight does not affect the cap.

Set the Dial to the Delicate Mode

c set machine to delicate cycle

Since you aren’t washing the hat alone in the machine, make sure to set the machine at a slow pace (the delicate cycle) to avoid shrinking and ruining the shape of the cap.

Rinse, Reshape, and Air-Dry

d air dry the cap

The best trick on how to wash a baseball cap without shrinking it you can pull is to always reshape it after rinsing it. Then, air-dry it. Skip drying with the machine to avoid ruining the fabric.   

How to Clean a Baseball Cap with OxiClean

clean baseball cap with oxiclean

One of the things most people fear when washing their clothes is bleaching. Still, if you notice tough stains on your hat, bleach-free stain removers like OxiClean make it easy to remove these stains.  

Another advantage of OxiClean is that it is color safe. So, unlike most stain removers with chlorine as the key ingredient, OxiClean won’t make your fabrics fade. Then again, be careful when using this stain remover on hats made from wool since OxiClean may damage them.

The best way to use OxiClean to eliminate dirt on caps is to use the spot-cleaning technique. To do this,

  • Dissolve one scoop of OxiClean powder in some water and apply it generously on the soiled area.
  • Let it soak deep into the fabric for between five to ten minutes.
  • Wash, rinse, and let it air dry.


Below you will find answers to some common questions about how to wash a baseball cap without losing its shape.

Should I Color-Test the Hat Before Washing it?

Testing the fabric helps you avoid damage to your ballcap. So, before cleaning, make sure to color-test the fabric. Use a small amount of stain remover or laundry detergent on a hidden part of the cap. If the color changes, you may risk damaging it if you continue with the cleaning products.

How to Wash a Baseball Hat in a Dishwasher?

We strongly advise you against using a dishwasher for this purpose as it is extremely likely to damage the hat when on high heat.  What’s more, dish detergents contain bleach that may fade color, so you want to avoid them as much as possible. Thus, you can only wash a ballcap in a dishwasher if it is turned off and you are simply using it as a washing basin.

Should You Wash Baseball Cap in Washing Machine?

Washing machines may ruin the shape of your hat due to the pressure and friction caused by the washer’s agitation. So, to avoid ruining the hat, use the gentle cycle settings to keep your hat in good shape.

When Should I Spot Clean a Baseball Cap?

Spot cleaning works best for tough stains. Also, spot-clean vintage hats that are made with cardboard rims, suede, wool, or leather.


Washing a baseball cap is tricky when you consider the fabric and how quickly it can fade with the wrong laundry detergents and technique. The simple trick to keep the color from bleaching is to color-test the material, while the best way to clean the cap without losing its shape is to hand-wash it. Besides this, a washing machine also may work effectively for laundering a ballcap. Hopefully, our easy-to-follow methods on how to wash a baseball cap will help you make quick work of cleaning your hat.

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