We know. You ❤️ that hat.
It’s pretty obvious. 😬
It’s a great hat! No doubt. The best baseball caps are the ones that look broken in — flexible, discolored, maybe a little frayed around the bill. Soft and comfy. The perfect companion for a messy ponytail and a lazy Saturday on the lake. It fits so well, you may forget it’s even there when dozing off on your float.
But let’s be honest: broken in = you wear it a lot = dirty. Sweat, oils, stains, discoloration, all the kinda gross things you’d like to ignore about your favorite hat are there, lurking, making you wonder whether you should even attempt to clean it or just toss it in the trash.
For the love of Pete, DON’T DO THAT.
Cleaning a baseball cap may seem like a challenging task (Do I put it in the washer? The dishwasher? Help!) but it’s actually pretty easy. Here are a few tips to get your favorite cap clean and back where it belongs: with your ponytail.
No. 1: Study the label
Newer hats may have a tag that tells you exactly how to wash it. (Hooray!) But if you’ve had that cap since the eighth grade, the likelihood it has a tag is slim to none. (Boo.) If you have a tag, read it and carry on.
If it doesn’t have cleaning instructions, look for a description of the fiber construction of the hat. You’ll clean the hat differently if it’s made of cotton than if it’s made of wool. So note that before moving forward. No tag means you need to take your best guess. If you think (or know) it’s wool, skip to step 5.
No. 2: Spot clean
Just like stains on your clothing, you should use a similar method for cotton, mesh or man-made fiber hats. Spray products like Shout, Spray ‘n’ Wash or OxiClean are worth a try. Spray on stained areas, using a soft brush (like a toothbrush) to gently the solution into the cap. Follow the instructions on the bottle for the amount of time you should wait before washing. This resource even suggests using shampoo to pretreat sweat stains, and his results were great.
If the hat needs serious help, you can also soak in an oxygen-based powder solution like OxyClean or Borax. According to instructions, mix the powder with warm water, submerge the hat and then allow to sit for up to four hours, or overnight.
No. 3: Wash
There are a couple of schools of thought about whether you should put your cap in the washing machine or hand wash. Most believe it’s safe to put caps in the washer on the delicate cycle with cold water, using a basic laundry detergent. If you really ❤️ that cap, though, and don’t want to take the risk, handwashing is always an option. Put it in a bucket or sink full of lukewarm water with a tablespoon of laundry detergent and gently cleaning trouble spots with your brush to get rid of stains.
Important note: When spot cleaning or washing, steer clear of any detergents or sprays that contain bleach. That’s a major no-no!
No. 4: Do not put that hat in the dryer
Air drying is best, friends. Yes, it takes a while, but you don’t want the damage. Prop up the hat on a container so that it can keep its shape. Nobody loves a crumply hat.
No. 5: What if it’s wool?
Then you definitely need to hand wash, using cool water a detergent suitable for wool, like Woolite. Follow the instructions in step 3 and 4 for this procedure.
Happy favorite (and clean) hat wearing!