How to Clean Your Baseball Cap

Whether you wear a baseball cap for work or play, it will need some occasional upkeep. But before you start, read the hat’s interior fiber content tag that should include the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions. Unfortunately, caps made before 1983 didn’t require a hat to be labeled, so you may need to do some research to confirm the care information. If you wear your hat frequently, a thorough cleaning every few months can keep it looking fresh.

How to Wash New Cotton or Polyester Baseball Caps

Detergent Heavy-duty detergent
Water Temperature Cold
Cycle Type Delicate
Dryer Cycle Type Do not use dryer
Special Treatments Pre-treat stains
Iron Settings Do not iron

Recently manufactured baseball caps are typically made of cotton twill, cotton-polyester blends, or jersey mesh. These fabrics are strong, durable, and usually colorfast. New caps use a plastic form (as opposed to cardboard) to shape the brim, and they can be washed in a washing machine without becoming deformed.

How To Clean Your Baseball Hat


  • Heavy-duty detergent
  • Oxygen-based bleach
  • White cloth
  • Hat form (optional)


  • Washing machine
  • Soft-bristled brush


  1. Pretreat Stains

    For new cotton, polyester, or mesh hats, pretreat exceptionally dirty areas such as sweatbands with a solvent-based spray or gel stain remover. You can also use a dab of heavy-duty laundry detergent such as Persil or Tide. These two detergents have a high concentration of enzymes to break apart body soil and oil molecules.

    Work the stain remover or detergent into the soiled areas using a soft-bristled brush and allow it to rest for at least 15 minutes before washing. This pretreatment helps to remove the body oils that come along with perspiration.

  2. Pre-Soak to Brighten Colors

    If the cap looks dull and you want to whiten it or brighten the colors, mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach and warm water following package directions. Completely submerge the cap and allow it to soak for at least four hours or overnight.

    Skip the Chlorine Bleach

    Do not use chlorine bleach—even when treating a white hat. It can damage polyester fibers.

  3. Wash

    Remove your hat from the soaking solution, and add it to a load of similarly colored clothing. Wash using heavy-duty detergent on the delicate cycle and select cool water. If you’re concerned about protecting the shape of the cap, you can use a hat form to protect it in the wash.

    Don’t Fall for the Dishwasher Hack

    Do not wash your cap in the dishwasher—the detergents are harsh and often contain bleach that can ruin the fabric. Additionally, the high-heat drying temperatures may cause the fabric to shrink.

  4. Dry

Allow the cap to dry in the washing form or over a large coffee can or another head-shaped container or form. Do not put baseball caps in the dryer because the heat and tumbling action can distort the hat’s shape.

Cleaning Hats With Paper or Cardboard Brims

If the cap has a cardboard or paper-stiffened bill, spot-cleaning is the only method that won’t damage the hat. Use a soft-bristled brush and lightly scrub the stained areas with a heavy-duty detergent and water mixture. Use one teaspoon of detergent per cup of warm water, and use sparingly as you scrub to avoid getting the brim of the hat too wet. Blot with a clean white cloth dipped in water to rinse and allow the cap to air-dry. You may need to repeat the steps several times to remove all of the soil.   

Need more information?  Check out The Spruce.

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