The Best Way to Clean a Baseball Cap

Posted by Printed Kicks Team on

The Best Way to Clean a Baseball Cap

When you invest in a quality baseball cap, you want it to maintain its appeal throughout its lifetime. If you like wearing baseball caps, you’ve likely washed your fair share over the years. But in doing so, there’s a good chance that you’ve had to stop wearing or even throw away more hats than you care to remember.

If you’re ready to invest in a new baseball cap, you’d probably like to know the best way to keep it clean. The last thing you want is for your new hat to lose its luster. So today, we’re sharing the correct (and safest) way to keep your caps looking their very best.

In this guide, the Printed Kicks staff discusses the dos and don’ts of cap cleaning so you can look forward to your hat collection standing the test of time.

Cap Cleaning 101

In researching various hat cleaning “hacks,” you’ve likely come across all sorts of DIY tips and tricks. But the truth is, you’re better off avoiding these methods altogether. Why? Let’s take a look.

Don’t Use Laundry Machines.

Both the washer and dryer can actually do more harm than good. This is because a washing machine can quickly cause your favorite baseball cap to lose its form. What’s more, dryers are way too hot, resulting in even more shape issues.

Don’t Use the Dishwasher.

This is a common “hack” that’s made its way around the corners of the internet. The idea is that you can toss your cap on the top rack to give it a detailed cleaning. It will clean it, sure. But it will also ruin your cap’s colors, warp its shape, and cause permanent damage. 

Dishwashers get too hot and often use bleach in their cleaning cycle. As such, you should avoid testing this trick at all costs.

Don’t Use Bleach.

As we just mentioned, bleach is bad news for caps. You want your baseball cap to maintain its vibrant colors for as long as possible. One of the quickest and easiest ways to ruin a hat is to use bleach. This chemical will result in instant fading, thereby destroying those beautiful colors.

Do Hand Wash Your Caps.

The absolute safest and most effective way to get your baseball cap clean and keep its colors looking fresh is to wash it by hand. Not only that, but it will ensure that your cap retains its shape, which a must for a cap’s longevity.

But what is the best way to go about hand washing your baseball cap? We’ve got you covered. Join us as we share the best hand-washing tips and methods for keeping your hats looking their best.

How to Hand Wash Your Baseball Cap

In just a few short steps, you can enjoy stellar results in your favorite baseball caps. Whether you’re cleaning a brand new cap or an older one, these next sections will teach you the ropes.

Step 1

Start by filling a clean bucket or sink with warm water. For best results, always lean more toward cool than hot.

Step 2

While the water is being filled, add one tablespoon of laundry detergent. You may also use OxiClean if you prefer. If you have neither handy and really need to clean your cap, you can use dish soap in a pinch. For best results, however, stick with a detergent or OxiClean.

Step 3

Before washing, you’ll want to spot-clean as needed. To do this, you can safely apply your cleaning solution directly to your cap’s surface. This may be necessary for areas that are especially dirty. 

Dip your cap in your sink or bucket and use an old toothbrush to gently rub the cleaning solution into the cap’s fabric. If you have a problem with sweat stains, you can use shampoo for excellent results.

Remember to maintain gentle scrubbing, especially around the stitching. Scrubbing too vigorously can cause the threads to come loose, thus ruining your cap’s appeal and appearance.

Step 4

When you’re finished scrubbing your cap with the toothbrush, allow it to soak for anywhere between 30 minutes and two hours. The dirtier your cap is, the longer you should let it soak. When you’re about midway through the soaking session, pull out your cap to see how the stains look. 

A wet cap will hide some of the stains, but you will still be able to tell if they’re improving. Using your toothbrush, spot wash any areas that are persistent.

Step 5

When you are satisfied with the soaking results, remove your cap and rinse it thoroughly. The goal here is to remove any and all soap. You may use warm water to do this. When finished, it’s time to let your baseball cap dry.

Step 6

Use a towel and pat down any excess moisture. Your cap is going to be very wet at this juncture, so when you take it out of the water, let as much excess drip out. Follow this up by patting the cap dry with your towel.

Be careful to ensure that you retain the original shape of your cap while drying, and use extra caution around any logos. The idea here is to remove as much water as possible so that your hat can air-dry the rest of the way.

Step 7

For best results, make sure that your cap air-dries while retaining its shape. To do this, you need to make sure that your cap has something inside. A mannequin’s head would be the best idea, but it’s understandable if you don’t have one lying around the house.

Try balling up a towel and stuffing it in the cap. You can also try resting it on a large coffee can. Basically, anything that keeps your cap full and open. You’ll also want to place a towel or two under your cap as it dries, as this will help prevent a mess later.

If you need your baseball cap in a hurry, you can expedite things by using a hairdryer on its lowest heat setting.

Cleaning a Wool Hat

As you are already likely aware, wool hats require a gentler approach compared to a cotton or mesh cap. As such, you should use a cleaning solution that is made for wool. When scrubbing, you want to make sure that you are especially gentle.

Scrubbing your wool cap too vigorously will result in the material getting ruined. Too much pressure can quickly lead to the wool becoming felt-like in touch and appearance. It’s easier to do than you might think, so always use extra caution during this portion of the cleaning process. 

When it comes to drying wool, you need to give it a bit more attention. Wool can quickly lose its shape if you allow it to air-dry on its own. Instead, try patting it dry as best you can and then wear it until it’s dry. This will ensure that your wool cap keeps its shape as it dries.

You should also avoid direct sunlight and never use a hairdryer. For best results, you should air-dry only. Your wool cap will take longer to dry on its own, but you can look forward to it maintaining its appeal.

Cleaning Older Caps

If you are the proud owner of a baseball cap that’s more than 20 years old, you can still get it clean; you just want to be careful in how you go about it. Unlike modern caps, anything past the 20-year mark is likely made of inferior materials. 

In fact, there’s a good chance that its bill is just a piece of cardboard inside. You may still use the steps outlined above, but you need to be cautious around the bill. Soaking a cardboard-based bill will quickly ruin it.

That means no soaking unless you are 100% certain that the bill is made of plastic. Assuming the bill is cardboard, you want to spot-clean the cap in its entirety. Before proceeding, though, you test a small area on your cap’s underside to make sure the colors won’t fade or run.

If your cleaning solution doesn’t pose any threats, you may continue scrubbing the rest of the cap. Avoid getting the bill too wet, working around it to the best of your ability.

When you are pleased with the results, follow the previous steps for air-drying your baseball cap. You should find that even your oldest hats can be cleaned when you hand-wash them.


The results from hand-washing are truly incredible when followed correctly. It’s important that you avoid getting in a hurry and follow each step to the letter. When you take your time, you can look forward to your baseball caps looking bright and vibrant.

If you’re in the market for a new baseball cap, head on over to our hat section. There, you will find our vast selection of high-quality caps. And if you have any questions, feel free to contact us any time!



Stain Removers & Stain Removal Solutions | OxiClean™

How do I dry wool | Woolmark

How to Wash a Baseball Cap | Whirlpool

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