How to Clean Baseball Caps and Fitted Hats

Fitted caps must be washed properly to prevent shrinking.
... Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images
  • Cloth
  • Soap
  • Mild laundry or dishwashing detergent
  • Towel

1 Why Should We Hand Was Baseball Caps?

If your clothes are an extension of yourself, a sweaty hat doesn't send the right message. Giving your baseball cap a proper cleaning while maintaining its structure can be a challenge.

Popular advice suggests tossing it in the dishwasher or washing machine, but the end result can be a shrunken hat that will make you feel like you dropped the ball. However, a good scrub or hand washing under running water can be all it takes to remove the stains left behind by a long day.

2 Hand Washing Tutorial:

  1. Start by running warm water in the sink.
  2. Gently rub the hat's sweat stains with a soapy cloth or with your hands for a hand washing.
  3. Rinse off the cap with cool water to remove all the soap.
  4. Air dry the hat where it can get plenty of air flow.

3 Soak in the Sink Tutorial:

  1. Start by running cool water in the sink.
  2. Place or adjust the stopper in the sink to fill it with cool water, a couple of inches deep.
  3. Fill up the sink with a mixture of cool water and mild laundry or dish washing detergent.
  4. Submerge your hat in the sink for 10 seconds.
  5. Rinse off your cap with cool water, making sure all soap bubbles wash away.
  6. Use a towel to absorb the excess water by rolling the hat slowly up and down the towel.
  7. Dry it off as much as possible, and then wear your hat until it is completely dry so it keeps the correct form.

4 Bonus: Clean Baseball Hat Spot Stains Using a Toothbrush

Bleach alternative cleaning solutions, like The Laundress, suggest using a toothbrush to apply their mixed spot stain remover. You mix your solution, then scrub the stained spots using a circular motion with a toothbrush.

So, if you have a collection of fitted hats with sweat stains like I do. Use a cold to neutral temperature clean water soak to release the dirty areas. Some suggest dish soap, if you need an alternative cleaning method.

After twenty minutes, I hang the hats in the shower and come back a few hours later for those hard to get spot stains along the sweatband. The extra care to release the grime will keep your headband and hat collection looking new.

  • Check the cleaning instructions on your hat's tag before washing it.
  • Submerging your hat in water can alter the its shape and size, so try hand washing first.
  • Do not use bleach or products that contain bleach alternative, because these can stain your hat.
  • Do not wash your hat in the dishwasher or washing machine -- the hot water can shrink the size of your cap.
  • Drying your hat in the dryer under high heat can also shrink your hat.
  • You can use a wool detergent if your fitted cap is made of wool.

Michael Briggs is a trending news reporter for He has interned for digital and print publications including "The New York Daily News," "The Princeton Packet" and Thrillist. He graduated from Michigan State University with a B.A. in journalism with a sports reporting concentration.