Here's How To Wash A Baseball Hat And Not Ruin Its Shape

Baseball caps can be the perfect solution to a bad hair day, a fun way to add some personality to your outfit, or a must to protect your skin and hair from sun damage. There are many reasons why we love a good cap. But this also means that our favorite hat can get pretty dirty, even if it doesn't necessarily look like it. Unfortunately, many of us are guilty of frequently wearing a baseball cap without regularly washing it. 

There's no shame in this — we know how easy it is to set a cap on the rack and forget about it until the next wear. Still, your hat deserves some TLC to remove hair products, sweat, make-up, and other debris. The only downfall of washing your baseball hat is that, if done incorrectly, it could lose its shape. When you've worked long and hard to get the fit and brim just right, the thought of sabotaging it with the spin cycle is frightening.

But don't fret. We've got all the must-know details on how to wash your favorite baseball cap without ruining its shape.

Choose your method

There are three primary ways to clean your cap. The best method depends on how dirty it is. Because baseball caps aren't just for baseball anymore, your hat goes through a lot in a day. Spot-cleaning is perfect if it's only sporting a stain. A hat that has noticeable build-up, grime, and (dare we say) a distinct odor will need to be properly cleaned, though. 

You can wash it by hand or put it in the machine. And by machine, we mean the washing machine; we'd skip the dishwasher hack since this will cause damage. To spot-treat your hat, choose your favorite detergent or spot cleaner and apply it to any problem areas. Your product will depend on the stain, such as a spot from hair oil versus a grass stain. 

With a soft, circular motion, rub in the detergent using a towel or cloth. Then, rinse out the cloth and go back over the stain to remove the soap. You may need to give it a few rinses, but we would advise refraining from holding your hat under the faucet for too long. Finally, leave your hat to dry completely (more on that later).

Washing your hat

If you've decided to hand wash your hat, you'll need a large bucket or basin, detergent, and your hat. Hand washing is often best for delicate caps, like those with embellishments. First, fill your container with lukewarm water and add a little liquid detergent. Place your hat fully under the soapy water. When hand laundering, you'll need to use your hands and fingers to agitate the cap as your washing machine would. 

When you feel you've dislodged enough debris and grime, let it soak for ten to twenty minutes. If your hat needs a deeper clean, leave it soaking for a few hours or even overnight if necessary. Drain the basin, rinse your hat thoroughly, and move on to drying. The washing machine is easiest for hardworking hats, like the cap you use for running. To start, you'll want to apply a spot treatment if necessary. 

Then, add your hat to the washing machine either by itself or with similar items, such as other hats or socks. Jeans, towels, and heavy garments aren't similar items and may crush your cap during the wash cycle. You should always choose a gentle or slow cycle and set your machine to use cold water to further help protect your hat. When the cycle is complete, it's on to drying!

How to dry your baseball cap

Here's the secret — the washing method doesn't really matter. The trick to getting your hat to retain its shape is how you dry it. Don't use a machine dryer. Instead, remove as much water from the walls of your hat as possible by gently squeezing them. Removing excess water is an important step for hand-washed hats. A cap that was lightly spun in the washing machine will be pretty dry, as will one you spot-cleaned. 

Next, you're going to air dry your hat so, hopefully, you've allowed yourself plenty of time. The brim of your hat shouldn't have suffered any folding. But you may notice some wrinkling or bending to the crown of your hat, which requires reshaping. While you could set your hat in a sunny location or hang it on a clothesline, using the towel trick can elicit better results. Ball up a hand towel and stuff it inside the hat's crown. This will help keep the crown supported and in the shape of your head and prevent any puckering or wrinkles. 

You may want to remove the towel as the hat begins to dry to allow better air circulation, however. Drying your baseball cap should take around three to four hours. Remember, drying and reshaping post-wash is the key to keeping your hat looking and feeling great. Now that you know the secret, go gather up your long overdue baseball caps for a thorough cleaning!