Whether you wear a baseball cap for work or play, there may come a time that it needs a bit of cleaning. Before you start, take time to look at the little tag on the inside of the cap to get an idea of what fiber content and any specific cleaning instructions.
*Test cap for color fastness before following any of the steps outlined below. Some fabrics respond better than others to water/detergent. Using the same mixture listed below, use a cloth to dab a bit of the mixture on the hat in an inconspicuous spot before starting. If the color of the hat comes off on the cloth or seems to run, DO NOT clean the cap yourself. Either take to a professional cleaner or leave as is. If the color seems to hold, you can clean the cap with the steps outlined below.
General Hat Washing Tips:
1. Don’t put caps into the laundry — either the washer or dryer. A high-efficiency washer that doesn’t have a center agitating column can be okay, but even then it has to be cool water on the gentlest cycle, and you also have to be concerned about other clothes in the load squishing the hat’s form. Dryers are too hot, and the tumbling isn’t good for the shape. Better to just avoid the laundry machines altogether.
2. Don’t use any products with bleach in them; you want your ballcap colors to stay nice and bright for years to come.
3. Dispelling the dishwasher myth. You’ve probably heard you can throw caps in the dishwasher on the top rack. Don’t do that. Dishwasher detergents often include bleach, and the appliance usually runs at high heat (both for washing and drying), which can damage the hat as well.
4. Don't submerge your cap in water. Too much exposure to water could destroy the shape of your cap.
4. Hand-washing is really the best method to retain both the color and shape of the hat.
The Best Way To Wash A Baseball Cap
1. Use a warm damp cloth. Error on the side of cool versus hot, don't use any harsh cleaning chemicals initally and spot clean the problem areas.
2. In case of emergency, use a very small amount of laundry detergent or OxiClean. Dish soap can do in a pinch, but detergent, or a dedicated stain-fighting treatment like OxiClean, is stronger and works harder at getting the stains out of the hat’s fibers. Be very careful because too much can have an adverse effect. Error on the side of caution.
3. Spot-clean the hat first, as needed. If there are areas that are especially problematic, spot-clean them with a dab of cleaning product right on the hat. Be especially careful around threaded stitching. If you’re too vigorous, the stitching can become misplaced, and the artwork marred.
4. Do not use a dryer or leave it in the sun on a hot day. Handle with care and this includes the drying process. Pat dry with a towel as much as you can to help maintain its shape. Your goal here is to remove excess moisture so it can air dry on a counter or vent without dripping water all over the place.
5. Always air dry on some sort of container. You want to find a way to dry the hat so it’s not just crumpled on the counter. Find a coffee jar, a canister, a balled-up towel, or perhaps any mannequin heads you have lying around to set it on. This will ensure the hat’s shape stays true and doesn’t crinkle up. Wearing it is also an option. Throw a towel under the container too; no matter how much patting you do, I’ve found there will always be some drippage. If you want to speed things up, use a small fan to blow air over it, or a hair dryer on the low setting.
Hopefully by following these steps you can preserve your favorite baseball cap and keep in the rotation a little while longer.