The Best Way to Clean Baseball Caps (Tips for a Tip Top Cap)

how to wash a baseball cap in the washing machine

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Whether you’re a collector or just got a baseball cap as a gift, one of the most important aspects of being the owner of a hat is knowing how to keep it in prime condition.

Just like any other piece of clothing or accessory, baseball caps have their own design which requires a specific set of care practices. Learning the best way to clean baseball caps will ensure that your prized collection stays sharp and ready for wear at all times.

Identify the Type of Baseball Cap

Before you learn the best way to clean baseball caps, you need to be sure of just what types of caps you’re intending to clean.

The way to do this is to check the cap’s tag to see what the fiber content is. While you’re at it, you can take a look to see if the manufacturer has included any specific cleaning instructions.

There are a few different types of caps that you are likely to come across, and each type will benefit from a specific type of cleaning.

  • Cotton or Man-Made Fiber

Many of the newer models of baseball caps are made from cotton twill or cotton polyester blends. This is a good thing because these fabrics are generally very durable and protect colors, which means that your hat is likely to remain intact for a long time. Another helpful property of newer caps is that they are made with a plastic form to shape the brim, rather than cardboard, so they can withstand washing without damage.

  • Wool

Some of the newer baseball caps are made from wool, which gives them a warmer, stronger feeling. These caps need to be handled gently and should never be washed or dried in a machine.

  • Commemorative Caps

If you have an older cap or a commemorative model, it is essential that your cleaning process is slow and gentle. Older caps are more susceptible to damage or having their colors run if cleaning is not done carefully.

Cleaning Methods

Now that you’re thinking about the types of baseball caps you may need to wash, it’s time to talk about the methods that are most effective. There are 3 main ways to safely clean your baseball caps:

  • Hand Wash.
  • Dishwasher.
  • Washing Machine.

You will decide how to clean your cap based on personal preferences and your specific needs. Overall, the safest way to clean a baseball cap is by hand, as it will allow you the greatest amount of control over the cleaning process. However, cleaning your baseball caps in the dishwasher or washing machine are viable options, as well.

Hand Washing Baseball Caps

Before you start to wash your cap, make sure that you have the following items necessary to the process:

  • Mild detergent or shampoo.
  • A soft toothbrush.
  • Conditioner or fabric softener.
  • A bucket for water.
  • Hatstand, bowl, or towel for drying.

Once you have collected the items, follow these steps:

  1. Clean any dirt or dust off your cap before washing it. You can clean your cap using a damp towel or with a vacuum brush attachment.
  2. Using cool water, unless otherwise specified on the cap’s tag, wet the whole cap in the sink or shower. Be careful not to soak the bill of the hat too much.
  3. Put mild detergent or shampoo on a soft toothbrush and scrub the entire cap.
  4. After scrubbing the whole cap, rinse it well while trying not to let the bill get too soaked.
  5. If your caps are nylon or knit, you can add water to your bucket and add a couple drops of conditioner. Use that water to rinse the cap clean, while allowing the conditioner to soften the cap’s fibers.
  6. After you have rinsed the cap thoroughly, set it on the hatstand, or on top of a bowl or balled up towel to air dry.
  7. DO NOT dry your cap in the dryer, as it could shrink!

Cleaning Caps in the Dishwasher

To clean your caps properly in the dishwasher you will need the following items:

  • Non-bleach dishwasher detergent. 
  • Hatstand, bowl, or towel.

Here is what you will do:

  1. After cleaning any excess dirt or dust off your hat, place it on the top rack of the dishwasher. Be sure that there are no other dishes in the dishwasher, as food could stain your hat.
  2. Add a small amount of non-bleach detergent to the dispenser and run the dishwasher on its normal setting.
  3. Be mindful of the dishwasher’s cycle and remove your hat when it reaches the dry cycle.
  4. Place your hat on the hatstand or on a bowl or balled up towel to air dry.

Cleaning Caps in the Washing Machine

To safely clean your hat in the washing machine, you will need the following:

  • Gentle and non-bleach detergent.
  • Hatstand, bowl, or towel.

Follow these steps for safe and effective cleaning:

  1. Clean your hat of any extra dirt or dust before putting it in the washing machine.
  2. Add a small amount of gentle detergent to the dispenser.
  3. Choose your washing machine’s gentle cycle or the cycle you use for delicates.
  4. Remove your hat and place it on a hatstand, bowl, or balled up towel to air dry.

Tips for Optimal Cleaning

If you really love your caps and want to make sure that they are cleaned safely and effectively, there are a few tips you should follow:

  • Choose to hand wash your caps whenever possible. This allows you to control the pressure applied to the caps and the amount of scrubbing to smaller areas and will result in the least possible damage.
  • If you’re not sure whether the color of your hat will run when you wash it, perform a small test. Before cleaning the whole cap, use a damp white washcloth with a bit of detergent and run it over a small area of the hat. Let the hat dry and if there is no color change, proceed with proper cleaning.
  • Always use cold or warm water when cleaning your caps, never hot water!

Final Thoughts

Keeping your baseball cap collection in good shape is a commitment of time and effort. When you know the most effective ways to clean your caps, the process will become smooth and efficient!


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