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How To Clean a Baseball Hat (The Right Way)

BY Buffalo Jackson Insight
BY Amanda Uher

Revised 10/5

So, your favorite baseball hat has taken a turn for the worse. Whether it fell in the mud, took a nosedive into the urinal, or your girlfriend threatened to clean it herself -- your beloved ballcap needs a wash.  

First things first: step away from the dishwasher. Washing your snapback in a dishwasher is NOT how to clean a baseball hat. That cleaning myth that will leave your cap fresh -- and deformed.

You’re sure to read cleaning instructions across the web that will tell you how to clean a hat by throwing it in the washing machine with the laundry, close the door, and go have a beer. And yeah, we think you should enjoy a brewski while you clean your hat -- but you may just have to sip it with soapy hands. The safest, most effective way to clean your fitted or snapback baseball hat is to hand wash it.

Here are simple hands-on instructions for a cleaner, fresher looking (and smelling) hat.

You’ll Need:

- A dirty baseball hat

- Laundry detergent

- Solvent-based product (such as Shout) or shampoo

- Toothbrush

- Large oval container

- Towel

Instructions: How to Clean a Hat 


1. Check for a tag

If your hat was made after 1983, there’s a good chance it contains a tag with the manufacturer’s specific cleaning instructions (baseball hats made prior to 1983 did not require tags).

2. Fill a sink with warm (not hot) water

 Avoid using hot water as it can distort the brim of the hat. While filling up the sink, add a tablespoon of laundry detergent or OxiClean to the water. Do not use any detergents that contain bleach.

3. Pretreat problem areas

Dip the hat in the water mixture and then, using a solvent-based product like Shout (shampoo can also work wonders) and a toothbrush, gently scrub dirty areas such as the sweatband. Be especially careful around stitching and logos.

4. Leave your hat to soak

Let your cap soak in the soapy mix for a few hours—the deeper the stains, the longer the soak! (Now’s your chance for that beer break.) Feel free to check on the hat during this time, and repeat step 3 for any areas that appear to need extra attention.

5. Rinse your hat with warm water

Give your hat a quick rinse to remove any suds before setting it aside to dry.

6. Dry your hat

Don’t walk away just yet! This is actually one of the more critical steps. You’re taking the time to hand wash your baseball cap which means it’s probably one of your favorite and most-worn hats. If you love the way it perfectly fits your head, make sure you dry your hat on a container or balled-up towel to maintain its form. (

If your hat is drying on a container, place the container on top of a towel to absorb excess water.)

Congrats: you cleaned your baseball hat by hand! Now, just make sure your girlfriend/wife/roommate didn’t see your killer cleaning skills, or you may have just scored yourself some extra chores. Do you have another prized piece like a leather messenger bag or briefcase that you're looking to establish a cleaning routine for? Learn 4 simple steps to caring for leather goods, or find out how you can easily remove stains from leather by reading our blog

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