We made the mistake of buying N a white baseball cap for tennis. I should have known better after having one myself and ending up with make up on the inside from my forehead. But his was really in a state. I’d always thought you couldn’t really clean a baseball cap due to the peak material inside, but now we’ve washed his cap, it is possible using a couple of different methods.

how to clean a baseball cap

Tips on cleaning a baseball cap

Obviously you want to check your hat’s peak isn’t made of card. Nowadays, they’re mostly plastic based, so you should be fine.

If it’s card, like some older hats, you will need to go carefully. Likely that means just lightly dabbing on soapy water, and maybe using a toothbrush. You don’t want to get it too wet.

First thing to do, is check the label. I didn’t and went through the washing process without realising N’s baseball cap could have gone in the washing machine. Having said that, I’d have probably hand washed it just in case, as the shape of the cap can be wrecked. But do check first (and let me know if you’ve had no issues with washing in the machine).

I would also add to regularly clean your baseball caps, rather than leave them as long as we did. N’s was pretty grim, but it still cleaned up really well.

Handwashing a baseball cap

What you need

  • Bucket or washing up bowl
  • Mild washing up liquid (you can use laundry detergent as an alternative, but avoid anything with bleach). For sweat stains, try a mild shampoo
  • Toothbrush

How to clean the baseball cap

1. Spot clean using a little detergent mixed with water, and using the toothbrush to gently clean any particular stained or dirty areas. Be careful on stitching areas as you don’t want to tear the threads.

filthy baseball cap

2. Fill the bucket or bowl with warm water and some mild washing up liquid. Swish it around, then put the cap in, cover it and leave it for 15 minutes.

soaking baseball cap in soapy water

3. Check the hat. This might be enough time for a lightly dirty hat. If you’ve a filthy cap like ours, repeat with fresh water for longer – up to an hour. You can use the toothbrush again to brush over patches that need more of a clean.

4. Once you’re happy the hat is clean enough, remove the water. Rinse the cap under clean water to remove the soap, then dry it over a water bottle or upside down jug to retain the shape.

clean baseball cap

I was amazed at how clean N’s hat came up considering how disgustingly grubby it had been from his hands taking it on and off.  It did take a couple of soaks, but all in was probably only an hour.

Now we know, we’ll be washing our baseball caps more frequently.

What cleaning tips do you have for sports hats?

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