How to Wash a Baseball Cap by Hand

Whether you wear your baseball cap to keep the sun out of your eyes, to bring your favorite team luck, or simply to hide a bad hair day, chances are you will need to wash it at some point. It’s often best to play it safe by washing caps by hand. You wouldn’t want to ruin your favorite one, right? Whether made of cotton, wool, or something else, most baseball caps can be cleaned with just a bit of detergent, some water, and a cloth. Let the cap air dry when done, and it’ll be ready for another day!


EditWashing Newer Baseball Caps

  1. Get a container of water ready. You can use a clean bucket, but a kitchen or bathroom sink is also fine. Fill it with water. It’s best to use cool water. If the cap is really dirty, you can use slightly warm water. Definitely avoid hot water, however, since this can damage the hat.[1]
    Wash a Baseball Cap by Hand Step 1 Version 3.jpg
  2. Add a bit of laundry detergent. Any type of non-bleach detergent normally used for clothing should work. You don’t need much of it – about a tablespoon should be plenty. Make sure it is thoroughly mixed into the water.[2]
  3. Tackle any trouble spots first. If there are any especially soiled spots on your hat, like clumps of mud or stains, you can pre-wash those. Take a clean cotton swab or an old toothbrush. Dip it in the detergent you are using, and gently spot-clean.[3]
  4. Let your hat soak. Plunge your hat into the mixture of cool water and detergent so that it is thoroughly wet. Then, just walk away! Let it soak for a while, preferably for several hours. This will gently clean your hat.[4]
    • You can periodically lift your hat out of the water to check and see if dirt and grime are soaking off.
  5. Rinse the suds away. After your hat is done soaking, drain the water from your bucket or sink. Place the hat under warm (not hot) running water. Rinse away all of the suds. This should also help remove any lingering traces of grime.[5]
  6. Pat your hat dry. Grab a clean towel and dab at the hat. This will wick away a lot of the water. Just make sure to be gentle, and not scrub. Once the excess water is gone, just leave your hat out to air dry.[6]
    • Placing your hat on top of a melon, ball, or other rounded object will help it keep its shape while it dries. You can also just wear the hat until it is dry.
    • Do not put your hat in a clothes dryer. This will damage it.

EditWashing a Wool Baseball Cap

  1. Get a cleaner specifically intended for wool. The fibres of wool are durable and long-lasting, but they also require different sorts of cleaners. Look for a detergent that says it is meant for wool, or can be safely used with wool fabrics.[7]
    Wash a Baseball Cap by Hand Step 7 Version 3.jpg
  2. Let your hat soak for several hours. Mix a small amount (about a tablespoon) of wool-safe detergent into a bucket or sink filled with cool water. Let your wool baseball cap soak in this mixture for about an hour.[8]
    • If your cap is especially dirty, you can spot clean it by dunking the hat in the water, then rubbing any trouble areas with your hands or an old toothbrush. Just don’t scrub hard, since this can damage the wool.
  3. Rinse the cap clean. Empty your bucket or sink after your cap has had a chance to soak. Hold the hat under cool running water until all traces of suds and grime are gone.[9]
  4. Dry your cap on a rounded surface. Wool fabric is especially prone to losing its shape if not dried properly. Set the cap on top of a melon, ball, balloon or other rounded object about the size of your head, and let it air dry.[10]
    • In a pinch, you can even let your cap dry on top of a round coffee can.
    • It may not be comfortable, but you can also wear your until it is dry to help it keep its shape.
    • Never place a wool cap in a clothes dryer.

EditCleaning Older Hats

  1. Test old hats for color fastness before cleaning. Older baseball caps are great collector’s items, but it’s sometimes hard to tell what they are made of or how to best care for them. Generally, you can wash older caps with a mixture of a little detergent and cool water. However, use a cloth to dab a bit of the mixture on the hat in an inconspicuous spot (like the inside of the band) before starting.[11]
    • If the color of the hat comes off on the cloth or seems to run, don’t clean the cap yourself. Either take it to a professional cleaner or leave it as-is.
    • If the color seems to hold, you can clean the cap with water and detergent.
  2. Spot clean old baseball caps. Older caps tend to be more delicate, so you don’t want to dunk them into water. Instead, use a clean soft cloth or an old toothbrush dipped in a mixture of cool water and a small amount of detergent to gently spot clean any areas that are dirty. [12]
    • Once the grime has been lifted off, dip your cloth in clear, cool water and dab at the cap to remove the detergent.
  3. Leave your cap alone to air dry. Lay the cap on top of a rounded object like a soccer ball or honeydew melon. Look for something that is approximately head sized. Leave the cap alone until it has thoroughly dried.


  • If you’re not sure what your cap is made of, look for a label inside the band. If there is one, it should specify the material.


  • Some new caps can be cleaned in a washing machine. Check the label on your cap. If it doesn’t say that it’s safe to put in a washer, clean it by hand.[13]
  • Never clean a baseball cap in a dishwasher.[14]
  • Don’t use bleach on a baseball cap, since this will ruin its color.

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