Best Way To Wash A Hat? And FAQs

Hats are trendy, Hats are cute, Hats are useful. Not to mention hats have been around in the fashion industry for far longer than they have been in our closets. Before the 18th century Men carried hats as a visual symbol of status and protection, later on, it became an important part of every gentleman’s closet and also one of the most popular men’s accessories.

Now it has evolved in many shapes, sizes, colors, and types from western or stockman hats to bowlers or derbies. They’ve even become a significant part of a woman’s closet.

Like the rest of our clothing hats too are made of cloth and might sometimes need to be cleaned up.

With hats being all the hype, you wouldn’t want to walk around sporting a dull, old hat.

And let’s be fair buying a new hat every time one of your old ones get a little ragged up is plain ludicrous!

However, cleaning them might not be the easiest thing, it definitely isn’t impossible.

You cannot gather a hat in a crumbled ball and directly throw it into the wash like you would your tank tops and shirts.

Hats come in a variety of fabrics and it goes pretty much without saying that different kinds of fabrics are to be washed with different techniques.

But while you’re at it, you might find yourself fretting about the Best way to wash your hat without ruining its texture and frame.

Being a big fan of hats, I might have ruined my hats with careless washing techniques more times than I can count.

After a little research and one too many trials we think we finally cracked it, here is the best way to wash a hat without ruining it.

Step # 1

As said, you naturally first of all, need to figure out what kind of fabric is your particular hat made of so you can determine the method you need to adopt.

For this, all you have to do is to check the care label attached to your hat to look for the fabric composition of the hat as well as the laundering instructions.

If however, for some reason, your hat doesn’t have a label attached, you can head over to your nearest dry cleaner, or even easier, to the manufacturer’s website to get your answer.

We’ll give you an example. For instance, hats made out of synthetic fabric like nylon, polyester, etc are particularly durable, easy to care for, and can easily bear the effects of a machine wash.

On the other hand, leather or suede hats are precisely unsuitable to be cleaned with water until and unless the material has a water-resistant finish.

So, your only way to clean this type of a hat will be to make way to a dry cleaner or to spot clean it if the hat is not excessively dirty.

Once you have ruled on the type of fabric of your hat, you can go with step #2 to proceed with your cleaning process.

Step # 2

The second most important part of your process is to figure out the type of brim it has.

Hats come in two major categories:

  • Ones with cardboard-supported rims
  • Ones with plastic-supported rims

One of My favorite ways to determine this is to tap the brim and if it lets out a hollow sound, then it has a cardboard brim. If not, then it is plastic.

Let me make it even clearer for you.

If the hat in question has been relatively recently bought (and by recently, I mean after 1983) then you do not have to go overboard.

This simply means that your hat carries a plastic brim and that throwing it in the dishwasher or the washing machine will get the job done. (Nevertheless, check the care label once to be extra safe!)

However, if your hat is vintage, or in other words, bought after 1983, then you might have a problem in the name of a cardboard brim.

Obviously, if these kinds of hats are submerged and soaked in water, then the brim will completely lose its texture and you can bid farewell to your hat.

Hence, with a cardboard-supported brim, the only option is spot cleaning.

Step # 3

Now that you are completely sure about the type of fabric and the brim of your hat, you can get on with business!

Like we have discussed, every hat is to be washed in a different way.

After more than a few failed attempts, we have determined a few common ways that you can use to wash your hat.

Spot cleaning:

For hats that have a cardboard supported brim, or on the other hand, are made of materials like leather or suede, spot cleaning is a safe option.

In order to spot clean, you need to dissolve your desired detergent in some warm water.

Taking a clean piece of cloth or a fresh towel, dip it into your detergent mixture and then gently rub onto places that are stained with grime.

If you are fighting tougher stains, you might want to get hold of a brush with soft bristles. A toothbrush works perfectly fine also.

After you are satisfied with the result, rinse the soap out of the brush/cloth/towel and go over the targeted areas again so you can pull away from the remaining soap out of the hat.

However, it must be noted that you have to avoid entirely soaking the brim in the water because that will fully reshape it, and you will probably not like the results.

That’s it! You’re done! Now all you have to do is let the hat air dry and then it’ll be as good as new.

Dishwasher method:

The dishwasher is a good choice if your hat is washable. Undoubtedly, it’ll do a flawless job, however, it will also maintain the shape of your hat. The cherry on top!

All you have to do is firstly, obviously, make sure that your dishwasher is empty. You don’t want last night’s food bits stuck onto your hat at the end.

Then add your choice of dishwasher detergent pod into the dispenser and place your hat onto the rack inside.

It is advisable if you do not put your rack onto the top-most rack as some detergents can be too harsh for your hat and you don’t want them to directly attack it.

At last, just turn the dishwasher on, run a normal cycle, and just wait for your dusty crusty hat to be fresh and squeaky clean!

Then you just have to get it out, allow it to air dry, and get it back on.

A literal walk in the park!

Washing machine method:

This one is even more simple. Throw the hat into the washing machine with some mild detergent and spin it around in warm water. That’s basically it, but we have some additional tips to help prevent any risk of your hat getting damaged.

For one, you can add the hat with a small load of laundry instead of washing it alone. That way the hat will not deform.

Secondly, another tip to prevent your hat from losing its shape is to place it in a hat form.

After your hat is washed, pull it out, let it air dry, and prepare for the sunny days ahead!

Hand wash method:

To wash your dirty hat by hand, you will need to fill a container with some warm water and add a mild detergent to it.

Then place the hat into the solution and let it soak for around 5-10 minutes. This will ‘loosen’ the stains.

Then rub the stains and other problematic areas with a fresh towel, or scrub them down with a brush with soft bristles.

Once you are satisfied with the results and are sure that all of the filth has left your hat, go ahead and thoroughly rinse it with clean water until all the soap is out.

Then place the hat onto a dry towel and pat the excess water away so it doesn’t drip and then let it air dry.

This is without a doubt the safest and gentlest way to clean your hat. A machine can never imitate what your hands can do.

Now that we have explained the main steps involved in washing a hat, the following are some common misconceptions and questions that one might have.

Can I put my hat in the dryer?

It must be strictly noted that you should never put your hat in the dryer unless you want a destructed mess that resembles a crumpled piece of paper rather than a hat.

Unarguably, the best way to dry a hat is to put it on a clean, dry towel and press the extra moisture out or hang the hat to let the air do its job.

No matter whatever way you wash it, just let it air dry.

An additional tip is to use a circular object that can fit into your hat so it dries peacefully without deforming.

What kind of fabrics may shrink in the dryer?

Cotton is the fabric that is most prone to shrinking whenever washed. That’s why you have to be really careful if your hat is made of cotton.

Cotton blends on the other hand are a lot safer when it comes to drying.

Synthetics like polyester, nylon, acrylic, etc do not shrink in the wash.

Can I use bleach when washing my hat?

You should never try to use bleach when it comes to cleaning a hat.

Using bleach will destroy the colors of your hat and basically ruin it.

Do not try this if you want the colors of your cap to stay fresh and bright for summers to come.

How to prevent the hat from losing its shape?

Washing a hat can leave it at risk of deforming and getting misshapen.

There are a few things you can do to prevent this. When it comes to washing, you can use a hat form to help the hat retain its shape in the soap water cyclone that happens inside your machine.

For drying, it is best to use a container of some sort that can fit on the inside of your hat and help keep it in shape while it dries.

Summing Up

We hope this article helped you in maintaining your favorite accessory, leave a comment if you have some other ideas about hat cleaning that we probably missed out.