How to wash a baseball cap without losing its shape

Nailing the technique for how to wash a baseball cap means you can rep your fave team in style

Neutral beige baseball cap on white background
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you're noticing nasty odors, it may be time to learn how to wash a baseball cap the right way without losing its shape. 

You lose a lot of heat through your head so it only makes sense that a baseball cap will accumulate sweat and smells. Not to mention stains from hair products or makeup transferring onto the material. 

So before you chuck out your favorite cap, or pay extra to have it professionally cleaned, try washing it at home to freshen it up. We asked laundry experts for their best ways to do washing and get your hat looking as good as new.

How to wash a baseball cap

While it may seem a little tricky to wash a baseball cap due to its unique shape, you can actually clean it up a home with a few simple but fab laundry hacks

Before you get started, check that you have all your laundry room essentials in stock. You may need to refresh your supply of detergent or stain removers like OxiClean (available on Amazon)  so you don't run out mid-way through. 

We recommend hand-washing your baseball cap to best maintain its shape and structure.

Navy baseball cap brims in circle

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Step 1: treat stains

Before washing your baseball cap, it's important to treat any stains and leave it to soak for however long the stain remover calls for. Have a look around the brim, the inside, the outside of the cap to check for any makeup, and learn how to clean sweat stains.

"Before washing the entire cap, spot-clean any stains or soiled areas using a gentle stain remover or a mixture of mild detergent and water. Use a soft-bristled brush or cloth to gently scrub the affected areas, being careful not to damage the fabric or embellishments," says Angela Rubin, a cleaning expert from Hellamaid.

We like using Miss Mouth's stain treater available on Amazon for stains but you can also create your own DIY version with household ingredients. "Create a paste using equal parts baking soda and water, and gently rub it into the sweat-stained areas. Let the paste sit for 15-30 minutes before rinsing thoroughly with water," says Angela. If you need to stock up, you can pick up a 24-pack of Arm & Hammer baking soda from Amazon.

Angela Rubin, cleaning expert at HellaMaid
Angela Rubin

Angela Rubin works at Hellamaid, a top-rated cleaning company in Canada. Hellamaid are industry experts specializing in residential and commercial cleaning services. 

Step 2: fill a basin with soapy, lukewarm water

To hand wash your baseball cap, fill a sink or basin with lukewarm water. If you don't have one on hand, this collapsible basin from Amazon will make the job much easier. 

Mix in a gentle detergent like Tide Free & Gentle detergent, available on Amazon to create a soapy solution to soak your hat. 

Step 3: soak the baseball cap

Now it's time to actually wash the cap. Pop your hat in the soapy water, give it a gentle scrub, and leave it to soak. 

"Submerge the baseball cap in the soapy water and gently agitate it to loosen dirt and grime. Allow the cap to soak for about 15-20 minutes. After soaking, rinse the baseball cap thoroughly with cold water to remove any soap residue," says Hashi Mohamed, President of Ivy Cleans.

Use a gentle laundry brush, like this soft bristle brush available on Amazon, to scrub any problematic areas.

Hashi Mohamed
Hashi Mohamed

Hashi Mohamed is the president of Ivy Cleans, a premier cleaning and lifestyle solutions company based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Specializing in cleaning, organizing, and promoting a holistic lifestyle, it is passionate about transforming spaces into clean, organized, and vibrant environments.  

Step 4: air dry

Rinse off all the soapy water and lightly remove the excess water. "Avoid wringing or twisting the cap, as this can damage its structure. Instead, gently squeeze out excess water and pat it dry with a clean towel to remove any remaining moisture," says Hashi.

If you're drying clothes in a small space, be mindful of where you're leaving your cap to dry. "To help the cap retain its shape while drying, place it on a clean towel or hat and let it air dry away from direct sunlight or heat sources," says Hashi.

Can I wash a baseball cap in the washing machine?

Washing machines can be a little harsh and could potentially warp the shape of your baseball cap. If you're planning on using a washing machine, we recommend placing it on a gentle cycle in cold water to avoid damage. You may also find using a cap protector, like these baseball cap washers and shape protecting frames from Amazon, will help.

"Consider using a hat form or cap mold. This will prevent the cap from losing its shape in the wash and becoming misshapen during the drying process," says Angela.

Can I wash a baseball cap in the dishwasher?

While it's a popular laundry myth, we wouldn't recommend washing a baseball cap in the dishwasher as the very hot temperature and harsh chemicals may strip the color or damage the material. 

Always make sure you check and understand the laundry symbol meanings on the tag of your baseball cap to avoid any laundry mistakes before starting. If you follow these expert tips, your hat should come out looking as good as new and you can represent your favorite team in style.

Emily Lambe
Deputy Editor

Hey! I’m Emily and I’m the deputy digital editor at Real Homes. I’m here to bring you the latest decor trends, inspirational ideas and the best budget-friendly buys. I live in a rented apartment, making the most of small spaces and using accent pieces to make things pop. When I’m not writing, I’m usually doing yoga, eating chocolate or working on my skincare routine.