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How To Hand Wash A Hat

How to Handwash a Hat? – Quick & Easy Methods

Do you know what the most effective and risk-free method to wash your hats is? It’s none other than the good old, traditional hand-wash method. But we know many of you are confused about how to wash hats by hand because there are many kinds of hats and caps out there. It can be overwhelming sometimes, but that’s why we are here. To solve all your hat troubles and to make you experts in the art of washing hats and caps!

A dirty hat or a cap is the last thing we want on us. So, without wasting any time, let’s get down to cleaning your hats spick and span!

Can You Wash a Hat by Hand?

OF COURSE. You can wash any hat by hand.

Unlike a machine wash or even a dishwashing method, you have complete control over the hat when you hand-wash. 

A hand-wash is more effective than any other method because you can give individual attention to your hats when washing by hand. In a machine, you will be washing hats with many other clothes; hence chances of dirt completely getting rid of your hats is considerably reduced.

You might have to get your hands a little dirty with hand-wash, but trust us, it’s worth it! Your hat or cap will come out bright and shining!

What to Know Before Cleaning a Hat by Hand?

Well, because hand-washing is the most effective method does not mean you can start washing them right away by hand. There are a few precautions that you need to take before getting into the washing process. 

Don’t worry; they are not difficult things. Just basic stuff that’ll get your hats and caps cleaned better.

1. Check the Care Label

The Care label is the most important piece of information that’s there on your hat or cap. Things like what your hat’s material, best washing methods, warnings, etc., are mentioned in your care label. If the label says it’s safe to hand-wash your hat, you have nothing more to worry about!

2. DO NOT HAND-WASH Cardboard-brimmed Hats or Caps

Yes, cardboard brimmed hats are one category that you cannot hand-wash. Most of the old baseball caps, made before 1983, are cardboard-brimmed. So, if you own a really old hat or a cap, make sure to check what your brim is made out of. 

A spot clean method is your only bet if you want to wash a cardboard-brimmed hat or cap at home. We will explain the spot clean method in detail in the coming sections. Read on!

3. REMOVE Embellishments or Decorations If Any

Not all hats and caps are plain looking. We know that. Many of you might own hats and caps that have embellishments like a ribbon, button, beads, applique work, etc.

So ALWAYS ensure these are removed, or else chances are the embellishments might get damaged in the hand-washing process.

4. Hand-wash One Hat at a Time

We tend to get too excited sometimes and dump all our hats in a bucket. That’s the worst thing to do to your hats. By washing all hats together, you will ruin the shape of them.

Also, if it’s a mix of white and colored hats especially, chances are the color hats will bleed out onto the white hat. 

Washing multiple hats one at a time might be tiring, but better safe than sorry, right?

5. AVOID Detergents with BLEACH

Hat and cap fabrics aren’t bleach-friendly. So always ensure that the detergent you use is free from it.

What to Do Before Hand Washing Your Hat?


Even if your care label okays a hand-wash for your hat or cap, you must spot test to check for signs of color bleed.

How do you do it?

It’s plain easy. Dampen a clean, white cloth and gently rub on an unnoticeable area of your hat, like the underside. If any dye transfers to the cloth, it means your hat is bleeding color. You need to stop right there and seek professional help. Don’t think twice!

Hats and caps that are usually dyed tend to bleed colors. For instance, corduroy hats are color-dyed normally, so be EXTRA EXTRA careful if you plan to wash one. This is also true if you are someone who has dyed hats and caps on your own. 

But if there is no dye transferred to the cloth, you are good to proceed with the hand-wash.

IMPORTANT: Don’t use colored cloth for spot tests. You don’t want the dye in the colored cloth to transfer to your hat, do you? Always use white cloth.

How to Wash Cap by Hand?

How to Wash and Remove Stains on the Cap by Hand

How to Wash and Remove Stains on the Cap by Hand?

How to hand-wash a beanie, how to hand-wash an acrylic hat, how to hand-wash a baseball cap, the list can go on. We see such questions all the time. So now that we’ve told you the DO’s and DON’Ts of hand-washing, it’s time to get into the real action!

Let’s fire away!

Materials Needed:


 Step 1: Prepare the Cleaning Agent

Fill the bucket, sink or tub with cold water. AVOID HOT WATER, for the fabric, might shrink, especially if the hat is made of wool or fleece.

Add a small amount of mild bleach-free laundry detergent; a teaspoon would suffice, and mix the two well. Ensure the soap is uniformly spread in water. We don’t want any clumps of soap getting stuck on the hats.

Certain fragile fabrics like wool will have detergents made specifically for it, like Woolite. In such cases, it’s always safe to use the specific detergent.

Step 2: Apply Stain Remover

If there are stubborn stains on your hat or cap, especially on the sweatband areas, it is always best to apply a small amount of bleach-free stain remover on those specific stains. Leave it on for about 30 minutes or more, depending on the amount of staining.

Alternatively, you can try to apply few drops of vinegar on the sweatbands. Vinegar is particularly effective in removing stubborn sweat stains.

Step 3: Scrub the Stains

Using a toothbrush, gently scrub on the hat giving a special focus on the stained areas. Do not be too harsh while scrubbing. It will damage the fabric.

Step 4: Soak the Hat in Soapy Water

Once you’ve scrubbed the hat well, soak the hat in soapy water for an hour to ensure the hat is completely rid of stains.

Step 5: Rinse the Hat

Rinse your hat under cool water. If the stain persists, repeat steps 3-4.

While rinsing the hat, ensure all residual soap is completely washed off the hat because left-over soap can also cause staining.

Step 6: Dry the Hat

NEVER Wring or Twist your hat. And DO NOT use dryers. 

You can either place the hat on a dry, clean towel to get rid of excess dripping water or directly air-dry the hat. KEEP AWAY from harsh sunlight.

TIP: If your hat gets distorted in the washing process, you can always re-shape it while it’s still wet. Use your fingers and fluff up your hat back to shape.

But once the hat is dried, it won’t be easy to get it back in shape.

How to Spot Clean Hats?

How to Spot Clean Hats by Hand

How to Spot Clean Hats by Hand?

If your hat is only stained in a specific spot and you don’t need to wash the entire hat, you can always go for the spot clean method. It is specifically effective and safe for hat very delicate hat materials like suede, leather, straw, etc.

And again, as we said earlier, if you want to clean a cardboard brimmed hat, this is your way!

Materials Needed:


Step 1: Prepare the Cleaning Agent

Fill the bowl with cold water and add a small amount of mild, non-bleach laundry detergent. Mix the two well.

Step 2: Work on the Stains 

Dip the soft toothbrush into the cleaning agent. Gently work on the specific stain on the hat in small, circular movements.

Step 3: Wipe Away Residual Dirt and Soap

Dampen a clean microfiber towel and wipe away the dirt and soap water from the surface of the hat. Ensure there is no left-over soap on the hat.

 Step 4: Dry the Hat

Once the hat is spot cleaned, set the hat to air-dry. Keep away from harsh sunlight.

How to Hand Wash a Hat

Final Thoughts

How to hand wash a hat is like the question of the century! Everyone owns a hat, but not everyone knows the best way to keep them clean. But with this guide, we hope hand-washing your hats and caps is never going to be a terrifying task for you. Nobody wants to wear or have around someone with dirty, stinky hats, and there isn’t anything like a good hand-wash to get your hats and caps fresh and clean.

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