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How To Shrink A Cotton Hat

How to Shrink a Cotton Hat and Make it Smaller

If you have an oversized cotton hat in your hand and are wondering how to shrink your cotton hat, you’ve landed on the right page. Mark our words; you’re lucky since cotton is the easiest fabric to shrink. We have an ultimate guide on how to make your cotton hat smaller very easily and effectively. So, sit tight, and we’ll walk you through the whole process of what you should know before shrinking, how to shrink and how to maintain the shape of your cotton hat after shrinkage.

Let’s go down to the subject!

Can You Shrink a Cotton Hat?

Yes, you can definitely shrink your cotton hat. As you might have already guessed, cotton has increased shrinkage properties.  100% cotton can shrink up to 20% when exposed to hot water above 130°F. When cotton fabrics are exposed to water, they absorb all the water, soak and swell. This causes the garment to shrink when dry.

What to Know Before Shrinking a Cotton Hat?

1. Know Your Care Label

Before doing anything to your hat, make sure you read the care label. A care label helps you know the material of your hat and the dos and don’ts of your hat.

Since we are trying to shrink your cotton hats, high heat can be involved in the process. It may be in the form of a washing machine or oven with a hat cage to protect your baseball hat. If your cap doesn’t permit the usage of a washing machine, better safe than sorry! It’s good to choose the hat reducer foam method, shower, or soaking method.

2. Don’t Forget to Dry Your Hat in High Heat

After exposing your hat to steam or water, dry them in high heat. But it would be best if you did NOT dry them in sunlight.  Drying your hat in direct sunlight may cause your hat to fade. Dry them by using a hairdryer to shrink more effectively.

3. Avoid Over Shrinkage

While shrinking your hat, try your hat frequently during the process to avoid over shrinkage. Wearing a tight hat may lead to compression headaches due to the reduced blood flow in the scalp. It can also leave red marks on the skin and can further lead to a receding hairline.

4. Check For Color Bleed

When you’re trying to shrink your hats altogether at once, make sure they don’t bleed dyes. Since they will be exposed to hot water, there is more risk for them to bleed colors. So make sure you shrink hats separately.

To check color bleed, dampen a white towel and wipe the unobvious area of your hat. If you notice color bleed, it’s a better option to choose the hat reducer foam method without bleeding colors. 

5. Check The Brim

If you have an old vintage hat in your hand, chances are there for your hat’s brim to be made up of cardboard. Tap or flick the brim of your hat; if it sounds hollow, it’s probably made up of cardboard. You know what cardboard happens when they are submerged in water. Today’s hats are mostly designed with plastic visors, which can be submerged in water.

How to Shrink a Cotton Hat

Shrink Your Cotton Hat By Soaking Method

Shrink Your Cotton Hat By Soaking Method

This is the easiest, effective method to shrink your hat. All you have to do is soak your hat in hot water and swish it. According to today, hot water doesn’t play any specific role in shrinking your cotton hat. The cotton hat shrinks due to the swishing action in the water.

Materials Needed:


Step 1: Fill Hot Water in the Tub

Firstly, start heating water and let it boil. After boiling, pour them into a big tub. The tub should be comfortable enough for your hat to submerge fully.

Step 2: Soak Your Hat into the Hot Water and Swish it

Using your kitchen tongs, soak the hat into the hot water. MAKE SURE you wear a pair of gloves or the kitchen tongs to hold your hat properly and not get in contact with the hot water. Start swishing your hat back-and-forth for about 5 minutes.

Step 3: Dry Your Hat

After soaking and swishing your hat, dry your hat by using a hat form to avoid wrinkles. After drying, try on the hat and feel how the hat fits you. If you feel it needs more shrinkage, repeat the steps.

Shrink Your Cotton Baseball hat By Washing Machine

Shrink Your Cotton Baseball hat By Washing Machine

Mostly cotton hats will not allow machine wash since the hot tumbling action may ruin the shape of your hat. Hot temperatures in the washing machine can shrink the hat to a good extent. If you want to shrink a baseball hat, make use of the baseball hat washing cage, which will protect your hat in the tumbling action of your washing machine.

Materials Needed:


Step 1: Fix Your Hat in the Cage

Firstly, unlock the baseball hat washing cage by using your thumbs. Fix your hat inside the hat frame and lock it. Make sure you lock the hat tight enough not to get loosened up during the stretching process.

Step 2: Put Your Hat in the Washing Machine

Use baseball hat washing frames in top loader washing machines to reduce damage risk. If you have a front-loaded washing machine, put your hat on the mesh bag. Load your washing machine with the same colored clothes. Avoid overloading and also adding heavy clothes like towels, jeans, and bedsheets, etc.

Learn more about baseball hat washing cages.

Step 3: Set a Higher Temperature on Your Machine

Set the temperature setting to medium-hot and start the washing machine. The exposure to hot temperatures, along with the tumbling action, makes your cotton hat shrink.

Step 4: Try On the Cap

After taking out the washing machine, try wearing your hat with a plastic bag underneath to avoid wetting. If you feel that your hat should shrink more, go to the next step.

Step 5: Put Your Hat in Dryer

If your hat didn’t shrink enough, put your hat in the dryer and turn on the medium-heat setting. By now, your hat will be more shrunk than before. Dry the hat on a hat form.

Make Your Hat Smaller By Using a Hat Size Reducer Foam

Make Your Hat Smaller By Using a Hat Size Reducer Foam

If you have a really oversized hat, this hat reducer foam technique is the best method for you to reduce the size of your hat without shrinking its shape.

You can paste a good length of hat reducer foam encircling underneath the sweatband of your hat if your hat is feeling loose at all sides. If your hat feels loose only on the sides, take two strips and paste according to your wish.

Materials Needed:


Step 1: Measure the Circumference of Your Hat

Firstly, measure the hat circumference. If you don’t have a measuring tape with you, you can also measure the hat with a string and mark its length using a ruler.

Step 2: Cut The Hat Reducer Foam

As mentioned earlier, you can cut them into a long strip or a few pieces of foam to stick and fill the space of the area you are feeling loose.

Step 3: Try Them On the Hat

Without peeling the adhesive side, insert them into the sweatband of your hat and wear it. If you’re feeling satisfied with the fit, go to the next step.

Step 4: Stick the Hat Reducer Foam

Flip open the sweatband of your hat, and peel off the adhesive side of your hat reducer foam. Stick them to the inner surface of your hat and fold up the sweatband. Now you’re ready to go on with your hat!

Shrink Your Cotton Hat During a Shower

Shrink Your Cotton Hat During a Shower

If you’re a laid-back person and don’t want to spend any special time shrinking your cotton hat, this is the best method for you. All you have to do is just wear your cotton hat during your shower.

Materials Needed:

  • Hot Shower


Step 1: Wear the Cap During the Shower

After washing your hair, put on your shower cap. Take a bath in a hot shower at a moderate temperature you can tolerate. During the process, your cotton hat absorbs all the moisture and soaks up.

Step 2: Dry the Hat

Now, take off your wet hat and dry them on a hat form. You can also use a hairdryer to blow-dry the hat, which causes further shrinkage. Wear it for your next bath, if you need further shrinkage.

Shrink Your Cotton Hat By Oven

Shrink Your Cotton Hat By Oven

Materials Needed:


Step 1: Spray Your Hat with Cold Water

Firstly, spray your hat with cold water evenly on all sides. Pay attention to the sides and back, but don’t overwet them. You don’t need to spray water on the brim as well.

Step 2: Dry and Spray the Hat

Take your hairdryer in hand and set it on the hottest setting. Dry the hat by going forwards and backward to prevent the hat from getting too hot. Rotate your hat and dry it at all sides. Spray the hat again with water.

Step 3: Preheat the Oven and Put Your Hat in it

After spraying the hat with water, Preheat the oven at 300°F (149°C). Spread the tray with baking towels and lay your hat on top to prevent scorching of the hat and turn out with a brownish look.

Step 4: Take Your Hat Out

After heating your hat, take it out and let it cool in a hat form, not for too long. Wear the hat and let it shrink according to your head size. The more you wear the hat, the more it gets adjusted to your head size.

Could Any of the Methods Cause Damage to the Hat?

All the methods mentioned above are very popular and safe methods used to shrink a cotton hat.  Please make sure that you’ve checked the care label before you start shrinking your hat. Also, try your hat in between you’re shrinking since it can prevent over shrinkage and discomfort.

How to Care for Cotton Hat?

1. Store Them in Hot Boxes

After shrinking them, store them in appropriate hat boxes after cleaning them. Body oils, sweat stains present in natural fibers can attract fabric-eating bugs easily. Storing them properly can prevent mold and insects like silverfish from cutting irregular holes on your hats.

2. Maintain their Shape

You can also use hat forms like ball, small bowl, or baseball hat washing cages to store your hat. It helps to maintain the shape of your hat for a long time.

3. Do Not Dry Them In Sunlight

Hot temperatures can shrink cotton but do not dry hats under sunlight since they cause extreme fade and discoloration.

4. Do Not Wring It

After soaking your hats in water, please don’t twist or wring them to remove the excess water. It can lead to damage and will easily ruin the structured shape of your hat.

5. Clean Your Hat Properly

Last but not least, hair hygiene is important! You don’t need to wash your hat in water after every usage. You can dampen a white microfiber cloth and wipe the inner brim of your hat after daily usage. Turn them inside out and leave them dry and freshen up. 

Not sure how to wash your cotton hats?  Learn more on how to wash your cotton hats properly!

How to Shrink a Cotton Hat

Final Thoughts

Until you have a cotton hat, you have a greater amount of chances to shrink your hat when compared to any other fabric. Why should you wear an oversized cotton hat next time? By now,  you might have finished up your quick scroll on how to stretch your cotton hat. By showering, soaking, by using a hat reducer foam and a washing machine, you would have a bunch of ideas on how to wash your cotton hat. If you don’t want to shrink your cotton hat, the hat size reducer foam method works wonders! It’s now time to select your preferred method! Why are you still waiting on the fence?

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