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How To Shrink A Baseball Cap

How to Shrink a Polyester Hat – And Make it Smaller

Even though you purchased a one size fits all polyester hat, sometimes you might end up with a larger-sized cap. Yes, life doesn’t always go well all the time! One important thing to understand is, the measurement of one-size hats can vary according to brand, material and have the possibility to change with frequent usage too. Do you think it doesn’t make a great difference to you? Of course, it does! That’s why you’re here to check out how to shrink a polyester cap.

And now, we’re here for you to guide you through the whole process of how to shrink a polyester cap to your head size without ruining the shape of your brand new cap or old, perfect example of its kind.

Can You Shrink a Polyester Hat?

When coming to polyester hats, the main quality of this synthetic fabric is that they have excellent stretchability properties and long-lasting durabilities. This makes the polyester cap more resistant to shrinkage and wrinkles when compared to caps made up of natural fabrics like cotton. So, you can make extra efforts to shrink your polyester cap without worrying about the risk of over shrinking.

However, the first and last thing to remember is, DO NOT throw in washing machines without a hat cage in hot temperatures to shrink your cap. Even though polyester is also heat resistant, hot water can damage the shape of the cap.

What to Know Before Shrinking a Polyester Hat?

1. Read the Care Label

First things first, do not avoid reading the care label on your caps for the only reason it’s tiny! Care labels give us a lot of information about the cap’s material and stay at its best, whether it needs hand washing or machine washing. The best part, it also tells you what you shouldn’t do with your cap, like NO TUMBLE DRY, NO MACHINE WASH, to not ruin the cap without knowing.

2. Check Color Bleed

If you’ve never washed your cap, don’t forget to check for color bleeds when using a water method. Most often, polyester caps are colorfast and don’t bleed much more than natural fabrics. But better safe than sorry! Use a white wet cloth to wipe the less prominent part of your cap. If it bleeds, avoid shrinking methods with water.

3. Shrink to the Right Size

If your shrinking process takes 15 minutes, take time to wear in between and feel the right fit of the cap. It’s necessary for a cap to be fitted but not overly tight. A tight-fitting cap has possibilities to reduce the blood flow within your scalp, cause frequent headaches and hair loss.

4. Use a Hat Cage

To be honest, washing machine machines are not better for your caps than hand washing since they might have chances to deform. But for shrinking your polyester caps, exposing them to hotter temperatures in the washing machine or dishwasher is a very effective method to shrink polyester caps. So how to protect the shape? Simple! Use a hat cage for your baseball cap before you throw them into washing machines.

Now let’s do a quick rundown of the 4 methods which can effectively shrink your polyester cap without ruining the shape!

How to Shrink Polyester Hats and Make it Smaller?

Shrink the Polyester Ball Cap Using Washing Machine and Hat Cage

Shrink the Polyester Ball Cap Using Washing Machine and Hat Cage

If you’re dealing with some time constraints and searching for a quick, effective method, go for this washing machine method. High heat and warm water can shrink the polyester fibers within your cap, bringing them to a smaller size. BUT REMEMBER, throwing your cap without any protection has chances to deform the shape of your hat.

Recommended for:  Baseball caps with an appropriate hat cage, or unstructured hats with mesh bag

Not recommended for:  Structured hats and caps without a hat cage

Materials Needed:


Step 1: Fix your Ball Cap Into the Hat Cage

Unlock the hat cage by pushing the center bar by thumbs, fit and lock the cap within the position. Make sure you have an appropriate hat cage for your cap, and you’ve closed it tightly.

Step 2: Load the Machine with Clothes

Secondly, load your machine with similarly colored clothes to create pressure helping with the shrinking of the cap. Make sure you don’t overload them with heavy clothes like jeans, rugs, and towels.

Also, remember, this hat cage-washing machine method is only safe for top load washing machines which don’t have an agitating tumbling action like front-loaded washing machines.

If you have front-loaded, go with a mesh bag.

Check out to know more about how to use baseball hat washing cages.

Step 3: Use Hot Water Setting and Set the Gentle Cycle

Generally, hot water is unsafe for caps, but since your hat is made up of polyester, it has high heat-resistant properties to withstand hot temperatures. If you are double-minded, keep them in a medium heat setting, and you can repeat the process over time.

Step 4: Try on Your Cap after Wash

Wear a plastic bag on top of your head, and try to wear it on your head. If it fits well, you can air them dry with the hat cage itself.

Step 5: Use Dryer for Further Shrinkage

If your hat didn’t shrink enough, put your hat on the dryer on a  MEDIUM HEAT SETTING. Take out your hat and frequently check until you get the right size.

Shrink The Polyester Cap Using Soaking Method

Shrink The Polyester Cap Using Soaking Method

This is a much safer, slower effective method than the washing machine method. Polyester cap shrinks when soaking in hot water, which is steaming for a certain time. DO NOT soak your hat in boiling water which can melt the synthetic fibers and damage your hat.

Recommended for:  All kinds of polyester hats and caps 

Materials Needed:

Instructions :

Step 1: Fill Hot Water in Tub

Firstly, fill hot water in the tub, make sure it’s not too boiling. Be careful when you’re pouring hot water into the tub. The ideal temperature for polyesters to shrink is  (68 – 81°C).

However, the safest temperature to submerge hats is 25-40°C. So, maintain the temperature within the safest zone and avoid exposure to highly hot water altogether at once.

Step 2: Submerge the Hat for 20-30 Minutes

Submerge the polyester cap within the tub for 20-30 minutes. Swish it forth and back gently since fibers can shrink more with motion. To hold the cap without harming yourself, use kitchen tongs.

Step 3: Try and Dry The Hat

Gently dap the excess water of the hat without wringing it. Wear a plastic bag on your head and put on your cap. If it feels like a right fit, air dry the hat on a hat form. If you think it needs further shrinkage, set your hairdryer on a medium heat setting and dry your cap!

Shrink The Polyester Cap Using Oven

Shrink The Polyester Cap Using Oven

Sounds easy but frightening? Heat is the main key to shrink polyester fibers and transform the shape into a smaller size.

Recommended for: High dome-shaped, structured  polyester Hats

Not Recommended for Non-structured hats and old hats

Materials Needed:


Step 1: Soak The Hat in Warm Water

Firstly, take a tub or large cooking pot with hot water. Let it stay for 15-20 minutes.

Step 2: Take Out the Hat and Dab the Excess Water

Secondly, after soaking the hat, take it out. Gently dab the water using a towel and do not wring it. Twisting or wringing can cause damage to your hat. Let it stay for a while.

Step 3: Preheat your Oven at 300°F and Keep the Hat In

Setting more than the given temperature can melt the polyester fibers so, be careful! After the oven heats up, lay paper sheets on the tray to prevent browning or burning at the bottom. Keep the hat inside.

Step 4: Take Out Your Hat

After 5 minutes, take out your polyester hat and wear it on a hatform to stiffen for your head size.

Shrink The Polyester Cotton Blend Cap in a Hot Shower

Shrink The Polyester Cotton Blend Cap in a Hot Shower

Using a shower is an effortless, risk-free method that shrinks your cap during a shower. The hot water from the shower penetrates through the fibers and effectively shrinks your hat.

Materials Needed:

  • Hot Shower


Step 1: Wear the cap and turn on the shower

Turn the hot shower to a temperature you can bathe. Put on your cap. Allow the cap to be soaked during the shower.  During this shower, your polyester cap starts shrinking and adapts to your head size.

Step 2: Do it Regularly for Effective Results

After the shower, take off the cap and let it dry. Make sure to dap the water gently by using a clean towel. You can also throw it in a dryer or use a hairdryer to dry and shrink more.

Could Any of the Methods Cause Damage to the Hat?

The above-mentioned methods are the best methods to get effective results when shrinking a polyester hat. Polyester is a synthetic fabric that can tolerate high heat and hot water. However, MAKE SURE you don’t expose your hat to hot temperatures for too long, more than 20 minutes. Check your hat from time to time during the process.

How to Care for a Polyester Hat?

  • Don’t forget to use baseball hat washing cages when you want to shrink  ball caps with a washing machine. Hat cages are not only used for washing but also drying and used as hat shapers during traveling.
  • Keep hats in hat boxes in a cool, dry environment without any exposure to direct sunlight. Remember, direct sunlight can fade your cap and affect its quality.
  • Last but not least, after every usage, simply wipe them with clean wet towels on the inner lining, especially the sweatband. Let them dry and freshen up for the next usage. Wash them once or twice a week if you’re a regular user.
Shrink Polyester Hats and Make it Smaller

Final Thoughts

As mentioned earlier, polyester is an artificial fabric, which generally has high heat-resistant properties. So, shrinking polyester hats with hot temperatures is a safe option. By now, you might have come across different methods on how to shrink your polyester hat and also how you should maintain their shape for a long time! So, why are you still waiting on the fence? Choose the method you like and give it a go before you’re going to wear your favorite shabby cap for the next time!

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