Photo of person wearing denim baseball hat and headphones against coral pink background

Can you wash a baseball hat? 5 steps to a fresh hat.

Last Updated: July 23, 2021

A simple enough task yet not exactly intuitive, we at Grove have made things easy for you by creating a step-by-step guide on the best way to give your hat a quick wash or a full deep clean.

Around the mid-1850s, Americans began increasingly looking sunward for their amusement, and pop up and high fly joined the American lexicon. Baseball had entered our lives, and with it came the baseball hat.

Having gone through many rebirths since its first iterations, your baseball cap may not be the easiest item to clean. Whether your hat is vintage, wool, or brushed cotton, we at Grove have made things simple by creating a step-by-step guide of the best ways to give your hat a quick wash or a full deep clean.

How often should you wash your baseball hat?

Wearer’s choice. For some, it’s about embracing the beauty of imperfection, sun-bleached sweat-stains and all. For others, there's a simple joy to be had in the smell and touch of fresh, clean clothing.

Whatever your preference, here are a few things to keep in-mind before washing your hat:


Is your hat beginning to smell? An easy, largely hands-free 20 minutes could be all it takes to get rid of that foul stench. Head down to our quick wash guide for more.


Undesired stains can become lasting if not quickly addressed. The salt in our sweat, for example, if left for too long can permanently discolor and fade fabrics. If you’ve left your stains sitting for too long, it may be time for a wash.


For those particularly sensitive to their clothing, feel it out. If your hat feels too oily or dirty, it may be time to give it some love.

Things to consider before cleaning your hat

Is it colorfast?

  • Or has it been treated to hold onto its color through washing?
  • To test whether your hat is colorfast, apply a small amount of detergent to a white or light-colored cloth and dab at an inconspicuous part of the hat (such as the underside of the bill or inside of the sweatband). If the dye holds, the hat is considered colorfast and can be hand washed, yay!
  • If the color comes away easily, gently spot clean the hat instead, as best you can, with a microfiber cloth and warm water.

Is your hat vintage?

  • Certain vintage caps are constructed with cardboard brims rather than the flexible plastic found in most modern-day baseball hats. If the bill is cardboard, getting your hat wet is the last thing you’ll want to do. You can check if it is by tapping and listening for a hollow sound.
  • If you have a cardboard brim, try using a stain remover spray to spot clean the hat instead of a full wash.

Is your baseball cap made of wool?

  • If so, substitute a mild, wool-specific detergent for the cleaning steps below.
  • Also, keep in-mind when drying that wool easily loses its shape.
  • Consider wearing your cap damp for a few minutes (allowing it to retake the shape of your head) before placing it on a towel to air dry.

5 steps to quick wash a baseball hat

Photo of Dr. Bronner's castile soap bottle on table

If you're in a pinch: soak, rinse, dry, and go with these 5 steps.

1. Fill a sink or large bowl with warm water and a small amount of a gentle, non-chlorine based detergent (such as Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Liquid Soap).

2. Add a drop or two of pure, undiluted essential oil—such as tea tree, lemon or peppermint—to give your cap an extra lift.

3. Soak your hat for 20 minutes in the mixture.

4. Rinse it with warm water. Gently squeeze out excess water.

5. Reshape the hat and air dry.

  • Place the hat on top of a container that will allow proper airflow (such as an upside down coffee can) or hang to dry.
  • Watch out for dripping water. Put a towel underneath the hat while it dries.

How to deep clean your hat

Give your hat the love it needs to see more days on the trail, at the beach, and in the sun with the tips below.

Spot clean

  • Dip your hat in warm water.
  • Apply a small amount of a gentle non-chlorine based detergent to stains and use a soft-bristle toothbrush to lightly massage into fabric.
  • Allow laundry detergent to penetrate the stains for 5 minutes.

Follow quick wash steps 1–4 above.

  • For step 2, soak your hat for up to 2 hours.


Can you wash a baseball cap in the dishwasher or washing machine?

Although convenient, high-heat as well as tumbling (even on the gentle cycle), agitation, and dishwasher detergent (often containing bleach) can compromise the shape, structure, and color of your hat.

Washing by hand is best to extend the life of your favorite cap.

Final tips on cleaning baseball hats

Green toothbrush illustration
  • Address undesired stains immediately should they become permanent.
  • Make sure your hat is colorfast before handwashing with even a mild detergent.
  • Vintage hats can have cardboard bills. Verify yours doesn’t have it before getting it wet.
  • For wool hats, use a wool-specific cleaner and wash gently.
  • For non-wool caps, a mild, non-chlorine based detergent is best.
  • Adding a couple drops of pure, undiluted essential oil can add a boost to your day.
  • Repurpose an old, soft-bristle toothbrush for spot cleaning to reduce your impact on the environment.
  • Skip the dishwasher and washing machine to prolong the life of your hat.
Mrs. Meyers cleaning products and Grove Co. cleaning caddy

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