How to Wash a Hat in the Dishwasher (safely)

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Updated byPenny
How to Wash a Hat in the Dishwasher (safely)

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Are you looking for the best way to wash your favorite hat? Look no further!

A well-maintained hat not only looks great, but also lasts longer.

In this post, I will walk you through three of the best methods for washing a hat: using a dishwasher, washing machine, or handwashing.

Each method has its own benefits and drawbacks, and I’ll help you choose the one that works best for your hat.

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What is the best way to wash a hat?

When it comes to keeping your favorite hat clean and fresh, choosing the right washing method is key.

There are a few important factors to consider before selecting a washing method.

  1. The material. Different materials require different washing techniques, so it’s important to check the care label to determine the best approach. For example, a wool hat will need to be washed differently than a cotton hat.
  2. How dirty it is. If your hat has visible stains or dirt buildup, it may require a more thorough cleaning process. However, if your hat is only mildly soiled, a gentler washing method may be more appropriate.
  3. How delicate it is. Some hats, especially those with embellishments or delicate fabrics, require extra care when washing. It’s important to choose a washing method that won’t damage the hat’s delicate features.

Now, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each washing method to help you make the best choice for your hat.

Method Pros Cons
Dishwasher Quick and easy
Can clean multiple hats at once
Not suitable for all materials
May not effectively remove stubborn stains
Not suitable for hats with cardboard peaks.
Washing machine Can effectively clean hats
Can clean multiple hats at once
Allows for a more thorough cleaning process
Can be too rough for delicate hats
May cause damage to certain hat materials
Not suitable for hats with cardboard peaks.
Handwashing Allows for the most control over the washing process
Can be gentle on delicate hats
Can effectively remove stubborn stains
Can be time-consuming
May require special cleaning solutions or techniques
May not be suitable for all hat materials

Now let’s go through each method of washing your hat.

How to wash a hat in a dishwasher

baseball cap in dishwasher

Whilst I don’t recommend you wash clothing in a dishwasher. Washing a hat is the only exception.

Using a dishwasher to wash your hat is quick and easy. It can be a great option for hats that are made from durable materials that can withstand the heat and pressure of a dishwasher cycle.

Before you put your hat in the dishwasher, it’s important to take some precautions to ensure that it comes out clean and undamaged.

First, make sure that the peak of the hat is made from plastic, not cardboard. Cardboard peaks can be damaged by the heat and water of the dishwasher, so it’s important to avoid washing hats with cardboard peaks in the dishwasher.

Additionally, if your hat is very precious to you, you may want to consider handwashing it instead of using the dishwasher.

For this method, I recommend using a hat washer or hat cage.

A hat washer is a specialized cage that you can use to wash your hat in the dishwasher. The cage is designed to hold the hat in place during the washing cycle, preventing it from getting crushed or misshapen.

Hat Washer Cage Hat Washer Hat Cleaner for Baseball Caps Baseball Cap Washer Fit for Adults and Kids Hats (Black)
Hat Washer Cage Hat Washer Hat Cleaner for Baseball Caps Baseball Cap Washer Fit for Adults and Kids Hats (Black)

Here are the steps for washing a hat in the dishwasher:

Step 1 - Place the hat in a cage

If you are using a hat cage to wash your hat, place it inside. Make sure that it’s securely in place and won’t fall out during the washing cycle.

If you are not using a cage, put the hat directly on the top rack of the dishwasher.

Step 2 - Add a dishwasher tablet

Place a dishwasher tablet in the dishwasher, as you would normally do for dishes.

It’s important not to wash dishes in the dishwasher at the same time as your hat. Dishes can stain or damage your hat, so it’s best to wash your hat by itself.

Step 2 - Run a cool short cycle

Use a cool, short cycle to wash your hat. Avoid using high heat or a long cycle, as this can damage your hat.

Step 3 - Remove and reshape

Once the cycle is complete, remove the hat from the dishwasher and reshape it if necessary.

Allow the hat to air dry completely before wearing it again.

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How to wash a hat in the washing machine

inside a washing machine

Washing a hat in the washing machine can be a convenient way to clean multiple hats at once. However, it’s important to take care when washing hats in the machine to avoid damaging the material or the bill.

Here are tips to keep in mind when washing a hat in the washing machine:

  • Pre-treat any stains. Before washing the hat, pre-treat any stains or marks on the surface of the hat using a mild detergent or stain remover. Use a soft-bristled brush or cloth to gently scrub the stained area.
  • Choose the appropriate cycle. Select a gentle cycle on the washing machine, and use cold water to avoid shrinking or damaging the hat. Avoid using hot water or a high-speed spin cycle, as this can damage the hat.
  • Use a garment bag or hat cage. Place the hat in a garment bag or hat cage to protect it during the washing cycle. Avoid washing the hat with other clothes or items that could damage the hat.
  • Use a mild detergent. Add a small amount of mild detergent to the washing machine. Avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach, as these can damage the hat material.
  • Air dry the hat. After the washing cycle is complete, remove the hat from the garment bag or hat cage and reshape it with your hands. Place the hat on a clean towel or hat form to air dry. Avoid using heat to dry the hat, as this can cause the material to shrink or become misshapen.

How to handwash a hat

handwashing laundry

Handwashing is the best option for delicate hats that require a gentler cleaning process. It allows for more control over the washing process and is less likely to cause damage to the hat.

For older or vintage hats, it’s best to avoid soaking them and spot clean only. This is especially important for hats made before 1983, as they may have a cardboard bill instead of today’s more durable plastic.

You can check if your hat has a cardboard bill by flicking or tapping the bill - if it makes a hollow sound, it’s likely cardboard.

How to handwash a hat with a plastic bill

  1. Surface clean the hat. Before washing the hat, use a soft-bristled brush or cloth to remove any loose dirt or debris. This will make the washing process more effective and prevent dirt from getting embedded in the hat during washing.
  2. Soak the hat in water with detergent. Fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water and add a small amount of mild detergent. Gently swirl the water to create suds. Place the hat in the water and gently agitate it to distribute the suds evenly. Allow the hat to soak for several minutes.
  3. Rinse the hat thoroughly. After soaking, remove the hat from the water and rinse it thoroughly with lukewarm water. Avoid twisting or wringing the hat, as this can cause damage. Instead, gently squeeze the water out of the hat.
  4. Reshape the hat and air dry it. Once the hat is rinsed, reshape it to its original shape and size. You can stuff the hat with a towel or tissue paper to help it maintain its shape while it dries. Place the hat on a flat surface in a well-ventilated area and allow it to air dry completely.

How to handwash a hat with a cardboard bill

For vintage hats with a cardboard bill, it’s best to spot clean only.

  1. Dilute some detergent in water and use a small scrubbing brush or toothbrush and rub gently to remove stains.
  2. Then allow your hat to air dry.

How to get sweat stains out of a hat

Sweat stains are a common problem for hats, especially those that are worn frequently.

Here’s how to remove sweat stains from your hat:

  1. Use a mild detergent or stain remover. Apply a small amount of mild detergent or stain remover to the sweat stain. Avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach, as these can damage the hat material.
  2. Gently scrub the stain with a soft brush. Use a soft-bristled brush to gently scrub the stain. Be careful not to scrub too hard, as this can cause damage to the hat. Instead, use a gentle circular motion to work the detergent or stain remover into the stain.

Frequently asked questions

Can I use bleach to wash my hat?

It’s generally not recommended to use bleach to wash hats, as it can damage the hat material and cause discoloration.

Instead, use a mild detergent and follow the appropriate washing instructions for the hat material.

Can I put my hat in the dryer?

It’s generally not recommended to put hats in the dryer, as the heat can cause the hat to shrink or lose its shape.

Instead, reshape the hat and air dry it to avoid damage.

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Sparkling Penny

Penny | Sparkling Penny

Penny’s expert cleaning advice has been featured repeatedly by Homes and Gardens Magazine, and also at wikiHow, The Daily Express Newspaper, and Glam Magazine to name a few! SparklingPenny.com was founded in 2019 and has since helped millions of people achieve a cleaner living space.


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Learn how to wash your favorite hats in the dishwasher without causing damage - follow our step-by-step guide and keep your hats looking clean and fresh!