How to Wash Hats in a Washing Machine? (Ultimate Guide)

Washing a hat or a baseball cap can be challenging.

Not all hats are made equal.

Some are made out of synthetic while others are made out of cotton OR wool.

So depending on the type of material used to make the hat, there can be different ways to wash them.

Once you have figured out the type of material that your hat is made out of, it should be easy to wash them.

Washing hats in the washing machine is a surprisingly simple task as long as you have read the care label thoroughly.

If your hat qualifies for machine wash, simply put them in a mesh laundry bag and pop them into the machine, using a low setting to avoid shrinking, and run through a normal cycle.

You can add a mild detergent to the wash if you like, but it’s not strictly necessary.

In this article, we will show you the steps involved in washing a hat in a washing machine.

Here’s the list of items that this article covers.

What types of hats can be machine washed?

Most hats can be machine washed, but it is always best to check the care label before washing.

Hats made of delicate materials, such as straw or wool, should be hand washed.

Likewise, hats made with leather should be cleaned with proper care and suitable cleaning solutions.

Washing hats made with leather are not recommended for machine wash.

With that said, hats made of cotton and synthetic materials are considered to be durable enough to withstand machine wash.

How to wash hats in the washing machine?

Start by presoaking the hats before machine washing for better results.

If your hat is heavily soiled you may need to spot clean them before putting them in the washing machine.

So, you may need to apply a gentle stain remover OR a suitable cleaning solution and leave it for a few minutes.

This will loosen the stain particles and make it easy to remove them during the wash cycle.

Apply a few drops of water mixed with detergent to dampen the dirty area and scrub it gently using a soft brush or a piece of cloth.

In order to pretreat the hat, you may follow the below steps.

  • Simply fill a bowl with warm water and add a mild detergent or a soap. 
  • Place the hat to completely submerge with the solution for 10 minutes.
  • Gently scrub the dirty area with a soft toothbrush or Towel.
  • Remove the hat and rinse with clean water.

Now it is time to load the hat into the washing machine.

Steps to wash hats in the washing.

Step 1: Before washing your hat in the washing machine, check the label for specific care instructions. It’s extremely important to know the type of brim your hat has.

Step 2: For added protection place your hat in a mesh laundry bag. As an alternative, you may use a pillowcase to protect it during the washing cycle.

Note – You can wash the hat with a mixed load of delicates. Here you can place the loads in different laundry mesh bags. Also, do not add too much load when washing a hat as it may lose its shape during agitation. Always use minimum laundry loads while you wash your hat in a washing machine. 

Step 3: Once you have put the hat inside a mesh laundry bag, add a mild detergent or a suitable solution to the washing machine. Do not add excess detergent, add it as per the fabrics requirements.

Step 4: Set your washing machine to the delicate cycle and always use the cold water setting.

Step 5: Run the wash program and you can use the short wash cycle duration if available. 

Step 6: Allow the hat to air dry or if you are using a clothes dryer, then always tumble dry using the delicates cycle and the lowest heat setting.

Step 7: Once you are done drying the hat, The last step is to reshape them.

Note: The process to wash baseball hats will be the same unless the care label recommends a different washing method.

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Quick graphical illustration on washing hats in washing machine

wash hat in washing machine

How to hand wash a hat?

Hand washing a hat is an easy task and it is a preferred way to do so.

This is because it takes less time and ensures that the process is completely under your control.

Hand washing a hat will make sure that it does not lose its shape. 

Simply follow these steps to get a clean hat.

Step 1: Fill a bowl with warm water and add a small amount of laundry detergent. You may simply add half a spoon of mild detergent. 

Step 2: Make sure the water is mixed with the detergent in the bowl. Now, put your hat in the bowl and let it soak in the mixture for around five minutes.

Step 3: Gently agitate the hat using your hands and give a soft press.

Step 4: Drain the water from the bowl and refill the bowl with clean and warm water. And, then Agitate the hat for a few seconds in the clean water until it’s clear from detergent or soap.

Step 5: Simply rinse the hat under running water and flick the cap to remove excess water.

Step 6: Now, wrap it with a towel to damp dry the hat. Let the hat rest wrapped in the towel for a few minutes and absorb excess water. Doing this will reduce the dry time and accelerate the drying process.

Step 7: For air drying, hang the hat on a clothesline using clips.

Also Read: How to wash a Down Jacket in Washing Machine?

How to clean a leather hat?

A leather hat is a prominent way to keep your head and neck warm in cold weather.

However, like any other piece of garment, it needs to be cleaned regularly.

Cleaning a leather hat is just like cleaning any other type of leather clothing.

If you keep the leather hats unclean for longer then you may notice the buildup of dirt, sweat, and oil.

Over time it will become difficult to clean them and can cause damage to the leather material.

The leather hats can be usually cleaned with mild soap and warm water.

After cleaning, apply a protective finish such as a coat of wax or an application of sealant.

If you have a hat that is made from sheepskin or cowhide, the best way to clean it is by using a mild leather cleaner and a damp cloth.

For caps made only from cowhide, you can also use a semi-gloss conditioner.

After cleaning the hat, avoid putting it in the sun or in direct sunlight because it can cause the leather to fade.

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How to care for your hats in the wash process?

To keep your hats looking their best, follow these simple tips.

  • Wash them on a gentle or delicate cycle, this will avoid damage to their material.
  • Leather hats should be washed with mild detergent and water.
  • Woolen and fleece hats can be air-dried or machine-dried.
  • It’s best not to machine wash woolen hats in order to avoid shrinkage.
  • Wrap the hats in a soft towel after every wash.
  • Prefer air drying for best results.
  • Don’t use fabric softener or dryer sheets and do not use bleach or other harsh chemicals. Doing this will damage the hat’s fabric.
  • Avoid tumble drying or ironing the hat, instead air dry the hat.

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Final Thoughts

It is relatively easy and safe to wash your favorite baseball cap OR hat in a washer.

Cleaning your hat can be done using a washing machine depending on the material used, most likely newer hats will have brims made of plastic, thereby making them machine washable.

And it’s ok to fold the hat in half so that it fits inside your machine’s small drum and the mesh bag. However, do not fold them in a way that makes them lose shape.

For leather hats, you will have to be very careful and it’s recommended to use leather-safe cleaning solutions.

Lastly, remember that some hand knit hats may not qualify for machine wash, not all hand-knit hats are made of resilient material, therefore refer to the care label before deciding on the washing approach.

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Frequently Asked Question

Here are some common questions related to washing a hat that is frequently asked.

Can I dry a hat in a clothes dryer?

Yes, you can dry your hat in the clothes dryer, but you should use the lowest heat setting to avoid any damage to its material. Make sure to take a look at the care label before you load the hat into your clothes dryer. You may need to run the dryer with no heat and gentle tumble settings for some fabric types.

What is the best method of washing a hat?

It is always best to wash or clean your hats by hand. This ensures proper cleaning with care and this method can avoid any unexpected damage.

How to clean a baseball cap in a Washing Machine?

To clean a baseball cap in a washing machine, first, remove any loose dirt or debris from the surface of the cap. Next, place the cap in a mesh laundry bag or pillowcase and wash it on a gentle cycle with warm water and mild detergent. Once the cycle is complete, remove the cap and allow it to air dry.

How to spot clean a Hat?

To spot-clean a hat, first, identify the dirty areas and then pre-treat them with a stain remover.

Pour the stain remover on stained areas and gently rub the affected areas with a damp cloth or a soft toothbrush to work the stain remover into the fabric. And, let the hat sit for a few minutes, then rinse it with cool water.

Repeat this process until the stain is gone.

Manish Singh is an expert in electrical engineering with a Diploma in the field. With over 12 years of experience, he specializes in repairing music systems, washing machines, dryers, and other laundry-related appliances. His in-depth knowledge in electrical repairs and decent knowledge about garment care makes him a trusted authority in the field of appliance repair and laundry related topics. If you have any questions or need assistance with your appliances, you can reach out to Manish through email: manish.singh (at)