Top Tips For Removing Unsightly Sweat Stains From Your Caps

Posted on June 05 2019

Sweat stains. So gross, but so typical. What's a person to do when their absolutely favorite hat is seemingly ruined, just because they happen to perspire a little bit?

Never fear. We've got a handful of suggestions that can refresh and revitalize your favorite cap, even if it's got sweat stains. What you want to keep in mind here, however, is that a hat can be destroyed far beyond sweat stains if the wrong cleaning method is used. So always proceed with caution!

Top Tips For Removing Unsightly Sweat Stains From Your Caps

General Tips

Before we get into specific methods, and before you wash that cap, let's take a look at some general rules of practice:

  • Make sure your hat is color fast
  • Take a look at the washing instructions from the manufacturer and follow them to a T
  • Check to see what the hat is made of (material)
  • When drying your hat, do not do so in direct sunlight
  • If you wash your hat in the dishwasher, do not wash along with dirty dishes. Don't wash it with dirty clothes if you put them in the washing machine. Caps should be washed alone.
  • Never put your hat in the dryer
  • Don't use a bleach-containing detergent or bleach itself


Enzyme Treatment

With an enzyme-based cleaner, mix warm water and fully dissolve the cleaner. Soak your polyester blend or cotton hat for about 20 minutes in the mixture – more if you have stubborn stains. Then hand wash the hat or follow the washing machine instructions below (see Machine Wash).

Dry Cleaning

Certain hats don't take well to water. That's where dry cleaning can come in, but not all hats are dry cleanable. To rid sweat stains from cowboy hats and other felt hats, dry cleaning could be the answer. Make sure that the drycleaner you take your hat to has hat cleaning experience, however. A haberdasher may be able to remove sweat stains from hats that cannot be dry cleaned.

Machine Wash

This is going to be similar to the cage/dishwasher method below. A hat rack or cage must be used to make sure that the cap keeps its form. No bleach should be used, only use the gentle cycle, and be sure to use cold water. After rinsing, air dry on a towel.

Spot Treatment

Particularly effective for leather caps because you don't want to soak them, but not good for felt hats. Soiled areas should be pretreated, then a mixed cleaning solution can be added to cool water in a container. With a clean cloth, rub some of the washing solution on the stains you want to get rid of. For sweat stains, use individual unused spots of the cleaning cloth. Sweat stains may react better if you apply a tablespoon of white vinegar to the stains before washing. When done, rinse with cold water and air dry.


Though people may not think of this method, it works well. Particularly so, in fact, on sweat stains. Do not use this method if the brim is made of cardboard. This method should work on a blend of polyester fabrics, jersey mesh, or a hat made of cotton. You will need a baseball cap rack or a cap cage. Place the hat in the cap rack and put it on the top rack of the dishwasher. Detergent should not contain bleach. Use the cold water cycle and do not use the dry option. When it's done, reshape the hat by hand, and dry it on a towel.


For most caps, this is the best method. Add a tablespoon of your favorite detergent to a bucket filled with warm water. Before putting your hat into the mixture, spot treats stains. Swish the hat around in the wash water, let it sit for a while stirring occasionally, then remove it and rinse with cold water. The hat should air dry, possibly for 24 hours or more.

Sure, we at Hat Heaven want you to buy our hats. But we understand that you have your favorites and want to keep them looking as good as the day you got them. That's why we offer helpful pieces like this one. Eventually, you will be in the market for a new cap, however. When that time comes, be sure to check out the vast array of choices available at Hat Heaven.


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