Top Tips To Machine Wash Hats

Posted on October 11 2020

It's not always easy, keeping our beloved hats looking crisp, clean, and vibrant. If you have a lot of hats, or maybe just a couple of favorites that you wear over and over again, the question has surely arisen: "How can I keep my hats clean? Is it okay to machine wash hats?" The easy answer is – maybe. It all depends on the hat itself, whether or not you can machine wash it.

Clothes washing machine in laundry room interior

Body oils, sweat, and the environment in which you wear your hat all make it necessary, at one point or another, to launch a cleaning project. Whereas, handwashing or spot cleaning is always the preferred method, not all of us are patient enough (or have the time on our hands necessary) for such an undertaking. That's where machine washing comes in.

The Dangers of Machine Washing Your Hat

As suggested above, the type of hat in question, it's color fastness, the material from which it is made, etc. all go into determining whether or not a hat can be machine washed. If you're not careful, one or more of the following can be the result of machine washing a hat without taking the necessary care:

  • Fading
  • Shrinking
  • Shredding
  • Various types and levels of additional damage

Nobody wants any of that for their beloved caps. Let's look at some advice for those who want to try machine washing their favorite baseball cap.

It's All in the Label

This may seem elementary and unnecessary, but the best way to determine whether or not your hat can be machine washed is to read the label. You know what you have to do if the label says “dry clean only”. Be sure to follow any specific washing instructions, even if the hat’s label says “machine washable”.

What's Your Hat Made Of?

Certain materials just don't do well with machine washing.

  • Wool hats – The motion of a wash machine can destroy the shape of some handknit wool hats. You may be able to prevent this by placing the hat in a garment bag or pillowcase. Handwashing might be your best bet here.
  • Synthetic fabrics and cotton blends – Because colors don't typically run and the material is durable, machine washing can frequently be used to keep hats made from mesh, acrylic, other synthetic materials, and cotton polyester blends clean. However, your baseball cap may have a cardboard brim if it was created before the early 80s. These cannot be machine washed. Again, with vintage caps, hand washing is recommended. Even then you must take care with cardboard bills.
  • Cotton hats – A go around in the wash machine is probably safe for a natural fiber such as cotton. Marginal shrinkage may take place, so take care.
  • Straw hats – A washing machine is never, ever the place for these types of hats. The whole hat will be ruined if you throw a straw hat in the wash machine, no matter how sturdy you think it might be. Don't take the chance. Sometimes all that's needed is a soft cloth and a gentle wipe.

Ready for Fresh, Clean Hats?

At Hat Heaven, we have various styles of hats made by numerous manufacturers. Whether you want a sports logo on your hat, no logo at all, a cartoon character, or catchy saying, we’ve got the hat for you. Choose your favorite color or go with camouflage to shake things up a bit.


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