How To Clean a Baseball Cap – Ultimate size? Guide

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Stylish yet functional, the trusty baseball cap is the raw definition of a hybrid – and the crowning of any given outfit. Having been around since the late 1800s, there’s sound reason as to why they haven’t disappeared since. 

You’ll be pleased to know that cleaning your baseball cap is a straightforward affair – you just need to be thorough in identifying the materials of the cap before you get going. Then, once you’ve gathered the necessary cleaning products, well, mucky caps will be a thing of the past. Sorted.

New Era Boston Red Sox Cap

What you’ll need to clean a baseball cap

First off, it’ll help to have a couple of things handy whether you’re hand washing your cap or sticking it in the washing machine or the dishwasher. Yes, we said the dishwasher.

  • Non-bleach laundry detergent
  • Cleaning gloves
  • Toothbrush
  • Towel
  • OxiClean (or something similar)

If you have all of the above products, then you’re set.

Can you put caps in the washing machine?

Yes, you can put the majority of cotton and polyester baseball caps in the washing machine. But you can’t put caps with a cardboard brim in the washing machine. Take note.

Can I wash a cap in the dishwasher?

Also yes, you can even put your caps in the dishwasher to clean them. Again, not if you have a vintage hat with a cardboard brim. Trust us on this one. If you choose this route, it is also advised that you choose a cold water and gentle cycle setting to prevent the loss of shape or colour – and definitely make sure that you are using a non-bleach laundry detergent.

Carhartt WIP Trucker Cap

How to clean a baseball cap

How to spot clean a cap

  • Put on your cleaning gloves.
  • Using your toothbrush, dab some Oxi-Clean onto the more stubborn stains on the cap and gently start to scrub.
  • Blot away any excess liquid that amasses around the stain.
  • Leave to air dry, and then reassess.

How to hand wash a cap

  • Put on your cleaning gloves.
  • Fill up a bucket with water that’s on the verge of being warm. Add a tablespoon of non-bleach laundry detergent or OxiClean – the latter recommended for tougher stains.
  • Give the cap a good dunk in the bucket, pull it back out again, and place it on a dry surface.
  • Spot clean any stains if needed – see previous instructions above.
  • Let the hat soak in the cleaning solution for around an hour.
  • After that’s done rinse the hat off in clean water, place it somewhere dry, and let some of the excess moisture drip off of it.
  • Pat down the cap with a towel to remove any excess moisture, being careful to not hurt the structure of the cap and being sensitive around any embroidery.

How to wash a cap in the washing machine

  • Place your cap inside of a spare pillowcase.
  • Use non-bleach laundry detergent – this is important if you don’t want to damage the colour of your hat.
  • Ideally don’t put any other clothes in the wash with it.
  • Put the machine on a cold water gentle cycle.
  • When the cycle is complete, take out the cap from the pillowcase and let it air dry. For the majority of cotton, wool and polyester caps, you should avoid the dryer entirely.

The North Face Corduroy Cap

How to check the brim material of your cap

Most cap brims are either made from cardboard or plastic. Most vintage caps from 1983 or before will most likely be cardboard. To check this, flick or tap the brim of the cap – if it’s hollow, then it’s cardboard. If you’re still unsure, check the label – machine wash for plastic, hand wash for cardboard.

Should you dry clean baseball caps?

Dry cleaning baseball caps is not a good idea – as you can potentially damage the shape and structure of the cap.

How to wash caps with different materials


  • Check whether or not the brim of the cap is cardboard or plastic, if you don’t know check the label – this will tell you whether to hand or machine wash the cap.
  • If it’s dark corduroy, make sure to use cool water and keep it separate from any light garments. If it’s light corduroy, feel free to use warmer water. Again, keep them separate.


  • Is your cap made from wool? If so – hand washing is a must.
  • Make sure to wash the cap in cool water, with a gentle dose of non-bleach laundry detergent and let it soak for a few minutes.


  • If it’s a nylon cap, then hand washing is advised, but you can also machine wash if you want to.
  • Wash the cap in cool water with a gentle dose of non-bleach laundry detergent and let it soak for a few minutes.
  • Take it out again and spot wash any particular stains before drying. Afterwards, rinse thoroughly with cold water.

How to dry caps with different materials


  • You can tumble dry your corduroy cap on very low heat, this helps remove any extra moisture from the cap. You can also let it air dry for ten or so minutes before you put it in the dryer if you like.


  • Once washed, pat the cap with a towel to absorb the moisture before letting it air dry. Do not use a dryer.


  • Let your nylon cap air dry away from any direct sunlight, and with paper towel stuffing if you want to maintain the shape and colour of your nylon cap.

Check out our instructions on how to clean all of your other essentials on our blog.

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