Having a bad hair day? Want to bring your fav team good luck? Trying to keep the sun out of your eyes? No matter the reason, you will most likely wear a baseball cap to serve all those purposes! But, what happens when it’s time to wash it? Chances are you will ruin it if you don’t know how to clean it properly. You see, yes, you can throw some newer ones in the washer machine, but dare you take the risk? Better play it safe and hand-wash baseball caps, be it new, old, or wool, and here is how!
1. New Baseball Caps
- Fill your sink with cool water, halfway through. As the water is running, pour detergent (a cap-full) into it. This should create soapy suds. Only be careful not to use any detergent that has bleach (read the labels) because you will discolor the cap.
- Take the cap and either spray or rub a pre-treatment (depending on the product you use) onto the most visible stains, such as sweat and accumulated dirt, on the cap.
- Place your cap in the water. Dip a clean towel in the water and scrub the stains of the cap away, until all dirt has been removed. Alternatively, you can also use an old toothbrush, which is perfect to scrub around the logo or anything printed on the cap. That aside, it is much easier to control where you clean with a toothbrush than with a cloth, but it’s up to you which to use.
- Drain the sink and wash the cap under cool water until all soap is removed, and the water comes off clear.
- Dry with hand towels (just a couple will do) and pack the inside of the cap in order to shape as it dries. There are also plastic cap formers for this job, so if you have one, you are more than welcome to use it.
- Place a towel on the floor and start a fan. Instead, you can leave it on a windowsill and let it dry naturally. In a few hours, your cap will be ready to get down to some more dirty business and new endeavors!
2. Caps with Stickers
The new era caps come with oh-so-fragile stickers that require some extra care to clean. In this case:
- Take some plastic wrap (a small piece should be enough) and tape it over the sticker. Try to leave as little as possible taped on the cap, so that you can wash most of it.
- Take a cup of warm water (only water, no soap) and dip a toothbrush in it.
- Scrub any sweat and dirt stains with the toothbrush. It is not recommended to use a towel as in with hand-washing new caps because you may ruin the color of the cap. However, if you do use a clean cloth, just be extra careful.
- In a large bowl, mix 7-8 cups of water with a ½ teaspoon of detergent. Again, no bleach. This solution will be your right hand to clean heavier stains. Just dip the toothbrush in the mixture you have made and gently scrub the stain.
- Dip the toothbrush in the clean water (not the detergent-water mixture) and rinse off the detergent, before you rinse the spot that you have just scrubbed with detergent.
- Now, it’s time to remove the plastic wrap from the sticker. Just let the cap air dry.
TIP: Got your cap very wet and are worried about it shrinking? If it is a sunny or summer day, you can as well place it on your head! It will dry to the exact shape of your head!
3. Old Baseball Caps
Before you do anything else, test it for colorfastness. To do that squirt a tiny drop of mild detergent on a washcloth that is running under some cool water. You may also squirt some Spray and Wash product where you have put the mild detergent; only make sure it is just a small amount. Rub the detergent on a small area of the cap – usually on the inside of the cap or any other hidden part, such as the underside of the brim. Rinse the area you have applied the detergent with a wet, clean cloth and let the cap air dry. That should be enough to tell you whether the cap’s color will change if you wash it or not. If there is no color change, you are free to use the detergent mixture to clean the cap safely.
Now, if you see discoloration, you will have to wash it with water to remove the stains. Be prepared to face a challenge when trying to clean sweat.
For the rest of the cap, you can use a washcloth and the detergent mixture. Make a nice soapy solution and dip the washcloth in, and then on rub the stains. Older baseball caps usually have more accumulated dirt on the headband, so focus on that area heavily.
Rinse with another clean washcloth that is dipped in cool water, until the cap is soap-free.
Let the cap air dry and place a balloon or anything else that is head-shaped in to retain the cap’s shape.
4. Wool Caps
- Rinse the cap under the water and with a washcloth and a very mild detergent (meant only for wool, nothing else) gently rub any stains out. First read the label on the detergent to see if it is for wool only or not.
TIP: Be careful how you treat the cap as any twist or hard rubbing can matte the wool and give it felt-like texture.
- Rinse the cap under cool water and place a clean towel on a flat surface.
- Roll the cap in the towel.
- Remove any excess water by patting the towel on the cap (always gently).
- Let the wool cap dry on your head to get in the shape of your head. If you feel this is too uncomfortable for you, you can also try the other methods described above.
Never put a cap (any kind of cap) in the dryer.
Always use bleach-free detergent and products that don’t contain whitening agents. Look at the labels.
Always use a white towel when drying light colored caps. This should help maintain the colors and prevent them from bleeding.