You wear hats to protect your head from the sun, stay warm, or make a fashion statement. But no matter your reasons, hats are especially prone to getting dirty. The natural oils from your hair that accumulate on hats can attract more dirt and dust than you might think. So when it’s time to wash your hats (it’s probably time now) you want to do it right — without ruining them. There are several ways to get them clean, but lets take a look at the best way to clean common types of hats.
Baseball hats, or caps, are popular for both guys and girls. But no matter who’s wearing them, they’re great at catching more than second-looks. Between sweat and dirt (from sporting events or frequent wear) they can get pretty dirty, pretty fast. Sure, you could just throw them in the wash, but you run the risk of ruining the shape and structure. Our advice? Use a cap washer if you’re going to run them through the wash. You’ll help them stay in shape while getting them clean. Another idea is to run them through a cleaning cycle in the top rack of your dishwasher, but you’d still be better off to use the cap washer to hold their form.
2. Sun Hats
Nothing makes a statement like a big, floppy sun hat, but it’s bound to get dirty. For straw hats, remove any trim or sweat band that’s meant to detach — you can hand wash those separately. For the hat itself, a good rinse with your garden hose can usually remove any sweat, sand, or dirt, followed by an air-dry outside. If any sweat stains remain on light-colored straw, try mixing 1/2 teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide with an equal amount of warm water. For a darker straw hat, use 1/2 teaspoon of ammonia mixed with 1/4 cup warm water. Grab an old toothbrush and work the stain one small section at a time, then rinse again.
For fabric fedoras or similar style hats that may have sun lotion or other product on them, the top rack of your dishwasher can work just fine.
After washing, make sure your hats are totally dry before storing, so you don’t get that musty smell. If you’re not worried about fading colors, a couple of hours in the sun should be enough. However you wash your sun hats, pay special attention to maintaining the shape.
3. Knit Hats
Also known as beanies or winter hats, knit hats are awesome to keep your head warm or give your outfit the right touch. While most of us would probably toss these in the washing machine, it’s actually best to wash them by hand, and then line dry. Use a mild detergent for hand washables, such as Woolite. You only need a drop or two in a sink full of cool water. Make your bubbles first, then add the hat. Let it soak for a while, then swish and wring it out with your hands, being careful not to twist and ruin the shape. Then lay your hat flat to dry. If you like, you can stuff some plastic bags inside to keep the shape while it dries.
If you insist on using your washing machine, use a laundry bag meant for delicates. Use mild detergent on a soak cycle, then rinse and spin. Use the same process to let it air dry. Don’t put knit caps in the dryer, as they are prone to shrinkage.