Here's How to Hand Wash a Hat

Here's How to Hand Wash a Hat

Chances are, your hat is going to get dirty at some point. Knowing how to wash a hat is an essential skill that will keep you looking fresh and save money in the long run. The good news is, washing a hat is easy, and your hat will look spanking new for years to come. Check out these tips on how to hand wash a hat.

How to Hand Wash a Hat

You can wash a hat in a few different ways (like washing a hat in the dishwasher). But washing a hat by hand is the safest and most effective way to get it clean. Follow these steps for how to hand wash a hat, and you'll be looking spiffy in no time.

What You’ll Need

  • A sink or bucket
  • Cool water
  • Mild detergent
  • A clean towel

Steps for How to Hand Wash a Hat

  1. Fill a sink or bucket with cool water.
  2. Add a tablespoon of mild laundry detergent. For wool, use a special detergent, like Woolite. For tough stains or cleaning a white hat, you can add a tablespoon of color-safe oxygen bleach (like OxiClean) to the soapy water.
  3. Use your hand to mix the detergent and water.
  4. Fully submerge the hat into the soapy water and hold it there until it's soaked.
  5. If there are stains, apply a dab of mild detergent directly to the stained area and softly scrub it with a toothbrush.
  6. Leave the hat to soak in the detergent solution. Soak it for about one hour (15 minutes if you're in a hurry). You can check it halfway through to see if the stains are coming out. If they aren't, repeat step five and keep soaking.
  7. When the hat is finished soaking, remove it from the detergent solution and rinse it by holding it under cool running water for a few minutes.
  8. Gently squeeze excess water from the hat.
  9. Pat the hat dry with a clean towel.
  10. Set the hat aside to air dry. You can help the hat keep its shape by placing a balled-up towel inside the hat.

Things to Avoid

  • Don't wash the hat in hot water. It can shrink the hat or cause colors to bleed.
  • Don't use chlorine bleach on the hat. It strips color from the hat and can damage the fabric.
  • If you don't have OxiClean for stains, you can mix the detergent solution with a tablespoon of baking soda and a cup of hydrogen peroxide. If the hat is wool, stick to a detergent like Woolite.
  • Don't wring, twist, or stretch the hat while it's wet.
  • Don't scrub stains too hard; it can cause the stitching to unravel. Be especially careful on the mesh panel of trucker hats.
  • For sweat stains, you can also use shampoo, which is intended to remove body oils.
  • Don't put the hat in direct sunlight while air drying. It can cause colors to fade. 
  • If you have an older hat with a cardboard bill, don't submerge it in water. Stick to spot-cleaning.
  • Don't put the hat in a dryer. It will shrink the hat or cause colors to fade.

No matter how dirty your hat is, you can get it looking brand new in a few short hours. Learning how to hand wash a hat is a valuable skill you'll take advantage of for the rest of your life.