How to Clean a White Hat

How to Clean a White Hat

If you’re wondering how to clean a white hat or even a light colored hat, then know that you’re about to add a handy skill to your hat-keeping repertoire. Cleaning a white hat can be a bit intimidating. Some people wish to just throw their hats in their washing machine, but this may not be the best idea depending on what type of hat you have. 

In this article we’re going to go over the best cleaning method for each hat, and a very simple way to determine the best option for your specific hat. The information in this article will also work for our light-colored hats, such as our Sierra-Gray and Rockhopper-Teal trucker hats.

First, Determine How to Clean a White Hat (and if You Even Need To)

White hat from banner and oak.

Your hat may have collected some dirt and residue over the months. Or perhaps your hat has succumbed to a slightly displeasing scent from sitting on your sweaty head. Here’s what to do.

First, have a close look at your hat. Is it dirty? Is the entire hat in need of a wash? Or are there only a few spots that need a good scrubbing?

Slow Down and Check the Label! 

Your hat is made of specific materials and thus needs specific care. It’s possible that your hat comes with a label with cleaning instructions. If this is the case, then you’re in luck. Some likely things it will say are “machine wash” or “dry clean only” or “hand wash.” It may also contain drying instructions.

Forget Bleach and the Dishwasher Altogether

When cleaning a white hat, bleach may be your first thought. A quick warning: Don’t use bleach. Bleach is heavy stuff and can easily erode the material of your hat. Also, bleach has the ability to make a problematic stain into an even worse one. 

Also, if your label claims your best bet is to hand wash your hat, then you may be tempted to throw it in your dishwasher for an hour and come back to a brand-new looking hat. 

Though this may be tempting, we don’t suggest it. Dishwashing your hat can warp, discolor, or shrink your hat. This is due to the intricate hot water and extremely hot drying cycles that exist in most dishwashers. 

Note: There are safe ways to wash a hat in the dishwasher (we can go over this in later articles), but for the sake of safely cleaning your white hat, let’s stick to more reliable methods for now. 

Get Ready to Wash!

Even if your white hat doesn’t contain washing instructions, we’ve got your back! Let’s get into two popular options for those wondering how to clean a white hat. In each section, we’ll go over what hat types to use for each washing method for.

Machine Washing Your White Hat

Women wearing white beanie in the snow. This type of hat may be able to be run in the washing machine.

This method is useful for cotton baseball hats and beanies.

  1. To machine wash your hat, use a stain remover beforehand as needed (not bleach!). Ensure whatever you use is color safe. 
  2. Wash the white hat with a small load of white laundry. This can help protect your hat. Make sure you use cold water and a delicate setting on your washer machine. 
  3. Hang dry.

Hand-Washing Your White Hat

Hand-washing is great for a variety of materials including cotton, synthetic materials, and even wool.

  1. For hand-washing cotton or synthetic hats, use a large bowl or sink and fill it with water. The key here is to stir in some baking soda (table spoon), hydrogen peroxide (1 cup), and some detergent. This is a great synergy of ingredients for cleaning your hat. For washing wool, use detergent that’s specifically for wool, such as Woolite. 
  2. Submerge that hat for around 45 minutes. 
  3. With a small brush, scrub away any tough stains as needed. Be very careful if working with a wool hat. 
  4. Give your hat a final rinse before gently squeezing excess water out of your hat. Avoid wringing-out the hat. 
  5. Let the hat dry in the open air for around 24 hours.

If you need to spot-clean your hat, use a similar mixture to the one above. Dip a soft-bristle brush or white washcloth into the mixture, gently scrub the stain(s), rinse the area gently with water, and then air-dry the hat. 

Final thoughts

Hopefully this article took any intimidation away from the thought of successfully cleaning your white hat! It’s not too difficult of a task once you have the right knowledge and supplies. Cheers to you and your fresh, new-looking white hat!