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Your well-loved hat may start to stink with enough wear and tear. But just because a hat develops an odor doesn’t mean you need to throw it away. Instead, you can combat stinky smells and remove oils and dirt from your hat by cleaning it occasionally.
Many people hesitate to wash hats because they don’t know how. While some hats can go in a washing machine, other types of hats won’t survive immersion in water or the spin cycle.
Why You Should Read the Care Tag
A lot of people hesitate to wash their hats because they’re unsure of the proper method. Most hats come with a care tag inside that provides washing instructions. If the tag indicates that machine washing is safe, you’re in luck! If not, or if your hat lacks a tag, hand-washing is the safest option.
How to Hand Wash a Hat
Most custom caps, particularly custom baseball caps, should be washed by hand. Otherwise, the hat could lose its shape, shrink, or the brim could become ruined.
For hats that are marked to be washed by hand, follow these steps:
- Pre-treat any stained areas of the hat by rubbing the spot with laundry detergent.
- Use a damp cloth with mild detergent to rub and clean areas inside the hat to prevent the outside colors from being affected by the cleaning.
- Rinse the cap to remove all the detergent. For most hats, it’s best to use cold water instead of warm.
- Let your hat air dry. You can dry your hat on a hat stand if you need to retain its shape.
How to Machine Wash a Hat
For hats that can be washed in a washing machine, do the following:
- Pre-treat any areas of your hat that may be soiled by rubbing them with stain remover. Before using a detergent, test it on some hidden areas of your hat to ensure the fabric’s color won’t fade.
- Wash the hat in the washing machine on a gentle cycle to prevent the cap from becoming deformed.
- Once the cap is washed, air dry it.
For hats made with certain materials, you will want to specifically look at how that fabric needs to be washed or if it needs to be dry cleaned.
For example, when cleaning a custom wool hat, it’s important to keep in mind that the wool needs to be washed gently. Wool hats, especially ones with brims, should be washed by hand.
How to Clean a Wool Hat
For cleaning a wool hat, do the following:
- Fill a large bowl with lukewarm water and mix with a laundry detergent meant to treat wool. Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands while performing the cleaning.
- Put your wool hat into the bowl and swish it around in the water to make sure it becomes saturated with the water. Wool stretches out easily, so ensure you are gentle when handling your hat.
- Let your hat soak to loosen any stains, then rub stained areas with your fingers to help lift the stains.
- Once you’re done cleaning the hat, remove it and lay it flat to air dry. Never put your wool hat in the dryer, as it could shrink.
- When the hat is damp but not completely dry, take some time to reshape the hat if necessary.
Hats can be beloved accessories, so make sure you clean them as often as needed, using great care to preserve their fabric, color, and shape.
Optimal Water Temperature for Washing a Hat
The water temperature can significantly affect the outcome when washing your hat. Here are some guidelines for selecting the ideal water temperature:
- Cold Water: This is the safest option for most hats, especially those with mixed colors, to prevent dye from bleeding. Cold water is also less likely to cause shrinkage.
- Lukewarm Water: Some fabrics, like wool, may benefit from lukewarm water as it can help loosen dirt and oils more effectively than cold water.
- Avoid Hot Water: Hot water can cause colors to fade and may lead to shrinkage, especially in hats made of natural fibers like cotton.
- Read the Care Tag: Always consult the care tag for specific temperature recommendations, as some materials may have unique requirements.
Using the correct water temperature will ensure your hat lasts longer and is clean after the wash.
Problems to Avoid When Cleaning a Stinky Hat
Before you dive into cleaning your hat, there are a few warnings and tips to keep in mind to ensure you don’t inadvertently damage your prized headgear:
- Detergent Choices: Avoid detergents with bleach or harsh chemicals, as these can ruin your hat’s color and fabric.
- Old or Fragile Hats: If your hat is vintage or appears fragile, consider taking it to a professional cleaner. Aggressive cleaning methods could cause irreversible damage.
- Check for Colorfastness: Before applying any cleaning agent, test it on a small, inconspicuous area of the hat to ensure it doesn’t cause color fading.
- Water Temperature: Using hot water can lead to color bleeding or shrinkage. Always opt for cold or lukewarm water unless specified otherwise.
- Drying: Never use a clothes dryer for your hats, as high heat can cause shrinking or warping. Air-drying is usually the safest option.
- Material-Specific Care: Some materials are more delicate than others. For example, wool and certain synthetic materials may require specialized detergents and techniques.
Follow these guidelines to avoid problems when washing your baseball cap.
Covering one’s head to avoid dust can be beautifully done with fashionable hats that make girls look chick and boys feel good about themselves. An everyday hat can get dirty and stinky, but you don’t need to throw it away immediately because cleaning it thoroughly can make it useful again. This infographic will help you clean your favorite hats.