best way to clean hats

How to Clean Different Types of Hats

Wondering how to wash a hat without ruining it? From fedoras to bucket hats, discover how to wash every type of hat by hand.

The 30 Days of Cleaning with Puracy

Wondering how to wash a hat without ruining it? From fedoras to bucket hats, discover how to wash every type of hat by hand.

Maybe it's a baseball cap of your home team, a sunhat that’s perfect for getaways, or a vintage bucket hat. Whatever the case, if you're wondering how to wash a hat by hand, different materials require different cleaning methods. Our step-by-step instructions are here to help you wash and preserve your favorite accessories. 

Cleaning Bucket Hats and Baseball Caps

These are the easiest types of hat to wash. Most are made of cotton or nylon and they’re fairly durable (with sturdy stitching instead of adhesive). You can either wash these hats by hand or throw them in the washing machine.

How to Wash a Bucket Hat or Baseball Hat by Hand

What You’ll Need

1. Start with a Natural Stain Remover

After testing an inconspicuous area first, apply Natural Stain Remover. Wait at least 15 minutes, though 8 hours provides enough time for the plant-based enzymes to break down stains. Remember: The longer it sits, the better it works.

2. Scrub Stains & Soak

Gently agitate the stained areas with a soft-bristled laundry brush, which is effective yet gentle on fabrics.

Add a couple drops of Laundry Detergent to warm water, mix, and let your hat sit for about 10-20 minutes.

3. Scrub and Soak Again

Use the same detailing brush to thoroughly scrub down the rest of your hat. Submerge your hat in the water and let it sit for 5-10 minutes.

4. Rinse & Dry

After 10 minutes, rinse your hat under cold or warm running water. The "balled-up paper towel method" works well to increase the drying process. 

Pro tip: You can only wash a baseball hat in the washer if its brim is not made from cardboard. If you flick the brim and hear a hollow sound, it’s made from cardboard. Never put a baseball hat in the dryer and avoid using a hair dryer to dry it, as this can set stains deeper into fibers.

How to Clean a White Hat

What You’ll Need:

  • Laundry Detergent
  • Stain Remover

1. Create a Solution

Fill a sink or tub with cool water if you're washing wool or felt and warm (not hot) water for cotton. Add a tablespoon of detergent.

2. Soak and Scrub

Let the hat soak and gently scrub it in the solution.

3. Spot Clean Stains

Spot clean stains by gently scrubbing in stain remover, letting it sit for up 15 minutes. 

4. Rinse

Rinse the hat using clean water and by submerging the hat and gently scrubbing until the water runs clear.

5. Dry

Air dry your hat.

How to Wash a Hat in the Washer

What You’ll Need:

  • Stain Remover
  • Laundry Brush
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Paper Towels

1. Pre-Treat Stains

A washing machine won’t get all of the  “baked-on” stains out, especially on the sweatband. For something a bit stronger, spray the affected area(s) with our 98.95% Natural Stain Remover, scrub with a detailing brush, and wait up to 8 hours.

2. How to Wash a Hat with a Hat Cage

Use a protective plastic hat cage to ensure that your cap keeps its shape in the washing machine. If you don't have one, stick to washing your hat by hand.

3. Run a Laundry Cycle

The plant enzymes in Puracy Natural Laundry Detergent safely target stains and odors on all washable fabrics. Pop your hat in a normal laundry load with similar colors and you'll see stains disappear. Be sure to use a gentle or delicate cycle.

4. Dry Your Hat

We love balled-up paper towels for two distinct reasons: They soak up moisture and help retain your cap's original shape.

Pro tip: Avoid using products that feature bleach, as this can fade or discolor dyes and other colors.

How to Clean a Hat That Says "Do Not Wash"

Items like fedoras, woolen caps, and cowboy hats need to be washed by hand (though they don’t usually require pretreating stains). If your hat is decorated with any ribbons, pins, or removable leather straps, take them off first and clean them separately.

What You’ll Need:

  • Vacuum with upholstery brush
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Boar hair detail brush
  • Paper towels

1. Break out the Vacuum

Wool and felt tend to attract dust, skin cells, and dandruff particles. Before introducing water, use your vacuum’s upholstery brush (or handheld vacuum) to remove as many particles as you can.

Pro tip: If your hat is made from a delicate fabric, you can use a lint roller or a soft bristle brush instead.

2. Focus on the Dirtiest Places

Note any particularly dirty areas, especially around the brim (where sweat tends to build up).

3. Start Washing

Choose a bucket or large bowl that’s large enough for your hat and fill with warm water. Add a few drops of a Natural Laundry Detergent, swish to combine, and completely submerge your hat for 5-10 minutes.

4. Scrub If You Need to

Pull the hat out of the water and gently agitate the dirtier areas with a boar hair detailing brush (these natural fibers are ideal for wool and felt).

5. Soak Again

After light scrubbing, submerge the hat in the water again. Wait another 5-10 minutes.

6. Rinse Thoroughly & Dry

Remove the hat from the water and thoroughly rinse it under cold/warm running water. Don’t shake or wring it out as this can disfigure the shape. Instead, ball up paper towels or newspaper, stuff them up into the crown, and allow your hat to air dry.

Pro tip: If your hat is wrinkled, avoid using an iron or steamer, as this can lead to discoloration. Reshape a hat by hat or by using a hat cage.

How to Wash a Sun Hat

Never get sun hats completely wet as they can quickly lose their shape or even fall apart. Before cleaning, use a damp cloth to test a small, inconspicuous area.

What you’ll Need:

1. Remove Excess Dust

Vacuum your hat inside and out to remove loose particles. We recommend a bristle brush attachment.

2. Spot-Treat

Fill a small bowl with warm water, add a few drops of Puracy Natural Dish Soap, and stir to combine. Wet and wring out a microfiber cleaning cloth. Focus on visible spots and gently rub with overlapping, circular motions.

3. Air Dry

Use the same balled-up newspaper/paper towel technique as before. Avoid placing damp straw in direct sunlight as it dries.

Pro tip: Any ribbons, bows, or decorations should be removed before cleaning.

How to Wash a Hat in the Dishwasher

What You'll Need:

1. Pre-treat Stains

Pre-treat any stains with Stain Remover and let it sit for up to 15 minutes.

2. Place in Dishwasher

Place the hat on the top rack of the dishwasher, and if possible, place it in a dishwasher-safe hat washing container.

3. Choose Detergent

Insert natural dishwasher detergent. Be sure it does not contain bleach and is unscented.

4. Run Dishwasher Cycle

Run the cycle using warm (not hot) water. Turn off the heat dry option.

5. Air Dry

Place the hat on a flat surface to dry. If the fabric is loose or flimsy, place the hat on an overturned bowl to retain its shape.

Pro tip: Hats made from leather, straw, or suede should never be put in the dishwasher or washing machine.

How to Wash Sweat Stains

What You'll Need

  • Stain Remover
  • Laundry Brush
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Paper towels

1. Pre-treat Stain

Gentle scrub stain remover directly on the affected area and let it sit for up to 15 minutes.

2. Make the Solution

Mix cool water and a tablespoon of laundry detergent.

3. Clean the Hat

Use a laundry brush to clean the affected areas with the solution.

4. Repeat as Necessary

Repeat steps 1-3 until stain is removed.

5. Air Dry

Allow the hat to air dry, using balled up paper towels to help the hat retain its shape.

Pro tip: You can also make a stain removing paste using ½ cup of baking soda, 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide.

The Best Way to Clean Hats Starts with Clean Ingredients

Puracy Stain Remover's formula was developed for sensitive skin, yet it eradicates virtually all stains, odors, sweat, and dirt on all washable fabric. And when it's paired with the enzymatic cleaning power of our Natural Laundry Detergent, there’s literally no end to the stain-fighting possibilities!