best way to clean hats

The Best Way to Clean 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.

Written by Tenley Haraldson. Reviewed by Sean Busch.

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. 

How to Wash a Bucket Hat or Baseball Cap

how to wash a bucket hat

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 Hat by Hand

These instructions are for cleaning bucket hats and baseball caps by hand

1. Start with a Natural Stain Remover

how to wash a white bucket hat


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 boar’s hair detailing brush which is effective yet gentle on fabrics.

Add a couple drops of Puracy 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. 

Can You Put a Hat in the Washer?

how to wash hats in washing machine

From rainstorms to hot sun to washing machines, your hats can withstand a lot. Apply the following steps to get them ship-shape:

1. Pre-Treat Stains

A washing machine won’t get all of the  “baked-on” stains out. 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

Puracy natural laundry detergent

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! 

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

How to Wash a Sun Hat

how to wash a sun hatNever 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.

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.

The Best Way to Clean Hats Starts with Clean Ingredients

how to wash bucket hat

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!