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How to wash a hat: Tips and tricks

How to wash a hat: Tips and tricks

In addition to looking great, hats also help us in our time of need when we’re having anything but a good hair day. But it’s no surprise that after sporting your headgear for a while, signs of wear begin to show. Whether they’re sweat stains you’re starting to notice or a bird that used you as target practice, don’t fear: your headpiece will be good as new after a quick wash. But how exactly do you wash your hat?

Check your hat for colourfastness

The last thing you want is for your fire engine red hat to come out of the washing machine a pale pink colour. And just think of all the poor white socks! So before you hastily wash your headgear, check to make sure the colour will stay put. With most newer hats, you won’t have anything to worry about, but it’s best to err on the side of caution and test them just in case.

There are two ways you can check for colourfastness. The first method is to simply rub the hat forcefully on a white sheet of paper. If no colour transfers to the paper, your hat’s good to go in the laundry. The other way you can check is by taking a white piece of fabric, dipping it in a mild detergent, adding some water and rubbing it on the inside of the cap. If the area doesn’t fade and there’s nothing to be seen on the white piece of fabric, then you’ve got the green light.  

How to wash a hat in the washing machine

You obviously don’t want your hat to shrink or get damaged, so check the label to make sure it’s actually suitable for machine washing. Some hats will say 'dry-clean only' so we’re afraid we can’t help you any further. For anything else, read on to find out how to wash your hat depending on its material!

What is your hat made of?

Straw: This is a no-no unless you want to see the complete disintegration of your beautiful sun hat.

Washable Wool: There is a danger that your beanie could lose its shape as it swirls around the washing machine. To prevent this, place the hat in a pillowcase that’s properly sealed so it doesn’t fall out mid-cycle.

Cotton: Cotton hats are fine for withstanding a wash cycle since the fabric construction and combination of fibre make cotton extra easy to clean. It may shrink a little so it’s best to wash it at low temperatures with a detergent like Cold Power that’s made specifically for 30°C washes.

Synthetic: Synthetic materials such as acrylic or mesh are usually fine to be thrown in the washing machine since the material is durable and the colours won’t bleed. However, if you happen to have a vintage baseball cap, check whether the brim is made of cardboard. If so, don’t let it anywhere near a washing machine.

Now that you’ve determined if your prized possession can cope with a few cycles, take a look at these tips on how to wash a hat in the washing machine.

Tips for the washing machine

  • Use a laundry detergent specifically made for wool fabric, and a non-bleach mild detergent for everything else.
  • If it’s possible to change the temperature on your washing machine, put it on the cold/cool setting since the hot setting can cause fabrics to fade. The gentlest cycle also helps ensure no damage is incurred. We recommend Cold Power Dual Caps, which give an outstanding clean even in cold water.
  • If the inside of your hat has a couple of sweat stains, it’s best to pre-treat them with a non-bleach stain remover like Sard Wonder and let it work its magic for 60 seconds before it goes into the wash.
  • Don’t tumble-dry the hat as this could cause it to lose its shape. Your best bet is to let it air dry by placing it on a clean towel away from direct sunlight, which could fade the colours. Alternatively, place it over something round to help it retain its shape while it dries. 

Now you know how to wash your hat, our other articles on laundry might interest you, such as laundry sorting, how to do laundry, and how to wash polyester.