Clean and Care – A must for your baseball caps
A quick question before going into all that washing and scrubbing stuff; has your beloved cap ever left your side?
Don’t bother answering because if you are here, it automatically means they have been with you through thick and thin, and now is the time for you to return the favor!
Admit it, your baseball caps are not just on your head, but they have a place in your heart as well. And we can tell with a glance whether you are attached to them or not? If they are sweaty, dirty, and in a mess, it means you care about them more or less. The rough use is a sign that these headgears have seen you through many good and bad times.
However, if you don’t know how to clean a baseball cap, your beloved caps will become memories themselves instead of making memories. The reason is that while protecting you from dust, sweat, and grime, they gradually lose their shine.
So if you don’t want your favorite baseball caps to end up broken and beaten, take out some time and go through this cleaning guide. Fortunately for you, we have simplified the steps as we know cleaning is not your strongest side. (enough with the rhymes)
Let get to Business:
Setting the Scene
As with all cleaning methods, we will start by accumulating the supplies. The good news is, you will probably find all the materials and tools required to clean a baseball cap at your home. So no extra expense or trip to a store is needed, and you can start right away.
Washing machine: This is not a necessity as you can always handwash your caps. Handwashing is more gentle, but washing machines increase efficiency and reduce time. If you are machine washing, follow the manual given below for optimal results.
Hat form: Also known as baseball hat washers, these are used to preserve the hat’s shape while washing and drying. You can easily find them online. If you don’t possess these, you can use anything round-ish to replace it: Dry your cap on a tin or a folded towel, and it will work well, don’t dry it flat, or you will ruin its form
Soft-bristled brush: A brush is handy when it comes to scrubbing stubborn stains. Make sure to use an old nail brush or toothbrush because the bristles need to be soft or they will damage the fabric.
Towel: You cannot put your caps in the dryer, or they will end up being crumpled beyond recognition. So it’s best to dry them with a towel before placing them on a hat form to air-dry.
Laundry Detergent: Use heavy-duty enzymatic cleaners for best results. Our personal favorite is Tide Ultra Stain Release. If you don’t have it, use whatever you have on hand. Don’t use lemon-infused ones as they are acidic and can adversely affect color and fabric.
Stain remover: Detergents are not strong enough to tackle all stains. So for more potent stains, you need to bring out the big guns. Yes, We are advising you to keep a stain remover handy if your caps are next-level messy. OxiClean is our go-to product, but you can use anything that is easily accessible for you.
All-fabric bleach: This product is for killing bacterias and brightening purposes and is entirely optional. Unlike traditional bleach, it cleans without damage and is a non-toxic product. However, use it with caution.
Dissect the cap
Every type of cap requires some occasional upkeep, but you cannot wash all of them in a similar fashion. So before folding your sleeves and getting ready for the wash, learn more about your possession first. First of all, find out whether your cap is a recent creation or a vintage piece. This knowledge is critical as older brands (created before 1983) feature cardboard brims. Consequently, you cannot soak them in water, or they will get deformed, while today’s caps use durable plastics, making them machine-resistant.
Another thing to check is the durability and color-fastness of the material. If your caps are made of cotton, synthetic blends, or jersey, you are good to go as these fabrics are heavy-duty. To check if the material doesn’t bleed, rub a little bit of stain remover or detergent diluted with water on the inner portion and see if any shade comes away or not. If it does use only water for cleaning
Skip the dishwasher
If you have heard dishwasher miracles surrounding caps, cross them out right away. They are just myths and have no basis for them. (Your beloved caps are not synonyms with dishes, so please don’t punish them this way)
On the contrary, high heat from these machines can destroy the form of your favorite cap and shrink them as well. Moreover, dishwashing detergents are bleach-based, which not only damages the fibers but also fades the color. So we won’t recommend putting your cap in the dishwasher no matter how easy it sounds, as it is not worth the risk!
Gentle is the Key
In all walks of life, it is best to go for the gentlest option first. Thus when it comes to how to clean a baseball cap, you should first try washing your hat with your hands. If your cap is just mildly dirty, don’t straight away put it in a washing machine. Instead, go for a quick soak; maybe that’s all it needs.
But for severe stains, you can work your way up and pump the washing machine. We advise you to try the mildest cycle first, as some stains look daunting but disappear in just one rinse. If that fails, then go for heavy-duty methods
Pre-Treat for Stains Removal
Suppose you have specific areas on your cap that are exceptionally dirty, like sweatbands, its best to pre-treat these soiled areas with a stain remover before going for the final wash. This action allows the high concentration of enzymes to break apart harsh stain molecules making their removal quick and easy.
For pre-treatment, follow these steps:
- Make a potent mixture by mixing one scoop of stain remover in one pint of water.
- Spot-test on an inconspicuous area to ensure it doesn’t do any damage.
- If no adverse reaction, apply it to the stubborn stains with a soft-bristled brush
- Allow it to rest for 15 minutes, and then rinse the baseball cap thoroughly
Pre-Soak for Brightening
If you think your favorite cap looks duller than usual, don’t put it in the back of your wardrobe. Just take out 1 minute from your busy life and brighten it up. First, stir up a diluted mixture of oxygen-bleach by mixing it with warm water according to the package directions. Then submerge your cap fully in it, and let it soak overnight or at least for 3 hours if you are short on time. Your cap will end up looking like new, as the non-toxic enzymes of oxygen bleach will refresh the fabric.
The 2-types of How to clean a baseball cap
In this guide, we will mention 2 different methods on how to clean a baseball cap. The first one is for a quick refresh, while the second one goes for a much deeper clean. If you don’t have time and find your caps slightly dirty, go for the former. On the other hand, if yard work and outdoor duty have embedded grime and sweat inside your favorite piece, follow the latter.
- Take a bucket of cool water (not hot)
- Add few drops of detergent or 1 tablespoon of OxiClean
- Submerge your cap in it for 15 minutes
- Wash it thoroughly and gently dry it with a towel.
- Let it air dry on top of a hair form or circular object that mimics the shape of a head to reshape it.
- Pre-treat extra-dirty spots like we have mentioned above. Use a stronger detergent this time and use a brush to rub over stains in a circular motion.
- Soak the cap overnight but check it occasionally to scrub heavily soiled areas.
- Rinse it with cool water and dry it with a clean towel.
- Repeat the above steps if the stains remain.
- Let it air dry by putting it on a hair form or circular object to reshape that mimics the shape of a head to reshape it.
If you prefer washing machine over hand wash, then go by these rules to ensure that your cap’s size, form, and color remains intact:
- Detergent: Heavy-duty
- Cycle: Gentle
- Water Temperature: Cold
- Dryer setting: Never use a dryer
- Extra Treatments: Pre-treat stains
- Iron Settings: Never iron
Air-Dry and Air-Dry only!
We hope it’s clear by now that caps and heat don’t go well together, nor do caps and movement have the best relation. So don’t make the mistake of putting baseball caps in the dryer. You will end up having a distorted cap that would no longer fit your head.
Some quick tips
To make things easy for you, we are divulging some top tips that will make how to clean a baseball cap a lot easy for you. They are tried and tested for optimal results.
- For an autographed cap, set the ink first by covering the signature with white cloth and then ironing over it. The heat traps the ink into the fabric and prevents the signature from fading away.
- To remove perspiration stains, use hair shampoo instead of detergent or stain removal. It does wonder.
- Another trick to get rid of sweat stains comes right from your kitchen cabinet! Mix 4 spoons of baking soda with a quarter cup of cold water and apply to the soiled area. Let it rest for an hour, and then rinse with cool water.
- If you don’t have a stain remover, use distilled white vinegar instead. The acidity breaks down the buildup on the cap and works as a natural cleaner.
- While using soft-bristled brushes, be careful when brushing around seams and appliques to prevent dislodging of the stitches.
Blunders to avoid
Washing and cleaning are incomplete if you don’t make blunders. But to save you some quality caps, we are listing things that you should avoid at all costs. If you want your cap collection to remain intact; make sure you don’t repeat the same mistakes we did when we first joined this league (we learned through trial and error)
- Wool baseball caps are more delicate, so don’t use bleach or heavy detergents on them. They are more prone to losing their shape. So use a mild detergent diluted with water and gently scrub.
- If using a washing machine, don’t put your favorite cap with the general laundry, as friction with other items will surely crush it. ( using cap washers can resolve this issue)
- Vintage caps should not come near water, as their cardboard brim can lose shape. spot-clean or dry clean them only
- Don’t proceed without testing for color-bleed. One small mistake can ruin not only your cap but other articles being washed.
- As mentioned above, do not place your cap in a dishwasher, technically you can, but you might end up with a misshapen mess, which might not resemble a cap.
- No stiff brushes and no harsh scrubbing; be gentle!
- Washing the caps in a machine is acceptable, but tumble drying is not. Even in the gentle cycle, the dryer’s motion can ruin the form or damage the lid.
- Hot water is a caps’ worst enemy. From color fading to shrinkage, it can cause damage beyond repair. So keep the water nice and cool.
- Avoid chlorine bleach. These are toxic and can cause more harm than good. When there are options for oxy-bleach and all fabric bleach available, why take the risk with this lethal solution.
Not so Frequently Asked/Answered Questions
How to clean a baseball cap that is white?
Whitecaps can be a nuisance as they get dirty the most. The stains are more visible and tend to be the most stubborn ones. So you can scrub and scrub a white hat, yet it won’t come clean. But there is a solution (A liquid one) that can save you a lot of time and give your finger rest too. And that is Hydrogen peroxide. Just drop a little of this magical chemical on the stains and scrub gently with a brush. Allow H2O2 to soak in the fabric for 10 minutes. And Tada, your white hat will be as good as new.
What is Spot-cleaning?
It is the gentlest type of washing, which blots up any liquid and is used for soft brim caps. Its steps are
- Mix 1 teaspoon detergent in 1 cup warm water,
- Slightly dip the soft-bristled brush in this mixture and lightly scrub over soiled areas while avoiding contact with the brim.
- Use the mixture sparingly so that the brim of the hat doesn’t soak.
- Don’t rinse directly with water; instead, blot with a clean wet cloth.
- Repeat the above steps many times to remove all stains.
- Immerse the cleaning cloth in the mixture, wring thoroughly so that it is only slightly wet, and then use it to wipe down all surfaces of the baseball cap gently.
- Use another wet cleaning cloth to “rinse” the cap.
- Wipe away any cleaning solution.
- Let the cap Air-Dry by allowing it to rest on a hat form or substitute.
How to tell whether a cap features a cardboard brim?
Cardboard Brim caps are rare these days as durable plastic has taken over, but you might find one or two in your vintage collection. They were manufactured back in the 90’s so you can guess by the look and design. But the rule of the thumb is to flick the bill, and if it creates a hollow sound, you will know for sure, it’s cardboard.
Don’t Sweat It?
All this cleaning and scrubbing stuff might sound complex, but in reality, it just requires patience and maybe 15 minutes of your precious time. So don’t fret over and stop delaying the washing day. The longer your caps remain dirty, the more stubborn the stain will become, and they will require more effort to come off. So what are you waiting for? Get your detergent now and start scrubbing!