Cotton Candy. Cobra Kai. Sandstorm. If those terms make you think of baseball caps, then you’re probably a fitted cap fan. If so then this article is definitely for you, but also for fitted collectors, snapback fans, or dad hat aficionados. Regardless of which category you fit into, you probably feel naked without one of your favorite caps sitting on top of your dome.
If you wear caps frequently, you’ve had to deal with stank and stains, but maybe you’re not sure how to clean the most stubborn stains. If your goal is to restore your collection to its former glory, say less. We got you. Follow the tips below and we guarantee you’ll have the cleanest and best-maintained caps, to the envy of all your friends and fellow collectors.
- Soft bristle brush
- Liquid or Powdered Detergent (or combine both)
- Bucket, large bowl, or sink
- Old Toothbrush
- Warm water
- Cleaning wipes
- Dry Towel
Brush the Cap
Always start by brushing the entire cap with a soft bristle brush to remove loose dirt and dust. Gently brushing is important because layered dust and dirt can prevent the detergent, which you will use later, from getting deep into the fibers of the cap. It can even remove most of what initially looked like a nasty stain.
Protect the Visor
You’ve probably seen other cap cleaning tips out there that tell you to submerge the entire hat in warm, soapy water. This is a big no, no. If your visor gets wet, it will never be the same. You’ll lose the rigidity and end up with a floppy brim that over time won’t hold its curve or worse, looks deformed. Just don’t do it.
Wash the Cap
Whatever you do, don’t allow the visor to get soaked. Spot clean with a toothbrush or damp washcloth, but make sure not to get it too wet.
Start by filling the sink or a bucket with warm water. For wool caps, use cold water. Dissolve a couple of tablespoons of liquid or powdered detergent into the water. Use a washcloth to wash the outside and inside of the body of the cap. For stubborn stains, use a toothbrush, scrubbing gently.
For heavy-duty cleaning, you can submerge but don’t get the brim wet. It’s best to only submerge the back of the cap, keeping the buckram and brim out of the water. If the front of the cap gets wet, it can bleed into the visor.
Flip the sweatband out before you scrub it so that you can get both sides. If you use a washcloth, wring it out well so that it is just damp. You can substitute cleaning wipes instead of a washcloth. Be careful to not get the sweatband soaked near the visor. Moisture from the sweatband can bleed into the visor and compromise the integrity of the brim.
Rinse the Cap
After scrubbing, you’ll want to rinse the soap and any loosened dirt from the cap. Drain the sink and wash out all the soap from the washcloth. Make sure to squeeze out most of the water from the washcloth and wipe the cap. You can also rinse the cap under the faucet, but remember not to soak the front of the cap.
Dry the Cap
Always air dry your caps after washing them. Using hairdryers or tossing them in the dryer can cause them to shrink. For the best results, ball up a terrycloth towel and place it inside the cap. The towel will soak up the moisture and allow the cap to dry faster.