Can You Put A Baseball Cap In The Washing Machine?

Wondering if you can put a baseball cap in the washing machine? The short answer is yes, but it’s not as straightforward as tossing it in with your socks and tees. 

The key factor to consider is the material of the cap’s brim. If it’s made of cardboard, as is often the case with vintage caps, then the washing machine is not recommended. However, if your cap has a plastic brim, you’re in luck! The washing machine can be a safe option. 

But wait, there’s more to it than just knowing your brim type. Keep reading, as we uncover the best ways to clean, dry, and maintain your baseball caps in top-notch condition!

How Do You Choose The Right Washing Method For Your Baseball Cap?

The first step is to check the wash care label, as it provides specific instructions tailored to the material of your cap. 

This is especially important for vintage baseball caps, which may have a cardboard brim. These types of caps should avoid the washing machine and any water-based cleaning methods, like soaking, to prevent damage.

How to tell if it’s cardboard? Give the brim a flick – a hollow sound usually means cardboard, while a denser sound suggests plastic.

Modern caps typically feature plastic brims, but it’s always best to check the care label sewn into the headband for accurate information about the materials used.

For plastic-brimmed caps, the washing machine is fine. But if the brim is made of cardboard, avoid machine washing as it can lead to the brim losing its shape or disintegrating. 

When cleaning your cap, it’s advisable to start with the gentlest methods, such as a brief soak for light dirt. For more stubborn issues like sweat stains, a more targeted approach may be necessary.

Pro tip: Test your cleaning solution on a hidden part of the cap, like under the brim. Mix a small amount of detergent with warm water, apply it to the area, and check for any colour fading. If the colour fades, opt for cleaning with just water to avoid damaging the cap.

Spot Cleaning Your Cap

person wearing a baseball cap

When it’s just a small stain or a specific area that needs attention, spot cleaning is your go-to method. This approach is especially recommended for delicate fabrics, ensuring that the rest of the cap remains untouched and undamaged. 

For targeted stain treatment, select a fabric-safe stain removal product. Apply it carefully to the affected area, let it sit for a few minutes and then gently blot away with a damp cloth or paper towel.

In the case of baseball caps with embellishments like rhinestones or detailed embroidery, you’ll want to be extra gentle. Use an old toothbrush to softly brush at the stained area, applying minimal pressure to protect the cap’s delicate features.

For those with cardboard brims, spot cleaning is not just a recommendation, it’s a necessity. This method avoids any risk of soaking the cap, which could cause significant damage to the brim. 

When tackling stains on the cardboard brim, use a towel that’s barely damp to gently wipe the area. If you’ve used any detergent, be sure to remove it completely by dabbing with a towel dipped in clean water. It’s crucial to keep the cardboard as dry as possible to maintain the cap’s integrity and shape.

Additionally, it’s important to remember to treat the stain as soon as possible. The longer it sits, the harder it becomes to remove. 

Hand-washing Your Baseball Cap

When it comes to hand-washing your baseball cap, it’s all about being gentle and thorough. 

This method is far kinder to your cap, especially if it’s made of delicate fabrics like silk or wool, which might not take kindly to the rough-and-tumble of a washing machine. 

To do this, begin by filling a bowl or sink with warm water, adding just a touch of mild laundry detergent. Let your cap take a little bath, soaking for a few minutes to loosen any dirt or grime. 

Next, gently tackle the stains and dirty spots with a small towel or an old toothbrush – they’re great for cleaning small, hard-to-reach areas.

After giving it a good, but gentle scrub, it’s time to rinse. Drain the soapy water and refill the bowl with clean water. Dip the cap in and swish it around, repeating until the water runs clear and all traces of detergent are gone. 

It’s crucial to be thorough with rinsing, as any leftover soap can attract more dirt over time.

This hands-on method not only ensures a gentle clean but also allows you to focus on specific areas that may need more attention. 

Plus, it gives you full control over the cleaning process, minimising the risk of damage to your cap. Remember, patience and gentle handling are key to keeping your baseball cap in top condition.

Putting It In The Washing Machine

open washing machine door

If you’re short on time, the washing machine can be a real lifesaver. But, remember, it’s not always the safest bet for every cap. 

If you’re concerned about preserving the cap’s colour and material integrity, hand washing could be a better choice. 

Before tossing your cap in, put it into a mesh laundry bag or a pillowcase. This extra step shields it from the rough-and-tumble of the wash cycle, keeping it safe from snagging or stretching.

When choosing your detergent, opt for one without bleach to prevent any potential damage or colour fading. 

If you’re washing your cap with other items, keep the load light to avoid squashing or deforming the cap. 

Your washing machine’s gentle cycle, along with using cold water minimises any risks of shrinkage and helps maintain the vibrant colours of your cap.

Remember, although machine washing is convenient, it might not always be the best method for caps made from more delicate materials or those with sentimental value. In these cases, consider hand washing or spot cleaning to extend the life of your beloved cap.

Putting It In The Dishwasher


Yes, you read that right – the dishwasher! It’s a handy option when you have several caps to clean at once. 

Although washing caps in the dishwasher may seem like a gentler alternative to the washing machine, due to less agitation, it’s important to remember that dishwashers are primarily designed for dishes, not fabric. 

The high water pressure and heat typical in a dishwasher’s cycle can be overly harsh for the delicate materials often used in baseball caps. Moreover, the detergents formulated for dishwashers are typically stronger and not suitable for fabric, posing a risk of damaging your cap.

When using the dishwasher method, it’s important to avoid combining the caps with any dirty dishes or utensils, as food residue and grease can transfer to the fabric. 

Just place them on the top rack and choose a gentle dishwasher detergent that’s free from harsh chemicals and bleach. 

Make sure that the caps are secured properly to prevent them from moving around during the cycle, which can lead to deformation or damage. 

Opt for a gentle cycle with cool or warm water – this ensures a thorough yet safe cleaning for your caps.

Lastly, remember to skip the drying cycle of the dishwasher; heat can cause shrinking or warping, particularly in caps with plastic brims. 

What’s The Best Way To Dry Your Baseball Cap?

Drying your baseball cap properly requires a bit of patience, but it’s worth the wait. 

Tumble dryers can cause your cap to shrink and warp, losing its original shape. Opt instead for air drying, a natural and gentle method that preserves the cap’s shape and quality. 

To keep your cap looking as good as new, gently reshape it after washing. A trick is to use absorbent materials, such as paper towels, inside the cap. This helps maintain its shape and absorbs any excess moisture. 

Be careful not to overstuff the cap, though, as this can stretch the fabric and alter its fit.

For those particularly fond of their caps, investing in a cap washer can be a game-changer. This helps to protect and preserve the cap’s shape, especially the brim, during the drying process. 

It’s a small step that can make a big difference in maintaining the longevity and appearance of your cap.

Also, try to dry your cap in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight. Direct sun exposure can cause the colours to fade and the material to weaken over time. 

How Often Should You Wash Your Baseball Cap?

baseball caps

Deciding when to wash your baseball cap largely depends on how often you wear it. 

As a general guideline, if you’re wearing your cap regularly, aim for cleaning it 3 to 5 times each season. This keeps it fresh and extends its life. 

In summer, when the heat ramps up and so does the sweating, it’s wise to wash your caps more often. This frequent cleaning during warmer months helps in preventing the build-up of sweat stains and unpleasant odours.

Remember, your cap is a collector of daily grime and sweat, especially if you wear it during sports or outdoor activities. 

Regular washing is crucial for hygiene and maintaining the cap’s appearance. However, over-washing can also shorten its lifespan, so balance is key.

No matter how often you choose to wash your baseball cap, the golden rule is to always follow the specific care instructions tailored to its material. 

This care ensures that your cap not only stays clean but also maintains its shape and colour for as long as possible. 

SEE ALSO: Can You Put Converse Trainers In The Washing Machine?

Frequently Asked Questions

Can baseball caps be machine washed?

Yes, baseball caps can be machine washed, particularly if they have a plastic brim. However, it’s important to check the wash care label for specific instructions and to use a gentle cycle.

How do you wash a baseball cap without ruining it?

To wash a baseball cap without ruining it, start by checking the care label. For caps with a plastic brim, machine washing in a gentle cycle is okay. For delicate materials or cardboard brims, hand washing or spot cleaning is recommended.

Will water ruin a baseball cap?

Water will not ruin a baseball cap if it’s made with a plastic brim. However, for caps with cardboard brims, water can cause damage, so it’s best to avoid water-based cleaning methods for these.

How long do you soak a baseball cap?

You should soak a baseball cap for just a few minutes in mild, soapy water. This is sufficient to loosen dirt and grime without causing damage to the cap.

How often should you wash baseball caps?

You should wash baseball caps 3 to 5 times each season if worn regularly. In summer or during active use, more frequent washing may be necessary to prevent sweat stains and odours.

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