How To Wash a White Hat

If your formerly bright white hat is now dingy, you might be wondering how to wash it.

Washing a white hat at home is surprisingly easy. Use gentle cleaning materials and pay attention to the material of the hat. 

I’ll go over cleaning methods step by step.

Step 1: Find out What Your Hat is Made of

Care instructions for your hat will depend on its material. Is it natural or synthetic? Is there cotton or wool?

The material in the hat will determine the cleaning materials you use, the water temperature, or whether you should spot clean instead of fully soaking.

If you’re washing a baseball cap, check for cardboard in the visor.

It took a while for manufacturers to start using plastics and other washable materials in baseball caps.

Don’t soak the baseball cap if it has cardboard in it.

Step 2: Read the Care Instructions

You’ll find a lot of information about your hat on its tag. These include care instructions and materials.

If the tag reads dry clean only, you can stop reading and just take it to a dry cleaner.

If not, continue with washing instructions.

Method 1: Washing Machine

Washing your white hat in the washing machine is easy and will get rid of any dirt or grime that has built up on it over time. All you need is a mild detergent and your washing machine’s delicate cycle. Here’s how to do it:

  • Step 1: Remove any loose dirt or debris from your hat by lightly brushing it with a soft-bristled brush. Be sure to brush in the direction of the pile (i.e., brush from bottom to top) so as not to damage the fabric.
  • Step 2: Place your hat in the washing machine along with a few other items such as towels or delicates. This will help protect your hat from excessive movement during the cycle.
  • Step 3: Add a mild detergent to the machine and select the delicate cycle. Avoid using heavy-duty detergents as they can damage the fabric of your hat.
  • Step 4: Once the cycle is complete, remove your hat from the washing machine and allow it to air dry. Do not put your hat in the dryer as this can cause shrinkage and damage. Once dry, lightly brush it with a soft-bristled brush to restore its shape.

Conclusion: That’s all there is to it! By following these simple steps, you can easily wash your white baseball cap in the washing machine and keep it looking great for years to come.

Method 2: Hand Washing a White Hat

Even if your hat’s care instructions say it’s machine washable, you should probably hand wash it to get it the cleanest.

In general, hand washing a hat involves soaking it in soapy water, brushing out sweat, stains, and grease with a toothbrush, rinsing the hat, and letting it air dry.

This is also where the material of your hat comes into play.

Wool Hats

Wool requires gentler care than most materials. Use cool water when soaking a wool hat. Unlike other materials, you’ll probably just want to mix the soaking water with Woolite, or another gentle soap meant to clean wool.

Soak the wool hat for at least an hour. When brushing it, make sure you follow the direction of the fabric piles. This will reduce pilling.

Use cool water for rinsing, dab away excess water, and air dry on a hat mold.

Cotton, Synthetic, or Blends

If your hat is made from cotton, synthetic material like polyester, or a blend, use warm water to soak and rinse it instead of cold. You can also use more than just Woolite.

We recommend a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, one cup, a tablespoon of mild detergent, and baking soda or Oxi Clean.

Mix well into the soaking water. Soak the hat for about half an hour and brush clean.

After that, rinse, dab, and air dry as normal.

Method 3: Spot Cleaning a White Hat

Sometimes, it’s better just to spot clean your white hat. This is especially true if soaking it in water will do damage. You should spot clean straw and some wools.

If the hat is shaped, spot cleaning won’t hurt it like soaking.

Make a mixture of one cup hydrogen peroxide, one tablespoon mild detergent, dish liquid, or Woolite, and baking soda Oxi Clean. Dip a soft white washcloth or soft-bristle brush into the mixture.

Use the brush or cloth to gently dab at the stain. Rinse the brush or cloth and dab the spot to get rid of soap residue. Dab the spot with a dry cloth and let the hat air dry.

Tips for Care and Washing

Even though you use bleach to clean and brighten in regular laundry, it’s best not to use it on your white hats. It can cause damage.

This is why our washing instructions include baking soda or Oxi Clean. These are much gentler whiteners than bleach.


Washing a white hat at home is easier than you might realize. Keep the material of the hat and the washing instructions in mind when cleaning your white hat.