If you have a husband or children who wear caps all the time, I think we can agree on one thing:

Baseball caps get dirty.

And I’m not talking just a little dirty. We’re talking about sweaty, grimy, used-to-be-a-different-color dirty.

And that smell. . .

So what’s a wife or mother to do? We can’t just throw them in the washer because they lose their shape. Some say the dishwasher can also cause them to shrink, but I wouldn’t know.

I just don’t want to put that in my dishwasher. . .

But I do wash my husband’s hats. Pretty regularly in fact, so below I have shared my method of how to clean a baseball cap without ruining its shape.

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You Will Need

  • Dirty Cap(s)
  • Dawn or another degreaser
  • Toothbrush or small brush
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Biz (optional)
  • Large bowl with lid (optional)
How to clean a baseball cap
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This is what Hubby’s caps looked like before I washed them.

The picture isn’t great but you can kind of see the dirt from working on construction sites and our homestead.

They were nasty and they stunk.

Cut the Grime

First I’ll wet the caps anywhere I need to use the degreaser.

Usually on the bill and around the brim. Also the underside of the bill where their fingers grab the cap. Basically anywhere that looks or feels particularly grimy.

You can just use Dawn or you can get an actual degreaser. I just use Dawn and scrub it into those extra dirty areas with an old toothbrush.

How to clean a baseball cap. Grimy baseball caps.
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Usually I’ll let that sit for about five minutes, or just while I’m filling up my cap cleaning bowl.

I like to use this huge Tupperware bowl with a lid, but you can use anything you have on hand. A bucket, plastic container, even just the sink will work.

Put just a small amount (about 1-2 tablespoons each) of laundry detergent and Biz (optional) in the bottom of the bowl and add warm water to get it mixed up.

(I use Biz for the sweat stains and the smell. I feel like it takes care of those better than just detergent and I always have it around for Hubby’s work clothes anyway.)

Place the caps in your bowl and finish filling with water. If you’re using a lid it’s not as important to have the water covering the caps, but if not then fill it up to the top of the caps.

Cleaning baseball caps. Soaking in biz solution.
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I actually added another hat at this point because there was room in the bowl.
It wasn’t very dirty, but it was stinky.

Notice how nasty the water is. . .

If you used a tight fitting lid:

This is why I like to use a tight fitting lid.

Give it a good shake before letting it sit and soak for at least 30 minutes.

If you used a non-lidded thing:

Then just make sure the hats are submerged and swish them around in the water some before letting them soak.

I let them soak longer when I don’t get to shake them up.

cleaning dirty baseball caps.
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This is my favorite part:

After they have soaked long enough, pour out that nastiness.

And then run some clean water in there and rinse them good.

And rinse them again and again until the water is clear.

Notice the difference between the second and third rinse in the pictures above?

I like to use a skirt hanger and clip it to the bills to hang them to dry. That way they don’t get stretched in any way.

Hang them somewhere they can drip without causing an issue, like the shower or something.

cleaning dirty baseball caps. hanging caps to dry.
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Give them at least overnight to dry and you should have some clean baseball caps.

Hubby has never complained of a hat not fitting the same after being washed with this method.

And that is how to clean a baseball cap. Let me know in the comments below if you try it out!

I’ll add a comparison of the before and after pictures below.

How to clean a baseball cap
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