our everyday life

How to Clean Sweaty Fitted Hats

by Kimbry Parker

Your favorite fitted hat has followed you through victory, defeat and days spent dreaming on the beach -- but now it's drowning in disgusting yellow sweat stains. Although your beloved cap smells like a locker room and you think it's time to retire it, think again. Most newer fitted hats are made of cotton, jersey or twill and can withstand a brisk cleaning in the washing machine. Older hats and wool hats, however, will wither in the face of machine washing, so you’ll need to hand wash or spot clean them to remove the sweat and still keep the hat intact.

Run it Through the Machine

Spray the sweaty spots on the hat with an enzyme-based, prewash, stain remover. Make sure to thoroughly spray the headband or liner part of the hat, as it typically holds a lot of sweat. You can also put a few drops of shampoo on the sweaty spots and rub them with a white rag if you don’t have a stain remover on hand.

Set your washing machine to do a cold-water, gentle-wash cycle. Add laundry detergent to the washer according to the detergent manufacturer's instructions.

Put the fitted hat into the machine. You can wash it with other clothes, but make sure they’re of like colors.

Run the fitted hat through a complete wash cycle. Take the hat out and reshape it with your hands. Sit it upright to air-dry.

Run Your Hands Over It

Fill a clean sink or tub with cool water, add a few drops of gentle laundry detergent and mix well.

Put the wool hat into the water and swish it around gently. Use your fingers to gently scrub any sweat stains on the hat.

Rinse the hat under cool water once the sweat marks are gone. Reshape the hat and sit it on a canister, coffee can or similarly shaped object to air-dry. This will help the hat to maintain its shape while drying.

Clean Just That Spot

Treat the sweat stains with a few drops of shampoo or laundry prewash stain remover. Rub the liquid into the stains to help lift the sweat.

Wet a white rag with cool water and put a few drops of gentle laundry detergent onto the rag. Scrub the sweaty and stained areas of the hat gently with the rag.

Wet a clean rag with water and use the rag to rinse the hat of any soap residue, dipping the rag into the water as needed to rinse the rag free of soap as you go. Sit the hat upright to air-dry.

Items you will need
  • Enzyme-based, prewash, stain remover
  • Shampoo
  • Regular laundry detergent
  • Gentle laundry detergent
  • Canister, coffee can or similarly shaped item
  • White rags

Tip

  • Spot test your hat on an inconspicuous area first before applying any cleaning product to the fabric. Put the stain remover or laundry detergent on a small area of the hat and let it sit for a few minutes to test for color changes.

Warnings

  • Do not use bleach to clean a sweaty fitted hat.
  • Never use hot water on the hat or machine dry the hat as the heat can cause the material to shrink.
  • Always check the care label on your fitted hat for specific washing instructions.

Photo Credits

  • Wendy Hope/Stockbyte/Getty Images