The advantage of a fitted hat is that it is always the perfect size, which means it’s comfortable to wear and looks great as well, but even the best-fitting hat loses its appeal if it becomes crushed. Whether it got shoved into a suitcase, accidentally sat upon or borrowed by a careless sibling, a fitted hat can easily become wrinkled and bent out of shape.
This doesn’t mean that it’s ruined. Fixing a crushed hat is quite simple to do yourself using one of several methods.
Wear it Wet
Soaking a crushed fitted hat in water and then wearing it on your head until it is dry is perhaps the easiest way to remove wrinkles and dimples. It also ensures the hat molds perfectly to the shape of your head. This is appealing because it’s easy and works well, but not everybody wants to wear a wet hat for hours. Save this approach for a sunny day.
Steam and Smooth
Using steam is an easy and effective way to remove wrinkles from clothing, and the same is true for hats. There are a few ways to do so. The first is to create steam by boiling water on the stove top in a kettle or pan.
Keep the water at a boil so that you have a continuous source of steam. Hold the wrinkled hat over the rising steam, being careful not to burn yourself, and smooth the wrinkles out with your fingers. Firmly smooth out and press the wrinkles with your fingers until they’re gone and then leave the hat undisturbed until it’s dry.
Use a Steam Iron
An alternative approach is to use a steam iron. Roll and stuff towels inside the hat so that it holds the correct shape. This also gives you a firmer surface for ironing.
Sit the hat right side up on an ironing board. Lay a press cloth – any kind of cotton cloth, such as a kitchen towel or a T-shirt – over the hat to protect it and then press the cloth-covered hat all over, one section at a time, with a hot iron on a steam setting. Peek under the cloth as you press to make sure you’re getting out the wrinkles. You can also use an electronic garment steamer in the same manner if you have one.
Soak and Reshape the Bill
Fixing a bent bill on a crushed fitted hat is a little trickier than getting wrinkles out of the body, but it’s still possible to do this at home. Start by soaking the bill of the hat in water. Next, see if you can simply bend the bill back to the desired shape with your fingers. If it’s only slightly misshapen, the bill will probably conform to the new shape, and you can just let it dry.
For a badly bent bill, you’ll need a more aggressive approach. Gather rubber bands in various sizes. Bend the bill into the desired shape with your fingers and wrap rubber bands around it to hold that shape. You might need to experiment with different sizes of rubber bands before you get it right.
Some ball-cap buffs recommend wrapping the bill around a baseball or softball with rubber bands. Get creative with other round items that might work as a mold, such as bowls, pots or balloons. Always leave the rubber bands (and optional mold) in place until the bill has dried.
Use a Cap Washer as a Hat Fixer
A cap washer, also known as a cap saver or hat-washing cage, is a rigid plastic device that holds a baseball cap in shape while you wash it. These items are inexpensive, and although they’re designed for washing, they’re also effective for reshaping a crushed fitted hat.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations, which generally tell you to secure the hat inside the cage and then wash it in the top rack of a dishwasher or in a washing machine. Be sure not to use detergents containing bleach.
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Joanne Thomas has worked as a writer and editor for print and online publications since 2004. Her writing specialties include relationships, entertainment and food, and she has penned pieces about subjects from social media tools for Adobe to artists’ biographies for StubHub. Thomas has also written for such names as Disney, Hyundai, Michelob and USA Today, among others. She resides in California and holds a bachelor’s degree in politics from the University of Bristol, U.K.