How to Wash a Navy Sailor Hat

by Chance Henson
Both combination caps (left) and service dress hats (right) are easily cleaned with standard laundry methods.

Both combination caps (left) and service dress hats (right) are easily cleaned with standard laundry methods.

The United States Navy is notorious for its efficiency and cleanliness -- every sailor must always be shipshape in regards to personal hygiene, conduct and uniform appearance. You may not realize, however, that men and women serving in the United States Navy have many different uniforms, such as formal dress, working and service uniforms. Each uniform corresponds to individual rank and comes with its own hat, insignia and designated colors. In the course of a year a sailor might wear five different uniforms to work, play and celebrate. The most recognizable element of any Navy service member's uniform is the sailor's white crown-brimmed hat. Whether you’re an energetic new recruit or simply curious about joining the Navy, knowing how to properly clean parts of the navel uniform such as your hat will become an essential part of serving your country as a top-notch sailor.

Cleaning Ceremonial and Service Dress Hats

Set your top-loading washing machine temperature to warm and add mild detergent. Place your hat alone in the washing machine.

For dingy hats, allow washing machine to fill with water and add 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup oxygen bleach or 1/2 cup baking soda. Close the washing machine and allow cycle to finish.

Remove the hat from the washing machine and place in dryer. Set dryer on tumble dry. Remove hat from dryer when cycle is complete and iron the hat according to U.S. Navy Uniform Regulations.

Cleaning Combination Caps

Fill sink with warm water. Add mild detergent and mix until detergent is thoroughly dissolved or apply a dime-sized amount of mild detergent directly to the white cap cover.

Dip a sponge into the warm water and squeeze out excess water. Gently scrub the entire surface of the cap cover with a sponge. Use a clean toothbrush to clean heavily soiled areas.

Rinse the cap cover in clean warm water and lay on a clean towel to dry. Iron according to U.S. Navy Uniform Regulations.

Items you will need

  • Top-loading washing Machine
  • Warm Water
  • Mild Detergent
  • Distilled white vinegar, oxygen bleach or baking soda
  • Dryer
  • Sink
  • Sponge
  • Toothbrush
  • Clean dry towel


  • Only use oxygen bleach to clean white clothes. Do not use chlorine bleach to clean white garments as the chemical reaction of the bleach will yellow your garment.

About the Author

Chance Henson earned a B.A. in English literature and a writing minor from Lamar University. While interning at the "University Press" newspaper and "UP Beat" magazine he received an award for news feature writing from the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association. Henson went on to serve as content editor for "CUSH Magazine," eventually leaving to pursue the development of an online secular humanist educational publication.

Photo Credits

  • Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images