How to Wash a Hat in the Dishwasher

Have you ever tried to get your favorite cap clean? Throwing a hat in the washing machine spin cycle can really do a number on the fabric as well as the bill or rim. Hand-washing sometimes just doesn’t work very well at removing dirt and grimed that is acquired. So how can you get those hats clean? Have you thought about your dishwasher? That’s right, you can wash your hat in your dishwasher. By making sure your hat is secure in the racks, using warm water and disabling the drying or steam cycle, your dishwasher can remove dirt and odor from your favorite hats.

How to Wash a Hat in the Dishwasher

Before you load your hat in the dishwasher, spot treat any stains with fabric pre-treatment or with liquid dish soap.

Take any dishes out first. Sorry, you can’t wash clothes and dirty plates together. Fix your hat to the rack using the plastic frames or the hat’s strap. You could even use clothespins. You just want to keep your hat in one spot during the whole cycle. Add a bleach and citrus-free detergent. Select a warm cycle and turn off the drying and steam cycles if your machine has these available. Once your machine ends its cycle, take out your hat and put in a warm place to air dry.

Can You Wash Hats?

Sure. And you probably should! Your head sweats and your hair puts off oils that can leave odors in your hat. That’s before you start touching your hat with your hands, which can be pretty dirty. To do it right, make sure you read the tag for any information on care and the type of material of the hat.

Your hat might not need the full dishwasher treatment. For surface stains you may be able to get away with spot cleaning.

Does Putting Your Hat in the Dishwasher Work?

Some people will tell you that hats can absolutely go into the dishwasher while others will look at you like you’re crazy. Ultimately it’s up to you. But we recommend you try it on a hat you can live without first, before trying it on your favorite one.

Dishwashing detergent is made for, well, dishes, not fabrics. So it can degrade the fabric or fade the colors. High heat settings can also warp the hat bill out of shape.

The tips below will walk you step by step on how to safely wash your hat in the dishwasher.

What Kind of Soap Do You Use to Wash a Hat in the Dishwasher?

You can use normal dishwashing liquid as long as it doesn’t have bleach or citric acid. Both of these additives can damage fabric.

Can You Use Laundry Detergent in Your Dishwasher?

You may think using laundry detergent is a good idea. Your hat is a piece of clothing so why not? NEVER use laundry detergent in your dishwasher! It can damage your dishwasher and create a mountain of soap suds that can explode into your kitchen.

How to Wash a Hat in the Dishwasher

With the danger of an exploding dishwasher reduced, let’s get down to the process for washing your hat in the dishwasher.

What You Need:

  • A dishwasher.
  • A hat.
  • Laundry stain remover (optional but recommended)
  • Dishwasher liquid soap WITHOUT bleach or citric acid.
  • A hat frame and/or adjustable straps (optional)
  • Clothespins

Step by Step Instructions:

Spot Clean

If there are any tough looking stains on your cap, grab the laundry stain remover and apply as you would on any other piece of clothing. Usually the manufacturer wants you to dampen the spot first. They all have instructions on how long to leave the stain remover on the fabric. Once that time is up, rinse the stain remover off.

You can also use dishwashing detergent. Apply and scrub in with a brush. After about 30 minutes, rinse it away

Place the Hat in the Dishwasher

If you have a plastic hat frame, first, wow, you love your hats. It’s perfect to keep the hat in the right position and keep the shape the way you like it during the dishwasher cycle. Make sure you secure the frame to the dishwasher rack using clips or clothespins.

If you don’t have a hat frame, use clothespins or clips to keep your hat in place. You don’t want your hat to move around inside the dishwasher.

Important Tip:

Don’t wash dirty dishes with your hat! Food can get on to your hat and stain it worse. If you don’t want to waste water, load more than one hat at a time.

Add Detergent

You can use either liquid or solid detergent tabs as long as they are free of bleach or citric acid. No need for a rinse aid. Your hat doesn’t need to sparkle.

Choose Dishwasher Settings

This is a key step. Make sure you select the ‘warm cycle’. Using hot water can warp the plastic in the cap’s bill. Turn off the ‘heated dry’ cycle since this can also warp the hat. If your dishwasher only has a hot or cold cycle, try the cold cycle. If this doesn’t work, you may need to wash your hat by hand.

How to Dry a Hat

When your hat finishes washing in the dishwasher, put it somewhere warm with good airflow to dry. You can use a towel or some balled up newspaper stuffed inside the cap if you are worried about losing the shape.

How Do You Clean a Stinky Hat?

Washing your hat in the dishwasher should remove the odors But if it doesn’t try these next steps. Mix a solution of one part rubbing alcohol and one part water. Spray this mixture on the inner panels (but not the brim). This should eliminate any bacteria causing the odor.

You could also use one part distilled white vinegar and one part water. Soak the hat in this solution overnight after you scrub it. By morning any odors should be gone. You can rinse out the remaining vinegar with clean water.

How Do I Get Rid of Sweat Stains on My Hat?

It’s pretty common to see sweat stains on hats. After all, our heads do a lot of sweating when we get hot. Not all of these stains can come out but using a pretreatment will certainly help your chances. Apply stain remover on the stained area and let sit for about 30 minutes depending on the instructions.

Between uses, you can spray a mixture of one part distilled white vinegar and one part water on the sweaty areas. This keeps sweat from setting in the fabric in the first place.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

With your newly cleaned hat, you can wear it again in public with people noticing your team’s logo or hat’s message and not the dirt and sweat stains.

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