Like other pieces of clothing, your caps can get dirty. So, the best thing you can do is wash them regularly to keep them feeling and looking good. However, can you put caps in the washing machine?
Yes, you can clean your cap in the washing machine. However, you have to consider the cap’s material. Some materials are not suitable for machine washing. When cleaning your cap in the machine, ensure to take extra precautions.
100% cotton, acrylic, and cotton-poly blend caps are best suited for machine washing. Do not machine wash your wool baseball caps, straw hats, or other caps made from silk, cashmere, and other delicate fabrics.
How to Clean Caps in the Washing Machine
Now that you know which caps with particular materials check out the steps below on how to clean your cap in the washing machine.
Step #1: Preheat the Headband or Liner
Preheating the headband or liner helps when working on the cap’s soiled areas. You can use a soft-bristled brush to remove the grime gently. Use also a mild detergent. If the cap does not look as bright as you like, you can add baking soda. Even if your cap is white, do not use chlorine bleach.
Step #2: Use Zippered Garment Bag
You can use a zippered garment bad to add an extra layer of protection on the cap’s color and shape even if the label says that it is washing machine safe. This method helps protect your cap from being damaged by the washer’s motion.
Step #3: Wash the Cap in Cold Water
Washing your cap in hot water causes reshaping and unwanted shrinkage. Instead, only wash it the same as your colored clothing. Do not wash your red cap with white sheets if you plan to include it with your load of clothing.
Step #4: Set the Washing Machine in the Delicate Cycle
Set your washing machine in the gentle water cycle. That way, you can prevent your cap from damage.
Step #5: Dry the Cap
While it is tempting to toss your cap in the dryer, it is not a good idea. Even using the low heat setting can run the cap’s shape, leading to shrinkage. Instead, place the cap indoors on a towel. Then, allow to air dry.
Alternative Cleaning Methods
Cleaning your cap in the washing machine is an effective method; you can try other approaches. After all, some methods are best suitable for caps with particular materials.
Spot Cleaning a Cap
Spot cleaning a cap is the safest method. However, it does not always get rid of the most stubborn stains and requires more effort. Caps made from delicate fabrics, suede, and leather caps, straw hats, and old baseball caps with cardboard bills are best suited for this method.
Step #1: Test the Hat Fabric and Flexibility
Most cardboard-brimmed caps are fairly sturdy, but others are so delicate. So, machine washing is not possible. Gently bend the cap’s rim. If you see that it bend too easily or starts to crack, it is too fragile for cleaning.
Step #2: Handle the Embellishments with Care
If your cap comes with decorative elements, like leather accents, beads, rhinestones, buttons, or ribbons, handle it with care. A gentle wipe using a soft cloth is enough, depending on the fragility and material.
Step #3: Dab the Dirty Areas
Damp a washcloth in warm water and dish soap or mild non-bleach detergent. Dab the cap’s dirty areas using that washcloth. You can use a soft-bristled brush to swipe away more pronounced stains.
Step #4: Dry the Cap
Air drying indoors is recommended. Look for a well-ventilated area and ensure there is no direct sunlight.
Hand Washing a Cap
If the label says your cap is not washing machine safe, the most effective way to clean it is by hand washing. Hand-knit caps, wool caps, and baseball caps are best suited for this cleaning method.
Step #1: Fill the Sink or Small Bowl with Cold Water
Using warm or hot water causes the color to run. Instead, fill your sink or small container with color. It is also ideal washing one cap at a time.
Step #2: Add a Mild Detergent
Stir in a teaspoon of dish soap or laundry detergent until it is dissolved. Only use a mild soap or detergent with no bleach. If your cap is made of wool, use a soap specifically for that material. It is also wise not to use other cleaners like dishwasher detergent.
Step #3: Perform a Pretreatment Test
Soak a small, inconspicuous part of the cap for a few minutes before submerging the whole part. Then, observe if the color runs. If there is no dye swirling in the water, it does not mean the color is not running. So, dab your cap on a napkin and see if the color comes off. If you see discoloration, go for spot cleaning. If the color does not come off, proceed to the next step.
Step #4: Scrub the Stained Areas
Give attention to the cap’s soiled areas, including the sweatband where makeup, sweat stains, or body oils accumulate over time. Using a soft-bristled brush, you can apply a non-bleach remover or the same soap from the bowl on the soiled areas. Then, allow it to sit for fifteen minutes.
Step #5: Submerge the Cap
Now, it’s time to submerge your entire cap in the sink or bowl. If you plan just to freshen up your cap, soak it for 30 minutes. If there is more serious grime or dirt, soak it for a few hours.
Step #6: Rinse the Cap
Remove your cap from the soapy water, and then rinse it in cold running water to remove all the detergent. Gently squeeze it to remove the excess water. Pat the cap down with a clean towel until no more water dripping. Twisting or wringing the cap is not a good idea as it causes unwanted pilling or ruins the shape.
Step #7: Dry the Cap
Lay your cap on a towel in a well-ventilated spot with no direct sunlight. Using a blow dryer is not recommended as it cause shrinking.
When looking for things that can protect your eyes against the sun while staying stylish, there is a big chance that you will wear a cap. So, ensure to keep it clean and to look good all the time.