How to Wash a Hat in the Dishwasher

You might think that putting your hat in the dishwasher would be a bad idea, but it can actually work. Depending on the material, a little heat and soap can help get your cap clean, fresh, and smelling great! Just make sure to use a non-bleach detergent, and be careful with the brim.

Start with an empty dishwasher (if you’re comfortable having dishes in it) to avoid food residue staining your hat. If your hat has a brim, place it on a hat form to keep its shape. Add your favorite dishwashing detergent and run a normal cycle. Once the cycle is finished, remove your hat and lay it out on a towel to air dry.

Before washing your hat, apply a stain-fighting pre-treatment to any problem areas. This can be laundry detergent, a dedicated stain-fighting treatment like OxiClean, or even dishwashing liquid. Dampen a cloth or toothbrush in lukewarm water and gently rub the soiled areas of your hat. Be especially gentle around stitched patterns and logos, as vigorous rubbing can tear the fabric or mar the artwork.

If your hat has a really foul odor, try spraying it with 1:1 rubbing alcohol and water. This should kill the bacteria that are causing the stink and help your hat smell better.

Once your hat is thoroughly rinsed, gently wipe it down with a clean towel to remove any remaining soap suds. Once the hat is completely dry, you’re ready to wear it!

Whether it’s your favorite baseball cap, a wool fedora, or a cotton toque, a well-worn hat can quickly become stained and dirty. The most common stains on hats are body oils, sweat, and makeup, but a hat can also be damaged by food, sand or dirt that gets into the creases of the hat’s crown.

Many people are surprised to learn that it’s possible to wash a hat in the dishwasher. But, if you know how to do it correctly, it can be one of the most effective ways to get your hat clean and dry.

To wash a hat in the dishwasher, fill a clean sink or bucket with warm to hot water. Err on the side of hot versus cold, as cool water may cause the hat to shrink. Add a tablespoon of laundry detergent, or a dedicated stain-fighting treatment, like OxiClean to the water. If you’re using a stain-fighting product, follow the instructions on how long to leave it on the hat.

Submerge the hat in the soapy water and use your hands to work it around to get all of the dirty grit out. Gently agitate the hat to make sure that all of the detergent is washed away and that there’s no residual left on the hat. Once your hat is fully rinsed, let it drain on a hat rack or hang it over a hook in a warm room to dry. Be sure to set up a fan near the hat to speed up drying time.