Wearing a cap while rowing is perfect for keeping your face in the shade on a sunny day. We all have experienced how quick our nice caps turn dirty and filthy after a day of contact with sweat and saltwater. So let’s look at options to clean our hats from sweat and saltwater, which can give your cap a yellow stain or even let it fade.
Most caps cannot be thrown easily into the washer like the rest of your sportsgear. Not interested in cleaning but want to buy a new one every time? Click here for a new one. But jokes aside. Look at the different options we recommend for you!
Before you start, look at the sunshield of your cap, especially if you use a baseball cap. Newer ones usually have plastic sunshields, while older caps usually have cardboard inlay. Obviously it would break if you soak an old one but there are still options.
Method A: Clean baseball caps in the dishwasher
There are many different opinions about this method. The comments go from “the perfect method” to “never again”. In all honesty, we’ve tried it several times and it’s still our preferred method of cleaning. Especially to clean caps that were soaked in saltwater.
All caps with plastic sunshields are usually machine washable.
- A dish washer set to a mild program (that’s usually the glass program)
- 1/2 tablespoon of dishwasher detergent or half a dishwasher tablet
- A bowl or a sieve as a base for the cap
The advantage of using a dishwasher is, that the shape of your cap will stay how it was before the wash.
Clean your baseball cap in the dishwasher – procedure:
- Empty your dishwasher and make sure that there’s no leftover food anywhere.
- Take a bowl/sieve and fit the cap on it.
- Place the cap-on-a-bowl/sieve in the top drawer.
- Put dishwater detergent/tablet in the dishwasher as usual.
- Turn the dishwasher on a light/mild program (usually something like the glass program).
Method B: Hand wash your caps
Note (that you hear before, but it’s important): If you have an old baseball cap, it’s likely the sunshield is made out of cardboard. If that is the case, you have to keep the sunshield out of the water and you have to clean it careful and not throughout. There’s basically only one rule for the cleaning of your baseball cap – never use too much water if the sunshield insert is made of cardboard.
- A sink.
- Warm water (not hot!).
- Mild detergent or soap.
- A toothbrush (If you use an old one, clean it beforehand).
- 2 towels – one for cleaning and one for drying.
- A hairdryer.
Hand wash your baseball cap – procedure:
- Fill the sink with warm water. Remember – not hot but warm 30-40*C
- Add 2-3 drops of a mild detergent or dishwasher soap in the running water. I wouldn’t use chlorinated soaps or oxygen cleaners to clean your cap, especially if you wash dark caps, because it could let the colors fade.
- Stains: Use a clean towel to clean. Gently rub out the stains on the hat or inner headband with the wet towel. Be careful not to soak the sunshield (again!)! If stains can’t be removed by the towel, a toothbrush can actually work wonders.
- If necessary get rid of dirt you can brush off. If there are areas that are particularly problematic, wash them straight out with a few drops of detergent on the spot. After dipping the baseball cap in the sink, use a toothbrush or wet towel to rub the detergent into the fabric. In my experience also hair shampoo does wonders with the most stubborn sweat stains.
- Some people recommend to soak the hat in the soapy sink for a few hours. In my experience you can get the job done in half of the time if you look first with what you’re actually dealing and prepare it properly as described above. If you have to scrub a bit harder, be careful with logos or stitched designs, they usually don’t like it too rough.
- After you removed the stains and gave it a good rub with the wet towel, use cold water to rinse the cap off.
- After that, dry the cap as good as possible with a towel, so there’s not water dropping off the hat anymore.
- Now use the towel to fill the inside of your cap completely so the cap won’t loose its form. You can also use other things but a towel proved to be the best option for that. Now use the hairdryer.
The do’s and don’ts
- You don’t want to buy a new one? You don’t want to clean it yourself? Some dry cleaners offer cleaning services…
- We believe a proper hand wash is the gentlest method especially for stubborn stains.
- Try to always prewash stubborn stains.
- Do that as well if you put them into the dishwasher afterwards.
- Don’t use a washing machine and never ever (did I mention never?) use a tumble dryer.
- Don’t use bleach detergents on darker colors.
And always keep in mind, there’s no magic involved to get saltwater and sweat stains out of your cap. One wash is usually enough. But keep in mind, your cap won’t look as perfect anymore as when you bought it.
In general, if your hats and caps are not too dirty, and only saltwater and sweat stains are the problem (I never talked about the smell, did I?) – you’ll be happy with the result using one of our methods!