March 14, 2023 5 min read
With most clothes, washing them on a regular basis is pretty simple. Separate reds from other colors, put them in the washing machine and put it on a low cycle. Follow the instructions for specialty items to make sure they get the best care possible. Hats are a bit of a different story.
Hats accumulate dirt and, in warmer months, even sweat stains, the same as any other article of apparel. However, baseball caps and other garments differ in the use of shaping and structural supports. Cleaning these improperly can lead to damage, stains, or, worst of all, a misshapen brim. Luckily, all these problems can be easily sidestepped.
Cleaning your headgear isn’t especially difficult, nor does it have to be. With the headgear market growing larger every year, we’ve done our work to uncover the easiest and best cleaning methods.
Below, Andar is going to provide a list of general guidelines to follow when treating your headwear. Beyond that, we’ll get into three distinct and easy ways to wash a hat.
In general, it’s better to be too delicate when cleaning something being too rough. It’s easy to undo grime, less so to undo any damage. To that end, here are some dos and don’ts for cleaning:
However you clean your hat, you’re going to need some sort of soap or detergent. As a cleaning agent, bleach is unparalleled but is too harsh and may discolor the hat.
Similarly, avoid warm water. In many cases, the difference between cold, cool, and warm water won’t change much. Some fabrics, like rayon and other synthetics, may shrink when exposed to hot water, or colors may become less vibrant. Wool hats also generally do not take well to heat.
It may be that for whatever reason, the type of hat you choose needs to be reshaped. If this is the case, use steam rather than water. Take a tea kettle and fill it with water, then bring it to a boil. Open the spout, and place it below the hat so that the steam wafts upwards and softens it.
At this point, reshape the hat by hand to fix any wrinkles or place it on your head. This works especially well when working to adjust baseball hats. That’s only the case if you need to spritz your hat rather than washing it entirely.
If you need to wash a hat, things are going to be slightly different:
The simplest way to wash a hat is with a washing machine to do so. Dedicated hat bags for washing machines exist to help protect your headgear. Putting your hat inside a pillowcase should do the trick.
Check your hat beforehand for anything that could cause it to come apart in the washing machine, particularly if you have an older, vintage cap. Older ball caps primarily used cardboard brims to create the distinctive bill. Since the 1980s, this water-unfriendly, bendable material has increasingly been replaced with a plastic insert.
To tell if you have a cardboard or plastic brim, tap on it. Cardboard bills produce a hollow sound — almost empty. For a second test, lightly press on the brim. Plastic is more difficult to bend and will quickly snap back to its original shape when released.
When washing hats, use a mild laundry detergent and a gentle cycle with cool water. This will give your gear the deep clean it needs while not exposing it to undue force. After the washing process is done, the shape of the hat should be normal. We suggest air drying rather than using a dryer.
Machine washing is arguably the easiest way to wash a hat. If you avoid high heat, use cold water; the washer should likely be fine. If you want more precision and delicacy, there are other ways to wash your garments.
For a more hands-on cleaning method, hand washing allows for spot cleaning where needed. All you need is a toothbrush, a cloth, a bit of soap, and a glass of water.
Put a little bit of dish soap or other stain removers until you have visibly soapy water. Then, the cleaning method goes like this:
Take your favorite hat. Then, lightly wet the clean towel or cloth, and dab it around the hat, using circular motions. This is the gentlest part of the cleaning. Then, use a dry portion of the cloth to wipe away any excess water. Access the scent and cleanliness of the hat.
For pieces that need special treatment, wet the toothbrush and use circular motions to scrub away any stains. Washing by hand has the benefit of being, potentially, the most delicate of all options listed here; it’s ideal if you have just one or two stained spots you want to get rid of.
There is, still, one last option for easily washing your hats.
Creating a basin for your hat is the perfect middle ground. It has both the care of spot cleaning by hand and the in-depth cleaning of a washer. It gives a deep clean, but one that’s more deliberate. For the container: we say “basin,” but really, all you need is a bowl large enough to submerge your hat.
Fill your basin with lukewarm or cool water. Add a bit of soap or detergent, as was done previously. From there, pre-treat any particular stains you might want to take care of on your hat. Then, place your hat in the water so that it is wholly submerged.
From here, wait as the hat soaks. It’s the easiest five to ten minutes of the whole process. From there, move the hat in the water and lightly squeeze to press excess water, soap, and grime out.
If you’re satisfied with the appearance and feel of your hat, rinse it to remove any lingering soap. From there, gently fluff up and reshape the hat so that it dries properly. Hang the cap to dry.
Some pieces we take with us every day. They are those true essentials that last and last for years to come. They are the quality winter jackets we only need to buy once a decade and the hats that last forever. More importantly, they are the travel essentials that help support us wherever we need to go.
Our name, Andar, literally means “to carry.” We believe in making goods that go in the distance, in all regards. That means quality travel goods like bags, wallets, and carrying cases. It also means only using the highest quality full-grain leather for everything we design.
All these goods live alongside apparel, leather care products, and more: Within each and every one of them is the Andar ethos of longevity, quality, and excellence.