Do the boys or men in your life have greasy, sweaty, or just plan disgusting caps? Don’t just throw them away! The solution to clean caps is just a washing machine cycle away!
Ball caps are a dime a dozen in the agriculture world. The free advertising is fully taken advantage of by so many companies. And the best part is that men know where and which companies have the good caps. Which is great! If they like the company and the hat, then go for it and love the hat! The problem is that if they are outside in the mud, grease, and hot shining sun, this hat is going to get, well, disgusting. Sweaty, greasy, dusty. But sometimes just throwing them in the washing machine with other work clothes doesn’t actually result in a set of clean caps. Instead, they might be a disfigured mess.
The Favorite Hat Dilemma
My husband has a cycle of having a favorite hat, wearing it as his “good” hat until it starts getting dingy, and then transferring it to his “work” hat. Which is a good plan. But the end result is the hat usually getting thrown away once it reaches the “point of no return”. You know the one… a good rule of thumb is that the “point of no return” occurs when you can no longer see resemblance of the original hat color on the front. Anyway, I accepted the cycle and moved on.
But a problem became clear when my husbands absolute favorite hat needed to go out of commission. It looked way past it’s prime. But, he kept putting off the process of throwing it in the trash. But I was tired of having this disgusting cap in our entryway and him constantly wanting to wear it… I think you know what I mean. I guess they get attached to how it fits and looks. So a cleaning mission I went on! If he’s going to wear it, at least it maybe could be halfway presentable, right?
The most beautiful process was finding out how to get this hat back in tip top shape with little to no work. And the next hat, and the next. Because here’s the deal. I don’t have the time to devote to scrubbing a hat. I just don’t. And I don’t think you do either.
But the truth was, cleaning caps really isn’t all that difficult. There are two main components that are important to getting beautifully clean caps. The “pre-treatment” and the “wash cycle”. And the type of cap is also fairly important.
Types of Caps
The caps that I’ve done this one are mainly cotton or cotton poly mixed cloth caps. Because the fabric is so much like regular clothing, it helps in knowing what type of stain treatment is best and how to wash them without causing crazy shrinking and disfiguration. Depending on the composition of the hat, you may need to take extra precautions to have the best end result. Most of my husbands hats are cotton or a cotton poly mix so that’s what I’m basing this off of.
As I’ve stated, my husbands hats are well loved. So the first step in cleaning them is pre-treating the stains. Pre-treatment is the same thing you would do with set in stains in clothes. Except with hats that aren’t ever washed, pre-treatment needs more time than just a few minutes. These hats are disgusting and the disgusting has literally been engrained in the make up of the cloth. You’ve got to let that puppy sit for a while to truly get a clean cap.
My favorite pre-treatment for getting clean caps is the Shout stain treating spray. You don’t have to rub a gel on the hat or really work it into the hat. To pre-treat caps, I simply thoroughly coat the hat in the stain treating spray. And don’t forget the inside brim of the cap. Dirt, oil, and sweat build up there particularly well. Really layer the spray on.
And instead of letting the treatment sit for a few minutes, I let it set for at least a day. Usually on top of a dish towel that will be washed in the next day or so as well so the towel catches any run off from the doused hat.
Letting the hat sit with the stain remover on it allows the stain to really start to break down and ensure that it will have the best chance of coming out in the wash. In fact, I wouldn’t be afraid to let the hat sit for a couple of days if the dirtiness was on a whole new level.
The Wash Cycle
The next step is actually carrying through and washing the hats. I like to wait until I have at least 2-3 hats before I wash them. This allows me to designate a separate load strictly to these pretty disgusting articles. Will the washer load be full? No. But I actually prefer this as it causes less disfiguration in the hats. And why would you want to wash other actual clothes with the disgustingness that’s held in these caps?
So, after setting the washer to a fairly high water temperature, I usually do high/hot water, and a small load, you can run the cycle as normal with your pretreated caps. For detergent, I like to use the Tide Original Powder as I think it has great stain lifting qualities. I usually do about 4-5 teaspoons of Tide as this allows just enough to really work the problem spots without being just plain excessive.
If you take a peak in your washer mid-cycle, I think you’ll be surprised to see just how disgusting the water gets even with only a few hats being washed.
Drying the Clean Caps
When your wash cycle is all done, the most important step of this process is making sure the hat dries in a way that will keep the shape of the cap. So basically, don’t throw it in the dryer. That would be a bad method of drying them.
I like to air dry the caps either hanging from a hook or more preferably sitting on a table in the preferred shape of the cap. They don’t take long to dry, maybe a day at most. And the end result is a completely clean hat that can be worn another day… or several months or more.
I do feel obligated to discuss the possibility of permanent stains, so here we go.
My husband must have an insanely sweaty head, especially in the summer. How do I know this? His hats are bleached out around the sweat band. Why? Sweat is water and salt. When you combine sweat with a lot of sun, it can actually bleach cloth. So wherever there was large amounts of sweat on a cap worn during the summer, you can probably expect some degree of bleaching to have occurred.
My husband still chooses to wear his caps even with the little bits of bleaching. Surprisingly, it does kind of make them look a little vintage in a weird and sort of disgusting way I suppose?
Regardless, he’s happy to have his favorite hat back and I’m happy to be rid of an overwhelmingly disgusting hat in the entry way. It’s really a win-win situation!
Have you washed caps before to clean them? Do you have any monumental tips or tricks that are game changers? Let me know!