How to Wash Baseball Hats in the Dishwasher the Right Way

Hey hat lovers! Tired of the never-ending struggle of hand washing your favorite hat? Well, I’ve got an awesome trick up my sleeve that’ll blow your mind: washing hats in the dishwasher!


Yep, you heard that right. Say goodbye to the days of scrubbing away at stubborn stains and say hello to the ultimate hat-cleaning hack. Trust me, this game-changing method will have your hats looking fresher than ever with minimal effort on your part.

Get ready to ditch the scrubbing and dive into the world of dishwasher hat magic.

Washing Hats in the Dishwasher

The sun is out which means I’ve been wearing my favorite baseball cap on evening walks. I started to notice I was breaking out on my forehead a bit and I wasn’t down for that.

I realized that I haven’t washed my hat basically since I bought it. I know. Gross.

The inside rim was covered in makeup stains and sweat so it had seen better days. Spot cleaning was definitely an option but that also seemed like more work and I already had a long to-do list before school got out.

So I figured I’d try the dishwasher method to see if it actually works. I have to say I was quite impressed with the results.

Cleaning Hat in the dishwasher

Type of Hat You Can Wash in the Dishwasher

Washing a hat in the dishwasher is a convenient way to clean it, but it’s important to note that not all hats are dishwasher-safe. Certain types of hats, like those made of suede, leather, straw and wool or hats with intricate decorations, are not suitable for dishwasher cleaning. 

Baseball hats, bucket hats or other cotton hats should be totally fine to wash in the dishwasher. In fact baseball hats are the most popular for this cleaning method.

People warn that hats with cardboard bills should not be washed in the dishwasher as the heat and water can cause them to warp or lose their shape but that’s what baseball caps are. Duh. So use this method at your own risk I guess but I haven’t had any problems washing baseball hats and trucker hats.

If you wear vintage hats, old hats, or special hats in anyway then consider going the extra mile with the hand-washing method otherwise go the dishwasher route to keep it simple.

Why Use the Dishwasher to Wash Hats?

If you’re still on the fence about washing your hats in the dishwasher, let me break it down for you. First off, it’s all about convenience, my friend. Instead of spending precious time and elbow grease hand washing each hat individually, you can simply toss them in the dishwasher and let the machine do the work. It’s a total time-saver!

A dishwasher is better than a washing machine as well because the dishwasher keeps the hats in place while washing so they won’t get knocked out of shape in the washing process. 

But that’s not all. Dishwashers are equipped with powerful jets of water that can blast away dirt, grime, and even stubborn stains from your hats. Imagine your favorite cap looking fresh and vibrant again, as if it just came off the store shelf. Plus, the dishwasher’s gentle cycle can ensure that your hats are treated with care, so you don’t have to worry about damage or reshaping.

And let’s not forget about hygiene. Hats can accumulate sweat, oils, and other icky stuff over time. By giving them a thorough cleaning in the dishwasher, you’ll be banishing all those nasties and keeping your hats fresh and odor-free.

How to Clean Your Hat in the Dishwasher

There are lots of different ways people like to use a dishwasher to clean their hats. I feel like some steps are unnecessary but I’m going to cover them anyway incase you fill the need to go those routes. I like to keep it simple and everything turned out just fine.

Step One – You should pre-treat stained areas with your favorite stain remover and let that sit for a good 20 minutes. Some people like to do a pre-wash scrub with some soapy water and a soft-bristled brush or damp cloth. If your hat has serious stains or hasn’t been washed in years, like mine, then you might need this extra step but I was looking for fast so I skipped this step. If I wanted to hand scrub a hat then I wouldn’t need the dishwasher.

Step Two – Place your hats on the top rack of the dishwasher. I like to secure them a bit by slipping the back strap of the cap onto on of the rack pegs. 

The back strap of a baseball cap slipped over the pegs of a dishwasher rack before being washed in the dishwasher

You can use a hat frame to help keep the hats shape but you will need one for each hat you wash. If you don’t want to have to purchase a hat form or two then you can use a small bowl to set your hat on. I didn’t bother with either of these and everything came out just fine.

Step Three – You don’t need a specialty detergent. Normal dishwasher detergents work best, not dish soap and not laundry detergent. Just use it like you normally would when running your dishwasher. Some dishwashing detergent has bleach in it. Make sure your’s does not before using.

Step Four – Choose the most delicate cycle on your dishwasher. If you can use cold water (warm water is okay too) and turn off the drying cycle. The hot water and high heat can shrink the fabric which will mess with the shape of the hat.

I have washed dirtier hats on a regular wash cycle and they came out just fine but it does take while longer to get through the wash. The longer cycle got the hats cleaner. 

Step Five – Once the cycle is complete you’ll need to dry the hats by laying them somewhere to dry. They are going to be pretty wet so I like to hang them to dry in the bathroom on some hooks. You can hang them from the shower curtain rod or set them on a drying rack if you have either of those.

Another option is to lay them down on a clean towel on top of an overturned bowl if you’re worried about the hat keeping its shape.

Placing the hats in a sunny place will dry them faster but direct sunlight can cause them to fade so that’s up to you if you want to go that route.

Before and After

Let’s take a look at the before and after photos of my hats. The pink trucker hat is from the Dollar Store. I’ve had it for 3 years and have never washed it. It’s the one I use most frequently and has been causing the forehead breakouts. You can see the makeup ring. 

I am happy with the results after the wash and I feel much better about wearing the hat again. Is it brand new, perfect? No. But I think the fact that the makeup has been on for years was a problem. And the hat did look much better and felt cleaner after the wash.

Before and after of a hat being washed in the dishwasher.

Pros and Cons of Washing a Hat in the Dishwasher

I do think washing hats in the dishwasher is the best way to get baseball hats clean with out having to hand wash them. I will definitely use this method for getting a basic clean, more often.

It’s so easy to throw a couple of hats in the dishwasher, walk away, and come back to clean hats later.

However, I don’t think the dishwasher does the best job on really dirty hats that need a good scrub. Basically, if you’ve had your hats for years, wear them regularly, and never washed them before then the dishwasher will clean them but they won’t come out looking brand new either.

If that’s the case then I would just hand wash them with a mild detergent and not bother to put them in the dishwasher.

But, if you buy a new hat and use the dishwasher method to clean it on a regular basis then it’s my preferred method for sure.

Pros and Cons

Pro: does a great job on maintenance cleaning. Easy and convenient.

Cons: doesn’t do the bets job on really dirty hats that haven’t been washed in a really long time or that really need to be scrubbed like set in makeup stains. Not great for older hats that are more fragile or falling apart. Doesn’t work on all hats.

If you are worried about running a dishwasher that’s only half full then consider using the bottom rack to clean some other household items that can go in the dishwasher like:

  • kids bath toys or other plastic toys like blocks, stacking cups, dinosaurs, and more. Smaller toys can be put in a mesh wash bag.
  • Dog toys that are made from hard rubber or plastic
  • Sports equipment like shin guards and protective pads
  • Vacuum attachments
  • Flip flops and crocs
Learn how to wash dirty baseball hats in the dishwasher.

Will I Clean Hats in the Dishwasher Again?

Short answer is yes, definitely!

While I don’t think washing hats in the dishwasher is the absolute best method for cleaning hats, I think hand cleaning is the best, I do think it’s a great option for keeping hats clean in between an occasional hand scrub.

I do plan on keeping newer hats clean this way because it’s better than not cleaning them at all, which has been a problem for me in the past.

If you keep up with regular washing in the dishwasher then I think you’ll need less of those hand cleaning sessions and I think that’s worth it. I will definitely be using the dishwasher to clean hats again and again.

You Might Also Like:

Truly Free Dishwasher Detergent Review (Spoiler: It’s Awesome!)

The Secret to Removing Hard Water Stains

How to Clean Your Microwave the Easy Way

The Best Essential Oils for Cleaning


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *