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How to Get Sweat Stains Out of Hats

Most of us don’t expect our heads to produce sweat stains, but, just like our shirts can get sweat and armpit stains, our hats can become stained from sweat as well. The stains are often yellow or may be white from salt in our sweat. Getting rid of these stains, along with the unmistakable odor that accompanies them, isn’t always as simple as throwing your hat in the washing machine.

Removing Sweat Stains From Different Types of Hats

The type of hat you have will often determine the method for getting rid of the sweat stain. To remove sweat stains from hats made of wool, felt and linen, you must use a delicate touch and handwashing. These fabrics easily shrink and may lose their shape if washed in a machine.

Newer baseball caps are typically made of twill, cotton or jersey. To wash sweat stains out of baseball caps, you can usually use a washing machine or dishwasher; the fabrics are tough enough for the brisk cleaning. You may want to use a plastic or metal cap washer, however, to help keep the shape of the hat. A cap washer holds the hat in place, keeping the brim from wrinkling up or bending during the wash cycle.

To remove sweat stains from ball caps that are older, you’ll need to hand wash. Many times, these are made from natural fibers or other delicate fabrics. Other types of hats, such as fedoras, top hats and bowlers, may need handwashing or spot treating instead of machine washing for sweat stain removal to avoid harming the fabrics.

Get Sweat Stains Out of Hats: Step by Step

  1. Choose a detergent and stain remover.
  2. Pre-treat the area.
  3. Wash the baseball cap or hat. Read the maintenance label to determine whether the hat should be hand washed or machine washed.
  4. Air-dry the hat.
  5. Check to see if the sweat stain is still present.

Choose a Detergent and Stain Remover

The type of detergent and stain remover you opt for will depend on the color of your hat. Use a sweat stain remover for hats that are white like Persil Universal Megaperls® or Persil Universal Gel. Persil Color Megaperls® or Persil Color Gel works well on colored hats and baseball caps. For dyed hats, use Sil 1-for-All Stain Gel or Sil 1-for-All Stain Salt. Be sure to follow the dosage recommendations on the product label.

Pre-Treat the Stain

Pre-treat the stain with your detergent and let it sit for the instructed amount of time indicated on the product label. Rinse with cool water.

Washing the Hat

To remove yellow stains from hats, you’ll need to wash them in cool water. Some hats may require hand washing. If this is the case, fill a tub or your kitchen sink with cool water and place the hat in the water. Gently swish it around the water and rub it gently with your fingers to get rid of the sweat stain.

Let it Air-Dry

Depending on the color of the fabric, you may have to let the hat dry before you can determine if the stain is still present. Always air-dry your hats; this helps the hat maintain its shape.

Check for Stains

If you were not able to remove sweat stains from the hat, repeat the process until the stain is no longer present.

Remove Sweat Stains From Hats: Dealing With Different Fabrics and Hat Parts

Certain types of hat fabrics, like twill, cotton, jersey, acrylic and polyester can handle the rough and tumble of a washing machine, though they may lose their shape without the help of a cap washer, which holds the hat in place. Other fabrics, however, like linen, felt, wool, and suede, can become misshapen, pill or even fall apart when machine washed. They must either be spot-treated or hand washed when removing sweat stains.

Hats also feature a variety of different parts that may be more sensitive than the hat material itself. For instance, a baseball cap may have a sturdy press stud, metal clasp and slugs that won’t be harmed by a wash in the washing machine or dishwasher. However, it may also have more sensitive embroidery that could unravel after multiple washes to get sweat stains out of the hat. In this case, handwashing or spot treating the cap would be a better option to help preserve its life.

Other types of hats may feature parts that are sensitive to machine washing as well. A stiff crown and circular brim of a classic hat, for instance, may be treated with starch to help the hat keep its shape. When treating yellow sweat stains on hats, machine washing could cause the hat to lose its shape.

If you’re not sure how to get sweat stains out of the hats you own, always play it safe and keep the hat out of the washing machine. Pre-treat the stained area, then hand wash.