How to Remove Sweat Stains From a Hat

Young woman wearing cap and holding sunglasses on beach, smiling
Sweat stains come out of most hats with just detergent and water. (Image: John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

When your favorite hat starts to turn yellow or brown, sweat stains are taking over. Whether it’s your baseball cap or the trendy sun hat that shields you from the rays, sweat stains can ruin the way it looks. Remove the sweat stains by washing the hat in the washing machine or by hand.

Things You'll Need

  • Enzyme-based laundry pretreatment product

  • Regular laundry detergent

  • Gentle laundry detergent

  • Towel

  • Washcloths

  • Toothbrush

Machine Washing

Step 1

Spray the sweat stains with an enzyme-based laundry pretreatment product. Wait for the liquid to sit on the stains for at least 10 minutes.

Step 2

Wash the hat in the washing machine on the cold-water cycle. Use regular laundry detergent and do not add bleach. Wash the hat with like colors.

Step 3

Remove the hat from the washer promptly after the cycle is complete. Reshape the hat with your hands and let it air-dry completely.

Hand Washing

Step 1

Fill a clean sink with cool water. Mix in gentle laundry detergent. Follow the instructions on the detergent for the exact ratio of detergent and water.

Step 2

Lay a towel on the counter or workspace where you’re washing the hat. Place the hat on the towel.

Step 3

Soak a clean washcloth with the soapy water mixture. Squeeze out the excess water from the washcloth.

Step 4

Rub the washcloth gently over the sweat stains. Use enough pressure to lift the sweat stains, but not so much that you damage the fabric of the hat.

Step 5

Scrub the sweat stains with a clean toothbrush if they do not come off with the washcloth. Continue scrubbing, dipping the toothbrush in the soapy water solution as necessary, until all the sweat stains are gone.

Step 6

Soak a clean washcloth with cool water. Squeeze it so it’s not dripping wet.

Step 7

Use the washcloth and water to remove the soapy detergent residue from the hat. Rinse the washcloth often under cool water and continue wiping until all the soap is gone.

Step 8

Reshape the hat with your hands. Allow the hat to air-dry completely.

Tip

To retain the shape of a baseball hat while it washes in the machine, place it in a baseball hat form. These forms are sold at many hat stores.

If your hat is old or delicate, moisten a washcloth with cool water and a few drops of detergent or shampoo. Scrub gently over the sweat stains until they disappear. Rinse the area with a clean washcloth and plain water. Allow the hat to air-dry.

Warning

If the hat is wool, hand wash it in cold water with a detergent formulated for wool. Do not wring or twist the hat. Rinse it well after hand washing and let it air-dry completely.

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