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How to Clean Baseball Caps
By Mary Marlowe Leverette, About.com Guide
Whether you wear a baseball cap for work or play, there may come a time that it needs a bit of cleaning. But before you start, take time to look at the little tag on the inside to get an idea of what fiber content and any manufacturer’s cleaning instructions. Of course, your tag may be gone or unreadable and caps made before 1983 didn’t require a tag. So, we’ll cover instructions for safe cleaning of almost any cap.
Newer baseball caps are often made of cotton twill, cotton polyester blends or jersey mesh. These fabrics are strong and durable and usually colorfast. New caps use a plastic form to shape the brim, not cardboard. These plastic forms can withstand a wash without becoming deformed.
To clean, pretreat exceptionally dirty areas with an enzyme-based laundry stain remover. Wash the cap with the rest of similarly colored clothing in cool water. Do not use bleach. If you are very concerned with protecting the shape of the cap, you can use a specially designed hat form and toss it in the washer. Allow the cap to dry in the form or over a coffee can or other head-shaped container. Do not put baseball caps in the dryer.
You have probably heard of washing caps in the dishwasher on the top rack. I would not recommend this because dishwasher detergents are quite harsh and often contain bleach that can ruin your cap. And, the high temperatures are not good for the fabric and may cause shrinkage.
Wool caps should be handwashed using cool water and a mild detergent designated for wool. Be gentle and don’t scrub or twist the fibers. Rinse well in cool water and roll gently in a thick towel to absorb most of the moisture. Allow to air dry on a head-shaped object. If you dry your wool cap on your own head, it will dry to the precise shape of your head.
Commemorative caps should always be stored in a covered case to prevent dust and grease from accumulating on the cap. These should only need a light dusting or brushing to keep them at their best. Always store away from direct light and intense heat.
If a deeper cleaning is needed, first do a colorfastness test. Using a white cloth with a bit of mild detergent, gently rub an inconspicuous area of the cap. If there is color transfer, do not proceed. If it is colorfast, continue using the cloth to clean the entire hat. Do not immerse the hat in water. The bill may be shaped using cardboard that will dissolve. Rinse your cloth in clean water to “rinse” the cap. Air dry on a head-shaped container.
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