How To Get Sweat Stains Out Of Hats [4 Effortless Ways]

October 21, 2021
by Dan Skewes

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Isn’t it just a nightmare when your favorite cap gets a sweat stain? Not only do sweat stains look bad, but they smell absolutely awful. Was it a cap you wore to the gym?

Do you miss being able to wear that hat now? Don’t worry, with this helpful guide you will be able to eliminate any sweat stains on your fashionable hats. 

Before we begin our instructions, there are a few factors you will have to consider before you begin washing your smelly and stained hat. And once we get through those we will share how to get sweat stains out of hats a few different ways!

Washing Instructions

Some hats will feature labels on the inside that will contain washing recommendations. If you can locate this label, it is a good idea to follow these instructions.

After all, the company that manufactured the hat will know how to clean it best. If you bought the hat online, you may even be able to locate washing instructions on their website.

Included in the product description should be information about the optimal way to wash this hat.

Type Of Hat

There are many different styles of hats, including baseball caps, top hats, fedoras, berets, and flat caps.

Because they are made from different materials and are shaped in different ways, each hat should be washed differently. A rule for one style of hat may not be applicable to a different type of hat. 

Hat Material

Hats can be made from loads of different materials, though they are frequently made from cotton or wool.

The material will impact how successful you will be in removing sweat stains. This information should be fairly easy to find. 

How To Wash

Once you have taken these factors into account, it is time to begin removing sweat stains. Before you begin washing the whole hat, it is a good idea to complete a spot test.

A spot test involves only washing a small amount of the hat to see whether or not the color will be affected. Find a small section of the hat and rub it with a cloth and hot water.

If the color begins to bleed or fade from the hat, do not continue to wash it with water. If the color remains, you are free to begin washing it with water. 

Wash By Hand

The easiest and most effective method of eliminating sweat stains is to wash your hat by hand. However, this technique will not be suitable for all hat materials.

If your hat is made of cotton, it should be fine. If it is made from other materials, such as wool or leather, this may not work. 

To begin washing by hand, you will need a sink full of hot water. Add a small amount of bleach-free washing detergent. Place your stained hat in the water.

Target the sweat-stained area with a soft brush. Leave it to soak for a bit before removing your hat. Rinse it and leave your hat to dry.

Do not put your hat in a tumble dryer, as this could seriously ruin it. Letting it air dry is the best, as this should protect the shape of your hat.

This, however, will mean that your hat will take some time to fully dry.

Washing Machine

We do not recommend chucking your hat in the washing machine unless the product’s washing instructions tell you to.

If your hat is especially sweaty, you might want to use a prewash detergent. Once you have done this, you can put your hat in the washing machine.

It is best to put the machine on at the temperature advised in the washing instructions. However, a general rule is that the colder the wash you use, the less harmful it will be to your hat.

While washing at high temperatures over 149°F will kill bacteria, it may not be suitable for your hat.

Like in the above method, it is best to let your hat air dry instead of putting it in the tumble dryer. 

Cap Cage

The idea of putting a hat in the dishwasher might sound absurd.

However, if you own a sweat-stained cap that is in desperate need of thorough cleaning, an option is to use a cap cage to wash it in the dishwasher.

What are cap cages? They are items devised to protect the form of your cap. With them, you will be able to safely wash your hats.

Using a cap cage, put your hat in the dishwasher and wash it with bleach-free detergent at a low temperature. Afterward, leave it to dry. 

Make A Paste

If none of these techniques have worked for you, a final option for you is to make a washing paste for your hats. Mix some baking powder with a small amount of water.

This should form a paste that you can apply to the sweat stains. Scrub with a small brush until you begin to see some results.

If the stain has still not vanished, you can leave the paste on for an hour and then brush it off. Rinse off any remaining paste and put it aside to dry. 

Related: The 7 Best Shoe Lifts To Keep Your Feet Happy

How To Get Sweat Stains Out Of Hats - Frequently Asked Questions

Old dirty khaki cap from Vetnam with red star in the garden

Can You Use Vinegar To Get Rid Of Sweat Stains?

White vinegar is a powerful and versatile cleaning product that is a must-have in any household. To get rid of sweat stains, mix vinegar with water.

Leave your item of clothing to soak in this mixture. This should be enough to get rid of the stain. If you are unlucky and the stain is still present, you can then try rubbing it off with a brush. 

What Causes Sweat Stains?

As you might have guessed, sweat is partly responsible for the emergence of sweat stains on your favorite items of clothing.

Surprisingly, antiperspirant is also to blame. You see, the salt in your sweat can react to the ingredients in antiperspirant.

This explains why you may get sweat stains on the armpits of your clothes. If this is a common occurrence for you, it might be best to try out a different antiperspirant brand. 


The process of getting sweat stains out of your beloved hats or caps can seem daunting.

However, if you obey the instructions above, you should end up with clean and stylish hats that you can wear all year round. 

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