How To Wash Golf Hats And Breathe New Life Into Your Favorite Caps

Written by John VanDerLaan 

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Golfer with a dirty golf hat

If you’re like me, you grow very fond of your favorite golf hats, but after just a few rounds of golf out in the hot sun your favorite hat becomes a dirty, sweat stained mess.

But all hope is not lost.

In this article you are going to learn how to wash golf hats and have them looking like new again.

There are three basic ways to wash golf hats that I will explain in detail as well as methods for removing stains from your golf hats.

  1. Hand wash golf hats.
  2. Wash golf hats in the dishwasher.
  3. Wash golf hats in the washing machine.

RELATED: Best Golf Hats For Sun Protection

How To Hand Wash Golf Hats

Hand washing a golf hat

The best way to clean golf hats is to hand wash them, especially if you want to make sure that they do not get ruined or shrink like they can with the other methods.

When you are hand washing your hats, be very gentle with them. The main objective is to get them clean while maintaining their shape, color and integrity.

Hand washing is very simple and requires only a sink or bucket, warm water, dishwashing detergent and a brush or toothbrush, similar to cleaning golf clubs.

Here is the method that I use:

  1. Fill the sink with enough warm water that you can submerge the hats. As the sink is filling, add a good squirt of high quality liquid dishwashing detergent. The kind that you use to hand wash dishes. Then add a scoop of oxyclean.
  2. Next, look over your hat closely to find any stains or discoloration. Spot treat these stains by using straight dishwashing soap and a brush, or even the scrubbie side of a sponge. Don’t overlook the headband inside the hat. This usually gets pretty dirty and if you don’t clean it thoroughly, the first time you sweat in your newly cleaned hat will find that dirt making its way to the outside.
  3. Once you have spot treated any stubborn areas, submerge the hat in the warm water and let it soak for about an hour. I have found that an hour is usually long enough. Pro Tip: (You’ll thank me later for this one.) Be sure to tell your wife what you are doing or you will come back and find your dirty hat drying on the counter.
  4. After an hour your hat should be thoroughly cleaned. If it is not, then repeat steps 2 and 3. If it is clean, then rinse the hat thoroughly with cold water making sure to remove all of the soap from the hat.
  5. Now that the hat is clean and all soap residue has been removed, gently dry the hat by blotting it with a clean towel. You aren’t trying to get it completely dry, just remove the excess water so that it is not dripping.
  6. The final step is to air dry the hat. The important thing to remember with this step is that you want to make sure that you retain the shape and structure of the hat. The best way to do that is with one of those plastic hat washers, but you can also do it pretty effectively with any container that you may have in your pantry. A can of beans, or a jar of tomato sauce will work just fine. Anything that will help the hat hold its shape while it air dries. Do not put it in the sun. The sun can damage the fabric and all your work will be wasted.

RELATED: How To Get Rust Off Golf Clubs

Hand washing is our recommended method for washing hats, but let’s face it, we are always looking for an easier way to do things. So let’s look at how to wash hats in the dishwasher.

How To Wash Golf Hats In The Dishwasher

Golf Hat in the dishwasher

Alright, so the best way to wash hats is hand washing, but the game is on and you have better things to do.

Can you put a golf hat in the dishwasher?

Yes you can put a golf hat in the dishwasher, but you need to take a couple of precautions to make sure that the hat is not damaged or shrunk.

Your two biggest enemies when washing hats in the dishwasher are heat and bleach.

Make sure that you put the cap on the top rack of the dishwasher only and wash on the coolest setting that your dishwasher has.

Use the rack to support the structure of your hat.

Wash only hats in the dishwasher. Be sure to remove any dishes and run the cycle with just caps.

Also, make sure that you turn off any heated drying option.

Make sure there is no bleach in the detergent that you are using. Bleach and hats do not mix.

When the cycle is complete, remove the caps and air dry them in the same manner as hand washing above.

While washing a golf hat in the dishwasher is not as effective as hand washing, it is a viable alternative for getting hats clean without damaging them as long as you follow the protocols above.

How To Wash Golf Hats In The Washing Machine

Golf hat in the washing machine

Okay, so the game is on and your wife is in the kitchen doing the dishes. Now how do you wash your hats?

Can you put a golf hat in the washing machine?

Yes you can put a golf hat in the washing machine, but again you need to take some precautions to not ruin your favorite hat.

  1. You have to get one of those plastic hat washers to maintain the shape, structure and integrity of the cap. Better yet, get a few of them so that you can wash all of your golf hats at the same time.
  2. Wash only your hats in the washing machine. Do not put caps in a load with other laundry.
  3. Set your washer for cold water and on a gentle cycle.
  4. Use the recommended amount of detergent and NO BLEACH. You can add a scoop of Oxyclean, which will help.
  5. When the cycle is complete, remove your hats and allow them to air dry. Never put hats in the dryer. (Trust me on this one. I’ve tried it.)

Putting a golf hat in the washing machine is the least desirable of the three methods, but it does work as long as you follow the tips above and make sure to air dry.

How To Remove Stains From Golf Hats

Sometimes you will run into a situation where you get some stubborn stains on your golf hat.

Oftentimes it is the yellow stains from sweat. 

You can usually get all but the toughest stains out simply by using dish detergent or laundry detergent like tide.

Apply the liquid detergent directly to the stain and scrub with a toothbrush. Let it set for about 10 minutes and repeat until the stain is gone. Then wash with one of the methods above being sure to air dry the hat.

If this doesn’t work, it is time to break out the baking soda.

  1. Mix ½ cup of baking soda with warm water until a paste is formed.
  2. Put the paste on the stain and gently scrub with an old toothbrush or other soft bristle brush.
  3. Let it soak until the stain is gone.
  4. Repeat if necessary.

Another option to remove stubborn stains is to use a laundry stain remover like Spray and Wash or OxiClean stain remover.

How To Wash White Golf Hats

Dirty White Golf Hat

My favorite hats are white, white Titleist hats to be specific. White hats get particularly dirty and stained with sweaty hat residue.

The yellow, stubborn sweat stains on a white golf hat are a challenge to remove, but it is entirely possible to restore a white golf hat to look brand new.

I have had very good luck removing sweat stains from white hats following the steps in the section above titled: How To Remove Stains From Golf Hats, but if that doesn’t work, I have an ace up my sleeve that may help you restore your white golf hat.

Hydrogen Peroxide.

Yes, hydrogen peroxide is an oxidizing (bleaching) agent that is much easier to use and less caustic than bleach. It is safe to use as long as it is used sparingly and carefully.

I like to apply the hydrogen peroxide to the stain with a Q-Tip. Use only a small amount, just enough to soak the stain, then brush gently until the stain is gone.

Once you have removed all of the stains from the white golf hat, wash using one of the methods above and air dry.

I have washed many white Titleist hats with this method and saved them from the garbage can.

Final Thoughts

Clean Titleist Hats

Golfers wear hats for various reasons, from sun protection and shading your eyes so you can see the ball better, even as a fashion statement for women golfers.

Most of us will never have a sponsorship deal that provides us with a new golf hat to wear for every round of golf like the tour pros do, so it is important to know how to wash a golf hat in order to extend its life.

The best way to wash a golf hat is the hand washing method, but you can wash them in the dishwasher or the washing machine as long as you follow some simple rules outlined above.

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John VanDerLaan

John is the Lead Editor and founder at Golf Gear Advisor. He is a golf coach and mentor to his 2 sons that are current playing professionals. His son John is currently playing on the Korn Ferry Tour and his son Michael is currently playing on mini tours and preparing for Q School. John Sr. has been their coach and mentor since they were 2 years old. He helped them to succeed in golf with the right equipment, instruction and mindset. John knows a thing or two about playing good golf and he has a passion for sharing his knowledge with others.

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