How To Wash Hats in a Dishwasher

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Hats can offer their wearer protection from the weather while also being a fun addition to their outfit. Prolonged exposure to the environment as well as dirt and oils from your skin and hair can cause your hat to become dirty over time.

In order to keep your hat looking new and smelling fresh you will need to wash it. The easiest way to wash your hat without causing unnecessary wear and tear is to wash your hat in a dishwasher.

Wash Cycle

Examine the Hat

To wash hats in a dishwasher, begin by checking the fabric on the tag. Inside the hat, search for the manufacturer’s tag. Cotton and synthetic materials are safe to leave in the dishwasher, but cardboard and wool may be harmed. Don’t put your hat inside the dishwasher if it says “hand wash only.”

If the hat has crimped and torn edges, consider hand washing it instead. If your hat has sentimental value, consider hand washing as there is always the possibility of damage.

Use a Hat Frame

If you’re concerned about your hat losing its shape, use a hat frame. Hat frames, also known as shapers, maintain the shape of your hat during the washing process and keep it from bending. Lift the frame and place your hat on top of the convex dome, with the brim inside then snap the frame shut. Hat frames are available for purchase online or in specialty hat stores.

Placing the Hat

Lay your hat on the top rack of your dishwasher. You will want to keep your hat as far away from the dishwasher’s heating element as possible. If you don’t have a hat frame, set the center of your hat on one of your dishwasher’s prongs. If you put your hat on the bottom rack, any plastic in it may melt.

Load your Dishwasher

Do not wash hats and dishes in the dishwasher at the same time. Food residue may lift from your dinnerware and end up on your hats and the grime from your hats would end up on your dishes.

Add Detergent

One tablespoon of borax or a non-bleach cleaner should be added to the detergent compartment. Avoid using any dishwasher detergents that contain lemon or bleach because this may cause the color of your headwear to change. Do not use laundry soap or dish soap, as this will cause an explosion of bubbles and foam pouring out of your dishwasher.

how to wash hats in dishwasher

Choose the Appropriate Cycle

Change your dishwasher’s settings to the coolest wash setting available. You will also want to choose air dry instead of heated dry. Once you get everything set, start your dishwasher.

Drying your hat

Remove the Hat

Remove the hat from the dishwasher before the drying cycle begins if you do not have an air dry setting. Heated drying may lead the hat to melt or burn any plastic components. Most dishwashers contain a display or light that indicates once the drying cycle begins.

Reshape the Hat

While it dries, place the hat on the top of a container or other object to shape it. Open the cap as if you’re going to put it on. To keep the dome shape of the hat, place the center of the hat on the top of the container or can. After hanging the hat, let it sit till it dries. You can keep the hat inside the hat frame to dry if you used one to wash it.

Let it Dry

Allow the hat to dry completely on its own. If you use heat to dry your hat, it will shrink. Air dry your hat. It may take several hours to fully dry. Putting a fan close to your hat will help it dry more quickly.


The first step in preserving your headwear is to maintain it correctly.

Prolong the life expectancy of your hat by following the guidelines below, which offer simple best practices for maintaining the appearance of your hats.

how to wash hats in dishwasher

Be Mindful of the Shape

Keep your hat’s proper shape by storing it properly. It doesn’t take much for a hat to deform and stop fitting properly. Hang each hat on a hook or peg that is broad enough to avoid creating dimples, or store on a shelf if possible.

You can even get hatboxes that help keep the shape of your hat, while also protecting your hat from dirt and moisture for long-term storage.

Choose the Appropriate Brush

A simple brushing can do miracles for well-worn hat. Different headgear requires different brushes. A soft-bristled brush is great for cleaning a wool hat or fur felt, whereas stiffer bristles are best for leather, suede, and silk hats. Dust and debris can be removed from straw hats with a gentle pass-over with a tiny whisk broom.

Avoid Getting Wet

No matter what kind of hat you have, it won’t like being soaked. If nature surprises you with a downpour, shake off as much water from the hat as you can. While a straw hat can be gently wiped clean, other materials such as wool, fur felt, suede, and leather requires the use of specific brushes.

Canvas hats and fabrics can be gently hand-washed with water, or washed in your dishwasher. Never use a dryer to dry your hat, as the tumbling can cause damage and the heat can cause the hat to shrink.


If your straw or felt hat becomes crumpled or wrinkled, a little steam will help.

  • Place the hat over a steaming teapot or near a laundry steamer for around 30 seconds.
  • Using your fingers, reshape the hat. You can use an iron to smooth out the damage on straw hats, using a low heat setting.

Final Thoughts

Washing your hat inside a washing machine may cause your hat to lose it shape or worse, the spin cycle will completely destroy the hat. Washing your hat in your dishwasher avoids these issues and can get your headgear completely clean with minimal work.