Wash a hat in the dishwasher – Step-by-Step

wash a hat in the dishwasher

Washing a hat in the dishwasher is a simple and efficient process that ensures a thorough cleanse while maintaining the hat’s shape and integrity. Discover a hassle-free way to refresh your favorite hats with our guide on “How To Wash a Hat in the Dishwasher.” Effortless cleaning while preserving shape!

wash hats in the dishwasher

1. Why wash hats in the dishwasher?

Washing hats in the dishwasher is an ingenious method, particularly suitable for those who want to maintain the shape and structure of their headwear. The primary reason to use a dishwasher over a conventional washing machine for this task lies in the way the dishwasher operates. Unlike washing machines, which agitate and tumble their contents, potentially distorting the shape of delicate items like hats, dishwashers clean by spraying water and detergent, thus preserving the hat’s original form.

When you wash a hat in the dishwasher, it undergoes a gentle yet effective cleaning process. The hat is exposed to a steady stream of water and detergent, ensuring that it gets thoroughly cleaned without being subjected to the harsh mechanical actions of a washing machine. This method is especially beneficial for baseball caps and other structured hats that might lose their shape if washed in a washing machine.

Moreover, washing hats in the dishwasher can be more convenient and efficient than hand washing. Hand washing requires time and effort to gently scrub and rinse the hat, whereas the dishwasher automates this process. You simply place the hat on the top rack, set the appropriate cycle (preferably one without high heat or drying), and let the machine do the work. It’s a hassle-free way to ensure your hats are clean without risking damage to their shape or material.

In summary, using a dishwasher to wash a hat is a smart choice for those who value convenience and the preservation of their hats’ integrity. It offers a gentle yet thorough cleaning method that maintains the shape and structure of the hat, making it an ideal alternative to more traditional washing methods.

2. How to prepare your hat for the dishwasher?


  1. Inspect the Care Label: Begin by examining the care label inside your hat. Hats made of cotton and synthetic materials are usually safe to wash in a dishwasher. However, if the label clearly states that the hat should be hand-washed only, it’s best to avoid the dishwasher to prevent any damage.
  2. Assess the Condition of the Hat: Check your hat for any signs of wear and tear, such as fraying edges or holes. In such cases, it may be better to gently clean the hat with a damp cloth rather than risking further damage in the dishwasher.
  3. Pre-Treat Stains: For hats with visible stains or marks, pre-treat these areas with a damp cloth and a mild detergent. Gentle rubbing can help remove tough stains, giving your hat a better chance of coming out perfectly clean.
hats lable


  1. Gather Necessary Items: Prepare everything you need for the wash. If you’re concerned about the hat maintaining its shape, consider using a hat frame. These are available online and help keep the hat’s structure intact during washing.
  2. Choose the Right Detergent: Opt for borax or a bleach-free, gentle dishwasher detergent. Harsh chemicals or bleach can damage the fabric or color of your hat.


  1. Proper Placement: Whether using a hat frame or not, it’s crucial to place the hat on the top rack of the dishwasher. This position keeps it away from the heating element at the bottom, minimizing the risk of heat damage.
  2. Support the Hat’s Shape: If you don’t have a hat frame, position your hat in the center of the top rack. Place a clean cup or bowl under the hat’s crown to support and maintain its shape during the wash.


  1. Wash the Hat Separately: Avoid washing your hat with dirty dishes, as this could transfer food residue onto the hat. Always wash your hat in a clean dishwasher, on its own.
  2. Clean the Dishwasher First: If your dishwasher hasn’t been cleaned recently, ensure you clear out the filter and check for any residual food particles at the bottom.


how to wash hat in dishwasher Wash a hat in the dishwasher - Step-by-Step SCARF.COM
  1. Detergent and Cycle Selection: Fill the detergent compartment with your chosen dishwasher detergent. Select the dishwasher cycle that is the shortest and coldest to prevent any heat damage. Most dishwashers offer a delicate cycle, and some even allow manual adjustments of temperature settings.

3. Step-by-step how to wash a hat in the dishwasher

Washing a hat in the dishwasher can be a great way to clean it thoroughly while preserving its shape. Here’s a detailed guide on how to do it effectively:

Step 1: Pre-Treatment

  1. Examine the Hat: Check if the hat is heavily soiled or stained, particularly with sweat or other substances.
  2. Apply Pre-Treatment: Use a liquid or paste that’s suitable for the hat’s material. Gently apply it to the stained or soiled areas.
  3. Allow Time for the Treatment to Work: Leave the product on the hat for about 30 minutes. This will help break down dirt and oils, enhancing the effectiveness of the wash cycle.

Step 2: Securing the Hat in the Dishwasher

  1. Using a Hat Frame: If you have a plastic frame designed for washing hats, place the hat inside it and set the frame on the top shelf of an empty dishwasher.
  2. Without a Frame: If you don’t have a frame, secure the hat by placing the adjustable strap around one of the dishwasher rack’s pegs. Alternatively, use clothespins or binder clips to attach the hat to the sides or bottom of the rack.

Step 3: Adding Detergent

  1. Choose the Right Detergent: Pick a dishwashing detergent that doesn’t contain bleach or citric acid, as these ingredients can damage the hat’s fabric.
  2. Detergent Quantity: Add the detergent to the soap dispenser in the same quantity you would normally use for dishes.

Step 4: Choosing the Wash Cycle

  1. Select the Right Temperature: Set your dishwasher to a normal wash cycle with warm water. Avoid using hot water as it can damage the hat.
  2. Disable Heat Dry: Make sure to turn off the heat dry option. Excessive heat can warp or shrink the hat.

Step 5: Drying the Hat

  1. Remove Hat After Cycle: Once the dishwasher cycle is complete, carefully remove the hat frame or the hat itself.
  2. Setting Up for Drying: Place the hat in a well-ventilated area with good airflow.
  3. Maintaining Shape While Drying: For hats made of more flexible fabrics, position them on an overturned bowl that matches the size of the hat’s interior. This helps the hat retain its shape as it dries.
  4. Allow Adequate Drying Time: Let the hat dry overnight, ensuring it’s completely dry before wearing it again.

By following these steps, you can efficiently wash your hat in the dishwasher, ensuring it comes out clean and maintains its shape and integrity.

You can see the video of how to clean the hat with a dishwasher below…

4. Drying and reshaping your hat after washing

Drying and reshaping your hat after washing are crucial steps to maintain its appearance and longevity.

Initial Drying Steps

  1. Gently Remove Excess Water: After washing, carefully remove your hat and gently shake off any excess water. Avoid wringing or twisting the hat, as this can cause it to lose its shape.
  2. Blot with a Towel: Lay a clean, dry towel flat on a surface. Place the hat on the towel and gently pat it with another towel to absorb moisture. Rotate the hat to ensure all sides are blotted.

Reshaping the Hat

  1. Assess the Hat’s Shape: Examine the hat to see if it has retained its shape. If it looks misshapen, you’ll need to work on reshaping it.
  2. Use a Hat Form or a Makeshift Mold: If you have a hat form, place the hat on it. Otherwise, use everyday items like a bowl, a head-shaped object, or balled-up towels to recreate the hat’s original shape. Make sure the object you use closely matches the size and shape of your hat.
  3. Adjust the Brim: For hats with brims, like baseball caps or fedoras, reshape the brim by hand. You can also lay the brim flat on a surface and place heavy, flat objects along its edge to maintain the shape as it dries.

Air Drying

  1. Choose a Well-Ventilated Area: Place the hat in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight. Direct heat or sunlight can cause fading and distortion.
  2. Avoid Hanging: Do not hang the hat to dry, as this can cause it to stretch or deform. Instead, let it sit on the mold or form.
  3. Rotate the Hat: Periodically rotate the hat to ensure even drying. This is especially important for thicker materials that may hold moisture longer.

Checking Dryness and Making Adjustments

  1. Test for Dryness: After several hours, check if the hat is dry. Depending on the material, it may take up to 24 hours to completely dry.
  2. Make Final Adjustments: Once the hat is dry, try it on. If it feels tight or uncomfortable, gently stretch it while it’s still slightly damp. For minor shape adjustments, use your hands to gently mold and contour the hat.

Long-Term Maintenance

  1. Store Properly: When not in use, store your hat in a cool, dry place, ideally on a hat stand or in a hat box to maintain its shape.
  2. Regular Shape Maintenance: Periodically check the shape of your hat and make adjustments as needed, even when it’s not being washed.

By following these steps, you can effectively dry and reshape your hat after washing, ensuring that it retains its form and looks as good as new for longer.

5. Common mistakes to avoid when washing hats in the dishwasher

Using the Wrong Detergent

  • Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Do not use detergents that contain bleach or citric acid, as they can harm the fabric of your hat.

Overcrowding the Dishwasher

  • Don’t Wash with Dishes: Washing your hat along with dishes can lead to food particles and grease staining the hat. Always wash it in an empty dishwasher.

Incorrect Placement in the Dishwasher

  • Avoid Bottom Rack Placement: Placing the hat on the bottom rack can expose it to intense heat and water pressure, potentially ruining its shape.

Selecting the Wrong Wash Cycle

  • Avoid High Heat and Long Cycles: Using a cycle with high heat or a long duration can shrink or warp your hat. Opt for a gentle, short cycle with cooler temperatures.

Not Pre-Treating Stains

  • Skipping Pre-Treatment: Failing to pre-treat visible stains can result in them not being completely removed during the wash cycle.

Ignoring the Hat’s Material and Condition

  • Disregarding Material Guidelines: Always check the hat’s care label. Some materials, like wool or silk, should not be washed in a dishwasher.
  • Washing Fragile Hats: If your hat is old, fragile, or showing signs of wear, the dishwasher might cause further damage.

Inadequate Drying Technique

  • Using Heat to Dry: Do not use the dishwasher’s heat dry setting to dry the hat. This can cause shrinking and misshaping.
  • Improper Drying Setup: Not shaping or supporting the hat properly during the drying process can lead to a loss of its original form.

Neglecting Dishwasher Cleanliness

  • Dirty Dishwasher: Make sure your dishwasher is clean before washing your hat. A dirty dishwasher can transfer residues to the hat.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can safely and effectively clean your hat in the dishwasher without risking damage to its shape, size, or material.

wash a hat in the dishwasher Wash a hat in the dishwasher - Step-by-Step SCARF.COM

6. FAQs about washing hats in the dishwasher

Q1: Can you wash all hats?

  • Not all hats are suitable for dishwasher cleaning. Check the care label first. Cotton and synthetic materials are usually safe, but hats made of wool, silk, or with delicate decorations should not be washed in a dishwasher. Some hats can only choose to wash by hands.

Q2: Will hat shrink in dishwasher?

  • There’s a risk of shrinking if the hat is exposed to high heat. To minimize this risk, use a cool or warm wash cycle without the heat dry option, and air dry the hat after washing.

Q3: What kind of soap do you use to wash a hat in the dishwasher?

Use a gentle dishwasher detergent that does not contain bleach or citric acid. These harsh chemicals can damage the fabric and color of the hat.

Q4: Is it safe to wash hats in dishwasher?

Yes, it is safe to wash hats in the dishwasher, provided certain precautions are taken. The dishwasher offers a gentle cleaning method that is especially suitable for hats made of durable fabrics like cotton or synthetic materials.

  1. Gentle Washing Action: Unlike washing machines, dishwashers do not agitate or tumble their contents, which is beneficial for maintaining the shape and structure of hats. The spraying action of water in the dishwasher cleans effectively without the physical stress that a washing machine might impose.
  2. Controlled Environment: Dishwashers allow for a more controlled cleaning environment. You can select the temperature and intensity of the wash cycle, ensuring that the hat is cleaned gently. Using a cool or warm wash cycle and avoiding high heat or intense settings can prevent damage to the hat.
  3. Effective Cleaning: Dishwashers are designed to thoroughly clean and remove stains with their specialized detergents and water action. This makes them effective in cleaning hats that have accumulated sweat, dust, or general outdoor wear.
  4. Convenience: Washing hats in the dishwasher is a convenient option. It saves time and effort compared to hand washing, and it’s more effective in maintaining the hat’s shape compared to a regular washing machine.

Q5: Can I wash multiple hats at the same time in the dishwasher?

Yes, you can wash multiple hats as long as there’s enough space for each to be securely placed and they are not overcrowded. Ensure each hat is properly positioned and secured on the top rack.

Q6: Can washing my hat in the dishwasher damage the appliance?

Generally, washing a hat in the dishwasher should not damage the appliance. However, make sure the hat is secured so it doesn’t block the spray arms or get caught in the dishwasher components.


Washing hats in the dishwasher can be a convenient and effective way to keep your hats clean and fresh. By following the step-by-step guide and taking necessary precautions, you can master this art and ensure your hats maintain their shape and color. However, always check the care label or manufacturer’s instructions to determine if your hat is dishwasher-safe. If in doubt, opt for alternative cleaning methods such as hand washing or spot cleaning. With proper care, your hats will continue to be stylish and ready to wear for any occasion.
Now it’s time to put these techniques into practice and give your hats the thorough cleaning they deserve!
If you have other questions about how to wash a hat in the dishwasher, please consult us and be glad to answer it for you.

Scroll to Top