Your favorite baseball hat—it announces your favorite sports team, your favorite band or favorite past time. And, whether you’ve had it for years or just got it last summer, it’s one of your prized possessions.

Since getting it, you’ve worn it more times than you can remember, and you know it could use a good cleaning. But how do you wash it while still maintaining its shape? The answer depends upon the cap’s age and fabric. Before washing, check the manufacturer’s tag for fabric type and cleaning instructions.

Using the washing machine

If your baseball cap is less than 10 years old, it’s likely made of cotton or a cotton blend and has a plastic form inside the bill. If this is the case, the hat can be pre-treated for stains and then washed on a gentle cycle in cold water with like-colored items (if you are concerned about colors bleeding, hand washing may be better). Avoid hot water, bleach and the dryer. Always air dry your hats for best results.

You can also purchase something called a Cap Washer. This plastic frame is designed to hold your hat during the machine wash cycle so that it does not lose its shape. Several brands are available for sale online.

Hand washing/ Spot Cleaning

Older caps were made with a cardboard brim, so spot washing is best. (This also works well if you think colors may bleed.)

Using a mixture of detergent and water, use a soft brush to clean stains. Repeat as necessary, but do not immerse the entire hat in water.

Inside a plastic container

If you are not concerned about colors bleeding, try this method:

  • Place your hat in a plastic container with a leak-proof rubber cover (such as Tupperware®).
  • Add a teaspoon of detergent.
  • Fill the container with warm water, covering the hat more than half way.
  • Place the lid on the container and shake.
  • Rinse and let air dry.

Cleaning a wool baseball cap

If your baseball hat is made of wool, it should be hand washed. Gently wash the hat in cool water with a gentle detergent. Try to avoid scrubbing or twisting the hat. Rinse the hat thoroughly in cool water, and pat the cap with a towel to absorb the moisture before letting it air dry.

When you are not wearing your baseball cap, store it in a covered container away from heat and light to keep dust from collecting on the cap and to keep its colors from fading.

These tips should help keep your favorite baseball cap in great shape for years to come and ensure your team is the winning team.