How to Get Sweat Stains Out of Hats

November 10, 2020 5 min read

how to get sweat stains out of hats

For many of us, hats are an essential part of our wardrobe. We wear them to shade our faces when it’s hot. We wear them to hide our hair when it’s a mess. We wear them to keep our heads warm in the winter. With so many options to choose from, we take great measures to find hats that fit our heads and complement our faces.

But what happens when your favorite hat gets those ugly stains around its rim? You know, the ones that are a tell-tale sign that you’ve been sweating. Is it time to mournfully toss it? Or do you risk ruining its perfect shape by attempting to wash it? Luckily, learning how to get sweat stains out of hats is easier than you think.

What Causes Sweat Stains on Hats?

Sweat stains on hats are caused by the sweat produced by our heads. Like other parts of our bodies, our heads have glands that release sweat as waste. The end-products of the body’s metabolism, like salts, urea, ammonia, and some toxins, are excreted in sweat. The scalp also houses apocrine sweat glands, specifically around the hair follicles, that produce waste mostly composed of water.

The stains formed on the hats are from the waste products present in sweat. When produced, sweat mixes with bacteria which also increases the chances of staining your hats. The stains are often colored yellow or white. As such, it is essential to learn how to get sweat stains out of hats.

We’ve compiled several suggestions on how to get rid of sweat stains on hats. When you learn how to remove sweat stains from hats yourself, you’ll prolong the life of your headgear.

How to Get Sweat Stains Out of Hats

Because there are so many precautions on what NOT to do, washing your hats may like a lot of work. On the contrary, it’s fairly easy to get sweat stains out of hats.

Before you start, be sure to check the care label. Most hats have washing instructions, which will indicate if you need to avoid certain temperatures or cleaning products. If you are uncertain about any restrictions or if your hat doesn’t have a care label, test a small, inconspicuous area before treating the entire hat. Below are some suggestions on how to remove sweat stains on hats.

A damp cloth and dish soap is a perfect way to remove stains from hats that cannot be submerged in water.

Damp Cloth & Dish Soap

This is one of the easiest ways to get sweat stains out of hats. Many materials used to produce hats, such as wool and straw, may not be suitable to put into water. Therefore, a damp cloth and dish soap is a perfect way to remove stains from these types of hats.

For best results, start by spot cleaning. Soak the cloth in soapy water or directly add the soap onto the damp cloth and proceed by gently rubbing the stained areas one part at a time. Using a clean towel dampened with clean water, wipe the area. Let it air dry, away from direct sunlight.

Soft Bristled Brush with Hydrogen Peroxide & Water

When learning how to clean sweat stains from a hat, this is an easy method that is safe on many hats. Add one cup of hydrogen peroxide to a large bowl of water. Soak your brush into the mixture and clean the areas on your hat that are sweat-stained.

For baseball caps, add some liquid dish soap to the mixture and soak the hat in it beforehand washing. You can also add hydrogen peroxide directly onto the stained surface of the hat and scrub with your brush. Let it air dry, away from direct sunlight.

Enzyme Cleaner

Using an enzyme cleaning is another effective method on how to clean a sweaty hat. Enzyme cleaners are commonly used to clean pet urine from fabric and can be found in retail stores or online. To use this method, dissolve the enzyme cleaner in warm water and soak your hat for 15 to 20 minutes. Gently rub with a soft cloth after soaking and rinse.

You may also hand wash your hat before rinsing. Let it air dry, away from direct sunlight. This method is best used on hats made of cotton or polyester to prevent sweat stains on hats.

how to get rid of sweat stains on hats

Baking Soda & Water or Vinegar

Baking soda is an ideal alternative to bleach as it poses no risk of disintegrating the material of your hat or causing any permanent discoloration. To get sweat stains out of hats, put some baking soda on the stain and leave for about an hour.

If the stain has not been absorbed, then add a tablespoon of baking soda to a cup of warm water. Dip a towel or a soft brush in it and gently rub the stains in a circular motion. Rinse in cold water and pat with a towel to remove moisture. Allow the hat to air dry completely.

Alternatively, you can use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar to treat the sweat stains. To make the paste, combine 4 tablespoons of baking soda with ¼ cup water. Apply the paste to the stained area using a soft brush (or clean soft-bristled toothbrush) and rub in a circular motion. Allow to sit for an hour. Spray the area with distilled white vinegar and scrub again. Rinse in cold water and pat with a towel to remove moisture. Allow the hat to air dry completely.

Use Your Dishwasher

Make sure to check your hat’s care label to make sure it can be machine washed. For example, hats made from cotton, jersey mesh, or a polyester blend should respond well to this treatment. But fair warning, do not use this method if the brim is made from cardboard.

To start, place your hat on the top rack of your empty dishwasher to keep it away from heat elements. (Be sure to wash your hats separately from your dishes.) You may want to use a cap cage or cap rack to protect the shape of the hat. Add bleach-free dishwashing detergent. Use the cold water washing cycle and turn off the heated dry option. Reshape and let air dry.

Now that you've learned how to get sweat stains out of hats, you can revive your favorite cap and wear it proudly. 

Take Control of Excessive Sweat
Are you struggling with sweat in other areas than your head? If so, Ejis sweat proof boxer briefs and undershirts (available from our shop or on Amazon) prevent sweat stains and prolong the life of your clothes. Our sweat proof basics are made of premium fabric fused with odor-fighting silver and an ultra-thin waterproof layer to protect your armpits, back, butt, back of the legs, and crotch. We also sell dress socks to combat smelly and/or sweaty feet.

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