How To Wash Golf Hats: Avoid Replacement Costs

Golf hats aren’t just a fashion accessory – they’re handy at keeping the sun out of your eyes while playing. But where there’s sun, there’s usually also sweat.

Washing your golf hat can keep it fresh for your rounds and also save you money on having to replace it.

What’s the best way to wash a golf hat? Here’s how to wash golf hats:

  1. Hand Wash: Fill a basin with cold water and add a mild detergent. Avoid harsh chemicals that can fade the hat’s color.
  2. Soak and Scrub: Immerse the hat in soapy water. Gently scrub any stained or soiled areas using a soft brush or cloth.
  3. Rinse: Empty the basin and refill it with cold water. Rinse the hat thoroughly to remove all detergent.
  4. Reshape: To maintain the hat’s form, reshape it while it’s damp. Avoid wringing it out, as this can distort its shape.
  5. Air Dry: Place the hat on a clean towel in its natural shape. Let it air dry away from direct sunlight, which can cause discoloration.
  6. Avoid Machine Drying: Using a dryer can shrink or warp the hat. Always opt for air drying.

These steps will get you started, but you want to avoid ruining your brim or damaging your skin with harsh cleansers.

This guide explores the safest way to clean your golf hat. We’ll also discuss other possible ways of going about it.

Before You Start Washing Your Golf Hat


Before you start cleaning, it’s important to establish what kind of cap you are working with. Most golf caps nowadays are made from cotton and are colorfast, so you can safely proceed with the following method.

However, it’s worth noting that some older caps aren’t colorfast.

To test if your hat is colorfast, rub a small amount of cleaner on the underside of your cap with a small rag. If the rag comes away with color, it means your cap isn’t colorfast, so you’ll have to avoid using any kind of soap. However, you’re good to go if the rag comes away clean.

If your hat is made from wool, felt, leather, silk, or satin, you’ll also want to avoid the following method. Instead, you should consult the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning advice.

Read more: Best Wide Brim Golf Hats For Face And Neck Protection On The Course

The Best (And Recommended) Way to Wash Your Golf Hat

For this method, you’ll need a sink (or bucket), water, detergent, and an old toothbrush.

  1. Fill your sink with tepid water. It should really be no warmer than tepid – if in doubt, just stick to cool water.
  2. Add a tablespoon of detergent to the water as it’s filling. Dish soap might also work, but the detergent, or a specialized stain-fighter, such as OxiClean, will be far more effective at removing stains from your hat.
  3. Spot-clean your hat, as needed, before submerging it into the water. If there are obvious stains on show, you should target them by dabbing some detergent and scrubbing with an old toothbrush. Shampoo has also proven to be pretty effective for removing sweat stains. Be careful not to scrub too vigorously, especially around threaded stitching, as you could ruin the material.
  4. Soak your hat in soapy water for a few hours. You can soak it for as little as 30 minutes if your cap is not that dirty or as long as four hours if it’s in a particularly bad way. Swish the hat around a few times as it soaks. About halfway through the soaking process, you could remove the hat and inspect the stains. Even through the wet fabric, the bad ones will show, so you could get your toothbrush and scrub those areas again.
  5. When it’s finished soaking, rinse your hat off with cool water. Make sure you get rid of all the soap residue.
  6. Let most excess water drip off, and then pat your hat dry with a towel. Don’t be too rough with it; you want to retain the hat’s shape.
  7. Even after patting it dry, your hat will still be pretty wet-through, so you’ll need to air dry it. Ideally, you’ll place your hat on some sort of container rather than leaving it crumpled up on the counter to make sure your cap dries in its true shape. Any kind of jar or small container will work fine. Don’t dry it in direct sunlight. You can speed up the drying process by facing a small fan towards it or by using a hairdryer on a low setting.

Can You Put a Golf Hat in the Washing Machine?

women golfers wearing hats

It’s not recommended, but cleaning your golf hat in the washing machine is possible without completely ruining it.

Firstly, you’ll need to ensure that your cap is colorfast and made from cotton, twill, or washable polyester. Check the label for the manufacturer’s guidance.

Only ever wash it on a cold, gentle cycle. Don’t use bleach; use an appropriate amount of detergent as the manufacturer recommends. Make sure it’s a lightweight wash – if too much stuff is in the wash, your hat’s shape will be compromised. It’s a good idea to place the hat in a garment bag to keep it separate from your other clothing items.

Remove the hat promptly when the wash has finished, and leave it to air dry. Never put a golf hat in the dryer.

Can You Put a Golf Hat in the Dishwasher?


You may have heard various discussions in golfing circles about whether washing a golf hat in the dishwasher is possible. Admittedly, it is possible, but it’s often the case that the results are hardly worth the hassle.

It will only work on cotton, jersey mesh, or blended polyester fabric caps – any other cap should stay well away from the dishwasher.

The cap must be placed on the top rack – the furthest point from the machine’s heating element. Otherwise, your hat will be warped beyond recognition. Also, the hat should be washed alone, as you don’t want your sweaty hat residue to end up on your dishes.

Only use non-bleach dishwashing detergents – the coloration of your hat won’t stand a chance against bleach. Use a cold water cycle, and deactivate the heated dry option. Once the cycle’s done, you’ll need to reshape the hat before leaving it to dry. Good results are not guaranteed.

More trouble than it’s worth, in my humble opinion.

How To Remove Stubborn Stains From Golf Hats?

havana straw hat

If you’ve got some especially stubborn sweat stains that just don’t seem to come out with detergent, you might find greater success with baking soda.

Put four tablespoons of baking soda into a small container, and mix it with warm water. Stir until a paste is formed. Then, using a spoon, dab the paste onto the stain. Scrub the mixture into the stain with a soft bristle brush.

Leave the paste to soak for an hour, then rinse it with cool water.

How To Remove Sweat Stains From White Golf Hats?

White hats that have yellow stains can prove more difficult to clean. One solution is using hydrogen peroxide – a powerful bleaching agent (use caution).

Drip a few drops of the peroxide onto your hat’s stains, then gently scrub with a soft bristle brush. Leave it to soak for roughly ten minutes, then rinse with cool water.

Final Thoughts

Gentle hand washing is the best method when pondering how to wash golf hats effectively.

Start by filling a basin with cold water and introducing a mild detergent, steering clear of any chemicals that might fade your hat’s hue. Once submerged in this soapy mixture, a soft brush or cloth can be used to address any stubborn stains. After thorough rinsing, the key is to reshape the hat while it’s still damp carefully. Avoid the temptation to wring it out, as this can compromise its form. As for drying, always lay the hat on a clean towel away from direct sunlight to preserve its color.

And here’s a tip: machine drying is a no-go—it risks shrinking or warping your prized cap.

By following this approach, you’re not just cleaning your golf hat but also ensuring it remains in top condition for rounds to come.

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Nick is the founder of GolfSpan and an avid golfer. He's not quite a pro but has over 15 years of experience playing and coaching golfers worldwide. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience when it comes to choosing the right golf gear and finding the right setup for your game.

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