How to Clean My Dad Hat

We've all been there: you're living it up at a music festival and Patrice knocks your hat off your head, falling smack dab into a pile of mud.

Or dirt.

Or someone's hot dog.

Point is, your hat's dirty.

Maybe it wasn't even Patrice's fault, and it's just a little salty sweat because you're out there living life.

Ain't nothin' worse than wasting a good dad hat just because of a little dirt!

We believe in doing everything we can to keep our dad hats in use as long as possible. We don't think you should just toss it out because it gets a little dirty or isn't quite like new—it just has some character.

With that said, life happens, so instead of trying to keep that hat in its pristine deadstock condition, here are some tips to help you extend the life of your dad hat while living in it.

4 different ways to clean my hat before washing it

You may wonder if you can even wash a dad hat—can I throw it in the dishwasher?

Do I need to have one of those plastic hat-shaped washing cages? While those are certainly nice to have, you don’t need to have one.

But before we get into throwing your dad hat into a washing machine, (not all hats are washing machine-friendly!) let’s walk through some common cleaning scenarios you might run into and how to clean your hat.

1. Cleaning hair and fuzz off a hat

You can’t be a dog dad or mom without getting some of your pup’s hairs on your hat. Ok maybe you’re one of those folks with a nice hypoallergenic or shed-free dog, but for the rest of us, we recommend rolling up some tape and swiping the loose hairs off. Just grab your tape, roll it into a loop with your fingers, use two fingers to spread the tape roll into a tape conveyor belt that you can roll along your hat. Office tape or packing tape will work, but duct tape might be too much!

2. Cleaning loose dirt off a hat

If your hat has been through a rough day picking up dirt, then you should start with a brush. A horsehair brush has the right mix of stiffness and softness to avoid roughing up your hat while swatting away any pieces of dirt.

3. Cleaning dust off a hat

Dust is pretty easy—just wipe it with a slightly damp piece of cloth. Too much water and you might actually push the dust into the fibers of your hat, and then you're on your way to having a proper smudge.

4. Cleaning smudges and stains off a hat

Sometimes the dirt is just a little stubborn. Maybe you had a hot day and sweat up a storm in your hat, or some ketchup spilled on your hat in a fit of excitement. Regardless, where we’re at now is you’ve got yourself one dirty hat that the other methods described just can’t fix, and for that, we turn to the washing machine.

How to pre-wash a dad hat for a deeper clean

Before you wash your hat, we need to warm it up and get that dirt ready to get zapped!

Let your hat soak in a bath of lukewarm water with a tablespoon or so—about 15ml or half-a-medicine cap serving—for 20-40 minutes.

This will allow tough stains to loosen up before washing.

Ok, done soaking? Now let's get to washing!

How to wash my dad hat in a washing machine

We can't start a conversation about washing without calling out the most important thing: Never throw your hat in the dryer! It will shrink.

Now that that's out of the way, let's talk washing.

We understand that your hat has to get washed at some point, and that's when you turn to the washing machine.

Yeah, yeah the machine is “not recommended”, and many a blog will tell you that a hand wash with a brush is better for keeping the shape of the hat.

But let's ask ourselves one thing: do I really have the time to wash my hat by hand?

If you do, then do so, with cold water! You might need a bucket too, and roll up those sleeves cuz you're going to put some elbow grease up in that hat.

But for the modern pet parent, time's precious, after all, we could be cuddling with our pup right now!

So, here's what we would do.

First, let's answer a questions about the washing machine set up.

What other clothes can I wash my hat with?

You want to toss your dad hat in with soft materials—so not your jeans, not your sweaters, shoes, towels, or rope leashes. We’re talking about soft stuff like your socks, underwear, t-shirts, or light beddings.

How should I load my washing machine with my hat?

Just make sure the machine isn't overstuffed—your hat should have room to bounce around in there comfortably without anything squishing it into a corner or against the center pylon in top-loading washers. Throw your hat somewhere in the middle so it's padded by fabric on all sides.

What setting should I use to machine wash my hat with?

If you have a delicates cycle on your machine use that. You don't need to put your hat through a heavy cycle—the other fabrics in the wash will do their job as long as there aren't too many of them.

What temperature should I wash my hat in?

Definitely use cold water only. Hot water accelerates the fading process by washing out the dye in your hat. It can also lead to a more rapid breakdown of the firmness of your brim, leading to odd misshapen looks.

Can I use bleach to wash my hat?

Do not bleach! Your colors will get washed out—all pigment burned from existence by the extreme basicness (opposite of acidic) of bleach. Gentle detergents only, baby! We're also a big fan of using eco-friendly detergent. Cleans just as well, while being better for the environment!

Now that you've taken care of all that, hit start and wash that hat!

After your load is done washing, give it an extra spin cycle to centrifuge out any excess water.

How to dry my hat

After your hat is done washing and has gotten an extra cycle through the spinner, take it out and pop that hat right on your head and wear it till it dries out naturally!

This prevents the hat from drying in some weird funky shape that doesn't match your head. Instead, it'll just dry in the shape of your head, and there ain't no shape more perfect!

If you don't have the time for this, find some container that sort of matches your head shape and pop the hat on that. Could be rolled up sweater, a cantaloupe, inflated balloon, a football, or a big jar of pickles.

The important thing is to not let your hat dry in a sad unstructured pile—that's a quick way to get wrinkles.

How to store my dad hat for maximum life

Alright so you can't just wear that dad hat whenever you feel like it—notably in bed, or at a wedding, unless they wear encourage hats at that wedding, then neat! But what to do when you can't wear your Dog Dad Hats?

While it can be tempting to just toss your dad hat any old place, there are a few things to keep in mind to help your hat stay fresh for years.

While dad hats are designed to fade over time for a vintage look, leaving your hat in the sun accelerates this process.

You don't want to dump your hat in a place where it can get crushed and bent all out of shape, like under a pile of junk in your trunk, the car I mean.

You also probably don't want to leave that hat lying around on the couch or floor—a tempting location for any chewer pups out there. Trust me, been there, done that and you don't want to have the stress of straining through your pup's poop to make sure all of the pieces passed through. Gross and stressful!

A good place to stash your dad hat? Hang it up on a peg on the wall like the fine piece of art that it is for all to admire.

Other good places to stash your hats include the top of a coat rack, like a Christmas tree topper. You can also leave it on top of a table by the front door, next to a mask, so you never leave home without either.

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