how to wash winter hats without damaging them

There are few things more satisfying than a warm winter garment. Keeping warm on the coldest days of the year can be a challenge. A warm jacket, thick socks, and a nice winter hat make all the difference in the world. But what happens when you need to wash your winter garments? Some materials, especially on winter garments, can be damaged by normal wash cycles. Keeping your winter hat clean and intact for many winters requires careful care. So what is the best way to clean your winter hat? There a few factors to consider here such as material, thickness, and more. Here is a quick guide on how to wash winter hats for long-term cleanliness and comfort.

Read Care Instructions

The first, and most important, step to taking care of your winter hat is to read the care instructions. Certain materials have different properties that require different care techniques. Wool and fleece hats, for instance, are fairly common but also very delicate. Hats featuring a pom-pom may also require special care to avoid causing damage.


The care instructions should be found on the tag inside the hat, and provide basic instructions for washing your hat. However, if you have never needed to care for a delicate hat or winter garment, you may be unsure of the specific steps involved. Having an understanding of laundry symbols is also very important.


Here are some more detailed instructions for some of the most commonly recommended washing methods for winter hats.

How to Hand Wash a Winter Hat

If machine washing can be harmful to your winter hat, hand washing is your best option. Doing a full rinse or spot clean can refresh your hat and keep it looking and feeling great for a longer time.


To hand wash your winter hat, you will need:

  • A sink or bucket

  • Water

  • Mild laundry detergent

  • Towel or drying rack


The water should be lukewarm, as excessive heat is one of the leading causes of damage to winter hats. Mild warmth, however, is better for removing stains than cold water. The water should be no hotter than 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius). 


Add a teaspoon of detergent to the water and mix it in. Once the detergent is sufficiently mixed in, place your hat in the water. Do not scrub or twist the hat while soaking it, Simply move it around in the water, or let it soak, for five to ten minutes. After this time, drain the dirty, soapy water. Refill the sink or bucket with clean cold water, and rinse the hat. Once again, do not scrub or wring the hat out. Simply move it around in the water gently. Continue draining and refilling the sink with cold water, and soaking the hat, until the water is completely clean.


To dry the hat, place it on a dry towel and gently roll and press the towel over the hat. Hang the hat up to allow it to air dry. Within a few hours it will be ready to wear.

How to Machine Wash a Winter Hat

If your hat is machine washable, you most likely want to use a cold rinse cycle. Again, this is because excessive heat can damage beanies and other winter garments. Setting your washing machine to the gentlest possible cycle is also recommended when washing a winter hat. As with hand washing your hat, a mild detergent is recommended when machine washing a winter hat.


There are additional steps you can take to provide extra care for a delicate winter hat in the wash. For instance, washing your hat with similar colors can prevent discoloration or loss of dye. Some people even recommend placing your hat inside of a pillowcase during the rinse cycle to prevent color loss.


The final step to machine washing your winter hat is to let it air dry. Laundry dryers rely on excessive heat to dry garments quickly. This is one of the worst things you can do to a delicate fleece winter hat. After the rinse cycle is done, hang your hat out to dry on a drying rack or clothesline.  This may take a few hours, but it preserves the structure, consistency, and color of your hat.

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