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How To Get Sweat Stains Out of Hats: A Complete Guide

If you’re someone who likes wearing hats while working out, then you’re probably well acquainted with the problem of sweat stains. Not only do they make your hat smell bad, they also ruin its shape and cause its color to fade away, making the hat unwearable over time.

Fortunately, you can remove sweat stains from your hats before they turn into permanent blemishes. In this guide, you’ll learn 5 step-by-step procedures to get sweat stains out of hats, and also learn about hat materials for workouts that won’t accumulate nasty stains.

But first, we need to answer an important question…

Why Do Hats Get Sweat Stains?

Whether you’re wearing your hat to the gym, or simply wearing it out on a hot summer day, you’re bound to sweat. And while wearing a hat means you won’t have sweat constantly pouring down your face, the downside is that the brim of your hat absorbs all the sweat. The salt in this sweat mixed in with the oil from your head leads to sweat stains on your hat.

If you’ve noticed any discoloration or white hat stains that look like dried salt, you’ve got a pretty good idea of what a sweat-stained hat looks like.

Are There Hat Fabrics That Don’t Get Sweat Stains? 

Nostrand hats are built to be breathable. These sweat-resistant hats are made of a blend of polyester and spandex to ensure that the product never gets nasty sweat stains and that the user’s always comfortable when getting a workout in.

As for that sweat-stained hat you’re currently dealing with, read on to know what you can do to prevent these ugly stains from keeping you from using your favorite hat.

3 Ways To Remove Sweat Stains From Your Hats

Depending on the material of your hat, different methods work best to get rid of sweat stains. But before you try any of them, you need to determine if your hat:

  1. Has any special washing instructions: Check the inside of your hat for any care instructions. If you don’t find any, go to the manufacturer’s website directly. Always follow the wash instructions recommended by the manufacturer. If the care label says “dry clean only,” don’t attempt to wash it yourself.
  2. Is colorfast: You don’t want your hat bleeding its color all over when you wash it, so it's best to test its colorfastness. Dampen a white cloth in some lukewarm water and rub it on a hidden part of the hat, such as the inside of the hat band. If the cloth comes away colored by your hat’s dye, that means your hat is not colorfast, so don’t attempt to wash it on your own.

Method 1: Hand Washing Hats to Remove Stains (the Recommended Approach)

Best for: Cotton or polyester hats
Avoid for: Felt, leather, satin, silk, or wool hats

Hand washing is the best and safest method to get stains off hats without bending it all out of shape. This approach will keep the shape of the brim intact.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Hand Washing Your Hat

  1. Take a bucket large enough to submerge your hat and fill it with water. You can also fill your bathroom sink with water. 

  2. Add 1 tablespoon of laundry detergent and stir the water till bubbles appear. Use a bleach-free detergent to keep your hat color from fading.

  3. Place the hat in the water and let it soak for around 20 minutes. Stir it occasionally. If you have very stubborn stains, leave your hat to soak for longer, around 3-4 hours.

  4. After the time’s up, take the hat out and rinse it with cold, fresh water. Keep rinsing till all the soapy water is removed and there are no more bubbles. 

  5. Leave the hat out to air dry. Keep it away from direct sunlight and do NOT put it in the clothes dryer or use a hairdryer on it. This may take up to 24 hours with traditional hats, but only 1-2 hours with a Nostrand hat since these sweat-resistant hats built for exercise are made with moisture wicking fabric.

Method 2: Hat Spot Treatment 

Best for: Cotton and leather hats 
Avoid for: Felt hats

Don’t want to completely soak your hat? Use the spot cleaning method instead. This is a great option to get rid of minor sweat stains from hats and an easier solution.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Spot Treatment of Hats:
  1. Take a small bowl of lukewarm water and mix in 1 teaspoon of some shampoo or bleach-free mild detergent. Mix it thoroughly to form the cleaning solution.
  2. Take a soft-bristled brush or a microfiber cloth. Dip one corner of the cloth in the cleaning solution and gently rub it on the stains till they are gone. 

  3. Clean the sweatband of your hat the same way. 

  4. Once the stains are off, dampen a different cloth and rinse away the detergent residue. 

  5. Leave the hat out to air dry. Keep it away from direct sunlight and do NOT put it in the clothes dryer or use a hairdryer on it.

Alternative: Instead of a mild detergent or shampoo, you can also use dish soap to spot clean a hat.

Method 3: Dry Cleaning a Hat

Scared of damaging your hat by washing it yourself? Get it professionally dry cleaned! In fact, we recommend this method if you have a vintage hat or a felt hat. Ensure that your dry cleaners are experienced with cleaning hats so that they don’t accidentally damage it.

Can you use a dishwasher to get stains off hats?

We don’t recommend using a dishwasher to wash your stained hats because the high heat of the device as well as the greasy residual food stains can damage the fibers of your hat and cause permanent discoloration.

Best Hat Materials for Preventing Sweat

Whether you’re working out, hiking, or golfing, having a hat that traps all the sweat from your head can make you feel gross and ruin your whole experience.

To avoid this, you’re going to want to choose a hat that’s made from sweat-wicking fabric like polyester, rayon, or nylon. These fabrics pull the sweat away from your head and let it evaporate instead of absorbing it. This keeps your head cool and dry. Nostrand Tech Hats use a soft-touch interior sweatband made with perforated polyester for maximum comfort while wicking sweat and eliminating odor.

Best Hat Materials for Breathability

Another thing to look out for when choosing hats for exercising is ventilation. Mesh panels and ventilation holes allow your sweat to evaporate faster and let the fresh air in.  Both the Daily Tech Hat and Agile Hat are equipped with laser perforated panels for maximum breathability. 

Unlike cotton, Nostrand hat fabric can dry up to 4 times quicker than a traditional cotton hat.

Keep Your Head Cool and Dry With Nostrand Hats

A good workout hat isn’t just a cool accessory; it also keeps your sweat from falling into your eyes and negatively impacting your workout. And if you’re working out outdoors, a good hat also protects your head from the sun, keeping you cool and dry. 

Nostrand hats are made for the fitness enthusiasts and adventurers who don’t let something as simple as the sun get in the way of their workouts. These exercise-friendly and stylish hats wick away all your sweat and keep you dry since they are made with a blend of performance polyester and spandex, making them the perfect companion for high-intensity workouts.

Shop now for a Nostrand hat and seize the day without ruining your headwear with sweat stains!