How to Remove Sweat Stains from a Baseball Cap


Bina asked: How do I remove sweat stains from a baseball hat? It is 100% cotton and gray in color.

Baseball caps can quickly build up sweat and other oils that are naturally found on our heads and in our hair. In order to remove these stains, it requires a cleaner that can break down the oils and remove them. Here are a variety of quick and easy steps you can take at home to get your hat looking and smelling fresh again.

You Will Need:

  • Shampoo
  • Aspirin
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Meat tenderizer
  • Woolite
  • Ammonia
  • Old toothbrush

Steps to Remove the Stains:

These steps contain several different cleaning options. Choose whichever one works best for your situation and what materials you have on hand. If it doesn’t work, move on to the next one until your stains are completely removed. After using the stain removal technique, wash the hat as directed by the care guidelines given from the manufacturer.

  1. Shampoos are designed to break down body oils so they can be removed. Apply a small amount of shampoo to the sweat stains and scrub the area with an old toothbrush.
  2. Rinse and wash as directed.
  3. Moisten the area with cold water and apply a good amount of meat tenderizer. Work the tenderizer into the stain with your fingers or a toothbrush.
  4. Rinse and wash as directed.
  5. Mix a paste with baking soda and water. Apply the paste to the stained area and add a small amount of white vinegar. Scrub the area with a toothbrush.
  6. Rinse and wash as directed.
  7. Dissolve two aspirins in a half a cup of water. Apply the mixture to the stain liberally and allow it to set for at least two hours. Add a few drops of a gentle laundry detergent, such as Woolite and scrub with a toothbrush.
  8. Rinse and wash as directed.
  9. Mix a solution of one part ammonia and one part water. Apply the mixture to the stain and scrub with a toothbrush.
  10. Rinse and wash as directed.

Additional Tips and Ideas

  • There is a product called Hat Saver that can be applied to the surface of the hat to keep stains from reaching the fibers.
  • The bill, or peak, of the cap often contains cardboard or a similar paper product. Use care not to over-moisten this part as it may cause it to lose its shape.
  • It is often best to wash a ball cap by hand so the agitation from the washing machine does not ruin the shape. It is also recommended that it air-dry as the heat from the dryer can cause it to shrink.


  1. Michelle says:

    Dawn dishwashing detergent and very hot water work great at getting out sweat stains from hats!

  2. If the hat is black, will it fade up the hat and leave it looking green, or will it make it look like new?

  3. Work the meat tenderizer into the stain? lmao…

  4. As far as machine washing hats, put it in the dishwasher with dishes that are not too dirty, or by itself. I was amazed at how well this worked on a white cap I had.

  5. I put mine in the washer… Works just fine.

  6. I’d rather buy a new hat than go through all this.

  7. Just tried this with a toothbrush and baby shampoo on a black cap that had white sweat stains after a bike ride and it came up perfect. Cheers for the advice. :)

  8. What about the sticker; would it fall off or stay on the brim?

  9. LMAO…Who cares if the sticker stays on? Leaving a sticker on a hat is like saying, “Look, I can afford to pay $35 for a hat. I’m a baller”. Take the sticker off and wash it!

  10. Go to Lowes and find a spray product called Folex; it’s for carpet spot cleaning. Just spray it on the hat sweat stain, wait a minute, then wipe with a cloth. Works.

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