How To Clean a Fishing Hat

There are a number of ways to clean your fishing hat without messing it up. Yes, it’s possible and, in most cases, it’s also very necessary. Your fishing hat is exposed to the elements – salt, sun, sand – and that’s just the natural dirt you can expect to find on your hat. Not to mention all the other grime from sweat, oily sunblock, as well as fish and bait. Fishing hats take a beating. Pretty nasty stuff, and after just a few fishing trips, you’ll find that your hat is an utter disaster.

So what’s the best way to wash your fishing hat without messing it up? Glad you asked you crazy angler. Turns out there are 3 different fish hat washing methods. The benefit of each method is outlined here. The goal is to clean your fishing hat and get it back to its former glory. Clean, fresh, and looking good as new.

Note: Only good quality fishing hats should be washed. Washing a low-quality hat with bad stitching and a carboard insert will end in disaster. Buy good quality fishing hats to ensure you can wash and keep them clean.


This is usually the first cleaning method that we all think of: just throw your fishing hat in the washing machine. Why not? Most fishing hats are washer-friendly. While you can easily clean a fishing hat in a washing machine, you have to be picky.

Make sure your washing machine is front-loading (top-loading washing machines have an agitator in the middle which could ruin your lucky hat). Be sure to put it on gentle cycle and let it go. Only use a mild detergent or cleanser. Look for cleansers used for kids’ clothes. This is the easy way to clean your fishing hat.

Most important: do not put your hat into a clothes dryer. If you do, then you can kiss it goodbye for good. It’s toast – literally and figuratively.


A dishwasher is another method you can use to clean your hat because it is comparatively gentle compared to a washing machine. The trick to washing your fishing hat in a dishwasher is to control the temperature. See, the downside of throwing your lucky hat in the dishwasher is the fact that the water is really, really hot, which will damage your hat. High heat is the enemy!

Instead, set the temperature as low as it will go. Pre-treat it with stain removal products where necessary. You can purchase specialty soaps for hats online. You can also use dish soap, which is convenient because its right there next to the dishwasher playa.

Place the hat on the upright pegs and secure it with the strap to ensure that it maintains its shape. This is an especially useful tip for snapback fishing hats. Then take it out as soon as the wash cycle is done! Don’t let the auto-dry function ruin all that beautiful stitching!


If you really need to give your hat some TLC, it requires a little more effort on your part. You must really love this hat if you insist on using a toothbrush to get sweat stains out of a fishing hat. We get it, sometimes you have a lucky hat and you want it to be perfect.

Fill a bucket with lukewarm water, not too hot. Grab an old toothbrush, or a toothbrush that belongs to someone you hate (you won’t want to use this again). Take your time to spot clean the hat and scrub it in circular motions. Be careful around the hat stitching, you want that to stay intact. Pay close attention to the inner rim, which is usually exposed to the most sweat.

Once done, soak your hat in more dish liquid or even some Oxi Clean. Leave it for about 30 minutes and then rinse off with water. Pat down the excess moisture and then on to the hat drying process.


How long does it take to dry a fishing hat? As long as is necessary, don’t rush great work. No, but really, its going to take a little while. You should not use any heat to dry your hat because that will destroy the hat. Instead, you can use an indoor fan to get the job done. It should take at least 3 hours (Mesh fishing hats will dry faster!) for your hat to be ready for your next fishing trip.

Now if only you could keep your fishing shirts this clean…

Photo Courtesy of Gillz Gear.

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