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Removing Sweat Stains from Baseball Caps

Making its debut in 1860 when an amateur baseball team—the Brooklyn Excelsiors—first wore them, the baseball cap has not changed much over the years. That "Brooklyn style" rounded cap became very popular in the 1900s, and when latex rubber was added in the 1940s as a stiffening agent, the modern baseball cap emerged. Basically, the only other change made to the original baseball cap was to add an adjustable strap to the back in order to have a custom fit. Today's baseball caps are made of wool or polyester, and some include Lyrca.

A baseball cap conforms to the head where it can absorb perspiration. If you have a light-colored ball cap, sweat stains can discolor the fabric, causing unsightly yellow stains. Always read the care label inside of the baseball cap and follow the manufacturer's directions when washing the cap, and then follow these tips for removing sweat stains from baseball caps before washing:

  • Dissolve two aspirins in one-half cup of water and then pour the mixture directly onto the stains, allowing it to soak in for at least two hours. Add a few drops of Woolite, agitate with a toothbrush, and then rinse with clear water.
  • Make a paste of baking soda and water, apply to the stains with a toothbrush, and then add a teaspoon of white vinegar and continue to agitate with the toothbrush. Rinse with clear water.
  • Wet the sweat stains with cold water, and then apply meat tenderizer liberally and work it into the stain. Rinse with clear water.
  • Combine one-half cup of ammonia with one-half cup of water and pour the mixture over the stains, agitate with your fingers or a toothbrush, and then rinse with clear water.
  • Combine equal amounts of pure lemon juice and water, and pour over the stains and allow to sit for at least a few hours. Rinse with clear water.
  • Dissolve one-quarter cup of table salt in one-eighth cup of warm water. Allow the liquid to cool and then apply to the stains with a toothbrush. Rinse with clear water.

After you've treated the sweat stains, launder the ballcap according to the care label on the garment. Most manufacturers do not recommend machine-washing your cap, since the beating action of the machine's agitator can change the shape of the cap. Never dry a baseball cap in a dryer, since the heat will shrink the cap. You can purchase a baseball cap cage and place the cap onto it after hand-washing to help the cap retain its shape. Some people place the cap onto the cage and then onto the top rack of the dishwasher and run it through one cycle. If you do choose to do that, make sure the dishwasher is not set to a heated dry cycle.

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