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4 Ways to Shrink Your Hat

By Taylor James


Updated on

So, you’ve found the perfect fitted hat. The style is on point, the price was right, and you can’t wait to show it off. There’s only one problem: it’s too big.

This happens more often than you might think. For example, people who have lost a significant amount of weight may find their cap no longer fits. Or perhaps you’ve worn your hat one too many times, causing it to lose its shape. However, not all hope is lost. Instead of leaving it to collect dust in your closet, you can shrink your hat on your own. Continue reading to learn more about the best methods to shrink your fitted hat.

Remember, before trying these techniques, check your hat’s label for proper care instructions.

pink hat drying on clothes line

1. Hand Wash Your Hat

This approach is perfect if your hat needs slight reshaping. First, fill your sink with hot water. Don’t use boiling water, as it could compromise the hat’s structure. Next, mix a tablespoon of dish soap or non-bleach detergent and stir. Then, using a pair of tongs, place the hat in the soapy water and leave it to soak for 30 minutes. When the time is up, rinse off any suds and put the hat on your head to air dry. The hat should begin to conform to the shape of your head. 

2. Take a Shower with Your Hat

Yes, you read that right. Another method to shrink your hat is to wear it in the shower. Doing so will allow your hat to conform to your head due to the exposure to hot water. First, set the water to a warm temperature – not scalding. Then put your hat on your head and get into the shower. In five minutes, get out of the shower and let the hat air dry on your head. And, voila! Now, you have a clean body and a hat that fits.

3. Use Steam

Similar to getting wrinkles out of your clothes, steam can also help slightly reshape your hat. Before trying this method, be sure to read your hat label. You’ll want to avoid using steam with leather, felt, and dyes. If your hat is deemed safe for this method, follow these steps.

Simply heat a kettle of water to generate steam. Then, take a pair of tongs to hover your hat above the steam, moving it gently back and forth. Be sure to allow the heat to infiltrate the inside and outside of the cap to thoroughly soak it. After several minutes, remove the hat from the steam and adjust it to your desired shape. Feel free to repeat a few times to achieve your perfect fit.

4. A Washing Machine

This is one of the most time-effective options. You can try using the washing machine with hats made of polyester.

First, put your hat in a garment bag to avoid potential damage in the machine. Next, load the machine with similar colored clothes and wash with hot water. Doing so will save water and the added weight will create pressure to streamline the shrinking process. Then, try on your cap once it’s out of the washer. If it still feels loose, throw it in the dryer on a medium heat setting. Try it on every ten minutes to reshape. Repeat this process as needed.

We hope these techniques convince you not to give up on your fitted hat. With a little determination and some heat, you can shape your hat to fit you perfectly in no time.

About Taylor James

As Philip Treacy once said, “How a hat makes you feel is what a hat is all about.” And on that note, I hope you enjoy your hats and find the site useful. Learn more about Hat Realm's Editorial Process.