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How to Dye a Baseball Hat That Has Faded

Are you wondering how to dye a baseball hat with sweat stains? Return all of the color to it permanently and easily with this simple tutorial!

Skills Required: None. You can dye a baseball cap with no experience! It’s so easy, even a beginning crafter can do it.

how to get sweat stains out of hats

I think many of you can understand that a lot of dudes have a favorite baseball hat, and sometime even more than one. I don’t happen to be a baseball-cap-wearin’ female, but they exist.

Whether you’re a male or a female, I find the love of a baseball hat to be infinite and unwavering, at least amongst people I know. And in our Georgia weather, a hat can easily have a short shelf life based on the amount of time you a) sweat; b) hang out in the sun or c) both.

I’m setting the stage for you, my friends.

How to Get Sweat Stains Out of Hats

It all started a few months ago when Steve mentioned to me that he was going to have to throw away his favorite hat. Not because it had holes or a tear or anything like that, but because the heat and sweat had caused it to fade really badly, not to mention some weird staining on the brim.

Before throwing his hat in the circular file, he did have the good sense to come to me and ask what he could do. He was wondering if there was any way he could dye the hat – I mean, he’d tried everything else first (dishwasher, enzymes, etc). Washing just didn’t fix the sweat stains, and the fading was obviously permanent.

I got involved and we were able to fix the hat, and I’m so excited to share how we did it. To give you an idea of how it turned out so you can get excited, check out the before and after:

remove sweat stains from hat

I know . . . it’s pretty much amazing. And now I’m going to tell you how we did it.

Meet this little metal can of fabric spray magic.

Tulip Color Shot Instant Fabric Color in Black

I’d actually seen Tulip Color Shot around the interwebs so it was somewhere in the back of my mind . . . but I didn’t make the connection until we were in Michaels on the fashion crafting aisle.

Steve and I were there together and actually had several products in our hands. I love Tulip brand, and I liked the advertised “even coverage” and “dries soft.” No one wants their hat to dry like a piece of cardboard.

So we decided to purchase the Tulip and bring it home, and I’m pleased to tell you that the results were even more amazing that I could have imagined! Here’s how we brought Steve’s favorite hat back to life.

How to Dye a Baseball Cap

Gather These Supplies

sweat stains on hat

So this is the hat beforehand – which you may think was a gray-blue-ish shade originally. No . . . it was BLACK. This is what sun and sweat do to hats, people!

This hat is either 100% cotton or close – there might be some poly in it (no tag). I recommend washing the hat one more time before starting to get rid of any sweat and dirt. We just let it air dry.

Logo on a hat taped with painter's tape

Steve didn’t want the logo to be covered with paint, so we covered it with painter’s tape. But it wasn’t exactly shaped to the logo, as you can see.

Trim the painter's tape with an X-Acto knife

This is where the craft knife came into play. We trimmed the painter’s tape around the baseball cap logo for an exact fit.

If you do this, please be very careful! You can plunge that craft knife right through the hat and cause a meltdown on the part of the owner, so gently cut away the tape.

faded baseball hat

This is what is left behind. Then the rest is simple.

Place the hat on a protected surface and, following the instructions on the can, spray the paint. Steve used three light layers of Color Shot, letting dry for several minutes between each.

He then turned the baseball hat over and did the bottom of the bill (not the inside). Remove the tape and let dry for several hours before handling.

How to Dye a Baseball Hat That Has Faded

It really worked *that* well! Once you learn how to dye a baseball cap, you can try several colors. We were so pleased with the results, though I do have a few notes:

  • As I said, this hat was mostly cotton, but according to the bottle it works on natural and synthetic materials. Despite this, I always recommend doing a test before starting your project. In the case of a hat, you can do a quick blast to the inside where no one will see it before committing.
  • You should not only cover any logos you don’t want painted with painter’s tape, but also any plastic.
  • The paint does dry soft BUT it takes a few wears to get it loosened up. So don’t freak out if your hat is a little stiff right after painting – it will get soft again.
  • The color is permanent, so you should be able to wash it. We haven’t washed the hat yet, but it has stood up to several days of sweating (so it’s gotten really wet) and there’s been no bleeding.

Update May 2019: we originally posted this four years ago and the hat is still going strong! It’s been washed and there hasn’t been any bleeding. Steve actually did this a second time in late 2017, and it looks like its original black.

Yield: 1 hat

How to Dye a Baseball Cap

how to clean sweat stains from hats

Learn how to fix a black hat that has turned brown! This is simple and works for a variety of colors of hats.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Active Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $6

Materials

Tools

  • Craft knife

Instructions

  1. Wash the hat and let it air dry.
  2. Cover up any logos with painter's tape; trim around the edges carefully with a craft knife.
  3. Place the hat on a protected surface and, following the instructions on the can, spray the paint. Use three light layers of Color Shot, letting dry for several minutes between each.
  4. Turn the hat over and spray the bottom of the bill only.
  5. Remove the tape and let dry for several hours before handling or wearing.

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Did you make this project?

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how to clean sweat stains from hats

Now that you know how to dye a baseball hat, would you try it? Would love if you’d share this video:

So what do you think – would you try it? Do you have any other favorite methods for restoring color to a hat?


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Jennifer

Sunday 30th of June 2019

Hi Amy read your page a few years ago and I'm finally going to give it a try!!! Rydo mention his hat came out shiny and patchy etc. Do you know how that happen? And as I was trying to order my can (Google search) I've noticed that there's 2 option that look really close to each other. It's both said "instant fabric color" and one said "interior fabric upholstery". I just want to ask you if I need to stay away from the "interior fabric......." spray?

Jackie from Jax

Friday 26th of April 2019

I have a green and orange hat that is for the Miami hurricanes the hat was my sons grandfather’s is so faded he wants me to restore it I’m really kind of worried about the two colors running on each other what do you think. Not to mention this will be my first time trying this any suggestions or tips

Amy

Friday 26th of April 2019

Hi Jackie! Let the first color set for a day or two before doing the second color, and use painter's tape to block off one area while you are painting the other. You're going to do great - just work slowly and have patience :)

Jasmine Miller

Wednesday 27th of March 2019

Hey My name is Jasmine I have a Black Gorillaz G Foot Baseball cap that’s beginning to fade but I don’t know what fabric it is due to the tag not telling me. Does the paint work on all fabrics?

I can send you a picture of my cap.

Amy

Wednesday 27th of March 2019

Hi Jasmine! If it's fading, it's most likely cotton or a cotton blend. This will work! At least, I'd give it a try.

Lan

Saturday 26th of January 2019

I was looking for ways to restore a handful of hats I got that is now pretty faded and that brought me here. Just want to ask. Since the making of your guide have you ever washed the hat? If you did, was it able to retain its color after?

Amy

Sunday 27th of January 2019

I just asked and he hasn't washed it. Having said that, it was in the rain and got soaked a few times (we live in the PNW) and it didn't run. I'm thinking the dye would stick.

Rob

Saturday 20th of October 2018

I found that Dawn dish soap and a brush with fairly stiff nylon bristles will get those weird colored sweat stains out of hats. It generally takes a few rounds of scrubbing, thoroughly rinsing, and drying before everything is all said and done but it turns out really well. Going to add a can of Tulips in to the mix to keep my favorite hat on my head....because believe it or not...favorite hats can be hard to come by...