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How to Wash Your Beanie & Why You Need To Do It… Now

Hand-washing your beanie is the best way to get it clean and help it retain its shape and elasticity. Learn how with our step-by-step pictures and instructions.

It’s just a beanie. How dirty can it get? While it may be tempting to think that everything you wear in the winter is clean – after all, you don't sweat as much – in reality, nothing is further from the truth.

Guys, wash your beanie at least once a month during the winter. More if you’re wearing it every day or for sports.

While you might not perspire as much as doing burpees in July, you’re still secreting oil through that pretty scalp of yours. The same stuff that makes your hair greasy is vacationing in your beanie and, if left unwashed, will start to smell.

We’re not saying that you’re not clean. We’re saying that you’re human (congrats!). Combine natural oils and dead skin cells with all the other stuff you come into contact with every day – pigeon attacks, air pollution, and gunk from your gloves that you got from the door handle that you then transferred to your beanie when you adjusted it. Yeah. Your beanie is dirty.

Lucky for your beanie hat, and lucky for those sitting next to you on the train, you can wash your winter hat. Step one is to identify the material and check the care label sewn in the beanie.

If your winter hat is machine-washable, you’ll find washing instructions on the label. Generally, synthetic fibers (polyester), wool blends and cotton blends can be washed in a machine.

We’re fans of hand-washing because beanies love to stretch and washing machines are infamous for making them do it. We’re looking at you, knitted beanies!

To avoid excessive stretching, pop your beanie in a laundry bag and use the lowest temperature possible – less than 30ºC (86ºF) – and a hand-wash or gentle cycle with similar colors. The laundry bag will prevent your beanie from snagging in the machine. Always air dry afterward.

How to Hand-Wash Beanies in 6 Steps

  1. Fill a bucket or sink with cold water no warmer than 30ºC (86ºF).
  2. Add a teaspoon or less of mild laundry detergent. Use your hand to mix the soap in the water.
  3. Place your beanie in the water and move it around for 5 minutes. Do not scrub, wring or twist the hat… just swirl it around. If your hat is heavily stained, massage the spot gently. If your beanie is exceptionally dirty, soak it for longer to remove all stains and oils.
  4. Drain away the soapy water and fill with cold clean water. Swirl your beanie around in the water. You’ll need to repeat this process until the water is clear. Do not think holding your beanie under the running tap is quicker. It is, but the pressure can hurt the shape.
  5. When the water is finally clear, move the beanie to a dry towel. Carefully roll the towel and press firmly to remove excess water. Do not wring or twist.
  6. Lay your beanie on another dry towel and reshape if necessary. Let it air dry completely.

How to Remove Pilling From Your Beanie

No matter how careful you are, you’ll probably end up with pilling on your beanie. Those tiny little fuzz balls are short fibers that tangle together and form balls. Unless you want to pick each pill off by hand (a great date night activity), one of the best ways to remove pills is with an electric fabric shaver or razor blade.

Understanding Laundry Symbols

The key to taking care of your beanie is to understand the laundry care instructions that came with it. If your beanie doesn’t have specific laundry care symbols included, then hand-washing is your safest option.