How to Shrink a Fitted Hat For a Perfect Fit

There are two types of hats you’ll see in shops to buy: the adjustable and fitted kinds. While the adjustable can be easily modified through the strap-band enclosures at the crown, the fitted types cannot.

So, if it happens to be too big to wear, you’ll need to modify it to fit your head size manually.

Sometimes, after purchasing these hats online, they’re not the perfect size on arrival. And since some fitted hats can’t be adjusted with straps or bands, you can tighten them through other means like shrinkage. 

Some Methods You Can Use To Shrink a Hat

Collection of Hats

If your favorite fitted hat is too big for your head, you can easily shrink it. Fitted hats may stretch or widen after years of use or due to different hairstyles.

These shrinking methods below will make them fit into your perfect size. 

The Steam Method

This method may not shrink your fitted hat to the exact size. However, there will be noticeable changes. The steam method is usually left for professionals, but some hat styles can be handled at home by yourself.

  • Heat some water and hold the hat above the boiling water with tongs.
  • Steam the inside and outside of the crown until the hat feels soaked.
  • Then, hold the hat about 6-12 inches above the steam for a few minutes.
  • Take short breaks in between to avoid burning your hands.
  • Then, remove the hat from the heat and repeat a few times if you have to.
  • Finally, wear the hat on your head until it feels dry, or you can use a hair dryer to finish drying it halfway.

Note: Read your hat’s label to know if it can withstand moisture or heat.

The Hot Water Method

The Hot Water method of shrinking fitted hats made of cotton or elastic band entails submerging it in hot water to expand the material and donning it until dry to help the fitted hat adjust tightly to your head.

  • Heat some water in a bowl. To better control the temperature, you can either keep the water on the burner after heating it to a steaming temperature or transfer the water to a sink.
  • Make sure your fitted hat is totally submerged in hot water for as long as it takes to absorb enough water to stay submerged. Then, leave it to soak for about ten minutes.
  • Remove the fitted hat when you see any improvements on the hat.
  • Shake water from the hat and wear it daily to dry it properly.
  • If you can’t wear it for long, wear it for a few hours until it’s almost dry. Then, use a clothespin or hook to hang it by the bill to avoid stretching as it dries.

The Washer And Dryer Method

You can use a washer, a dryer, or a combination of both to shrink your fitted hat.

This method is usually best for polyester fitted hats or hats made with synthetic fibers.

  • Put the hat in the washer and add a small amount of detergent to clean it as you shrink it.
  • If you are washing only the hat in the washer, use the smallest load setting so the wash and rinse cycles don’t use excess water. Placing the hat with other clothes will put more friction and pressure on the fit, causing it to shrink faster.
  • Set the washer on regular heat and allow it to go through the complete wash cycle. If you want to shrink the polyester hat a bit, remove it after the initial wash cycle.
  • Wear the hat to dry. This will give the hat a specially customized measurement.
  • Then, put the hat in the dryer if the fit is too loose for you and you need it to shrink better.
  • Set the dryer to medium heat. Since the constant heat of machine dryers is not ideal for synthetic fabrics, medium heat is the best setting for your polyester hat to avoid warping the bill or wrinkling the hat.

The Hair Dryer Method

To perform this task,

  • First, fill a spray bottle with water.
  • Spray the rim of your hat inside the band.
  • When the band is damp, spray it inside the body of the hat. Make it damp, not completely wet.
  • Once you’ve finished spraying the band and inside the hat, flip it and do the same.
  • Plugin your hairdryer to the nearest outlet and set it to the highest setting.
  • Hold the hairdryer about 12 inches away from the hat and start drying the outside of the hat.
  • Turn the hat over and focus the hairdryer on the inner band of the hat since the internet band has to shrink the most for the hat to fit you better.
  • Once it is almost dry, wear it to shrink to fit your head better.

Use The Shower Method

This method will require a hot shower and your fitted hat.

  • First, turn on a hot shower; it should not be too hot to burn your skin or damage the hat since the water will fall directly onto its surface.
  • Put on the fitted hat the way you usually wear it and step under the hot shower.
  • Wait for 3-5 minutes to break down the rigidity of the hat before showering.
  • When it is nearly dry, you can put the hat back on. Then, using a hanger, hang it by the edge to dry. You can use a blow dryer as well to hasten the drying process.

How To Shrink A Fitted Hat In The Washing Machine

Since there isn’t much control when using a washer, you should be careful not to shrink your fitted hat to half its size (especially woolen hats).

  • Put the fitted hat inside a garment bag. It will help protect the hat since some fibers used to make hats are unsuitable for machine wash.
  • You can add clothes to the washer to avoid wasting water. The pressure from the other clothes can also help shrink the hat faster.
  • Add non-bleach laundry detergent inside.
  • If you want to shrink the hat to a reasonable degree, use the hot water setting. If you want to shrink it a bit, use the warm or cold water setting.
  • Set the washing machine to the gentle wash cycle.
  • Try on the hat while it’s wet, or you can dab excess water from it before wearing it. This will allow it to adjust to its new size on your head.
  • If it still doesn’t fit after the process, put it in the dryer on medium-high heat or the highest setting.

How To Shrink A Fitted Hat That Is Too Big

Large Hat on a Boy

There are different items that you can use as hat adjusters. You don’t necessarily need a washer or dryer to shrink your hat to the perfect fit.

Headbands, hat tapes, and sweatbands can serve as hat size adjusters, which can be used to shrink your hat.

  • Wear a headband or sweatband around where the rim of your hat would usually sit.
  • Wear the hat on top and ensure the headband isn’t sticking from under the hat’s brim.
  • Some hats take more than a headband to fix. You can use hat tapes or hat sizers instead. You can find it in foam strips; the other side acts as an adhesive.
  • Cut the tape according to the approximate circumference of the hat into two pieces for the sides.
  • Lift the band and place the hat tape inside the hat. 
  • Try out the hat to check if the problem has been fixed.
  • If you’re satisfied with the results, peel off the back on the adhesive side of the tape and replace the foam where it originally was. Then, gently tap it into place.

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