Last Man Standing are articles intended to help the average guy prepare for some of life’s oddest events. It’s just advice. It’s better than being clueless.

Unless you're a multimillionaire suiting up for an American League Championship Series, it's tough to pull off the Dustin Pedroia dirty-hat look. Sure, dudes may respect you for sparing your hat from the ravages of cleanliness, but you'll scare women away more than you already do.

Baseball hats get more character as they age and wear, but dirt doesn't always add to the look. Eventually, if only for the sake of avoiding a bio-hazard, you'll probably want to look into how to clean a baseball cap. But many a beautiful hat has been ruined by a clumsy washing. Wearing it in a rainstorm or tossing it int he dishwasher with last week's pizza plates are less than optimal solutions.

At some point, you may have to do the unthinkable and actually do your hat laundry. It's not as hard as it seems. Here are some tips on how to clean a baseball cap.

Read before you leap

The straight-brimmed gents at Sport-Smart offers advice on how best to clean your lid without ruining its shape or shrinking it. Chicks hate shrinkage.

The post advises following recommendations on the tag. If there are no factory instructions, or if you don't want any stuffy hat manufacturers telling you your bidness, you'll need to tailor your approach to the material the hat is made out of, as well as its age. Newer hats made of cotton or jersey knit can withstand a trip through the washing machine. Before you wash them, treat nasty stains with a pre-wash spray. Avoid bleach and let the hat air-dry. If you've got an old hat you suspect has a brim made out of cardboard rather than plastic, avoid the washing machine in favor of a hand-washing.

Invest in a cap shaper

It's not really investing, since they retail for less than $10, and it can't hurt to keep the hat from bending or misshaping in the wash.

Pull the wool over your eyes

If your hat is made of wool, you'll want to hand-wash it in the sink with a detergent made for cleaning the material, taking care to gently work out the stains. Be sure to shape the hat before you allow it to dry. And after you mess up the instructions and ruin your clean but deranged-looking hat, you can can always re-wash it and try for something resembling its original shape.

Never put your hat in dishwasher

Ever. Unless you never want to wear it again.

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