How to Shrink a Hat: 8 Proven Ways

We will show you 8 effective ways on how to shrink a hat.

You may find yourself with a great hat wasting its potential in the back of your closet simply because it is too big for your head.

Maybe the hat was too large when you got it. Perhaps your head has gotten smaller due to weight loss. Although, typically, fitted hats can get stretched or loosened from regular use as well.

Whatever the reason may be, all hope is not lost!

If you are wondering how to shrink a hat, several different processes can help you.

If all else fails and you don’t want to give up on your hat, you can always take it to a professional hat dealer or a professional hat fitter. They can customize the fit of your hat and shrink the hat by using a steaming process.

However, the price of going to a professional to get a hat tailored is usually not worth the money or effort unless the hat holds significant value.

Though, there are ways you can see how to make a hat smaller at home. So, before you decide to drop a lot of cash on getting your hat resized, consider following these simple steps to learn how to shrink a hat effectively on your own.


When deciding how to shrink a fitted hat you must first determine what kind of hat you are working with. Different methods should be used depending on the material your hat is made from.

shrink a baseball cap

Some hats should be handled more cautiously if the material is delicate or shrinks easily. Other hats, like preshrunk cotton or polyester, are resistant to shrinking. Finding out how to shrink a polyester hat will especially require more intense heat for a longer period of time.

8 Proven Ways to Shrink a Hat

Now, we are listing eight proven methods for you.

You can follow the tips to shrink your baseball cap, fitted hat, cotton or polyester beret hat.


For the first method, you will want to get a spray bottle full of cold water.

Spray the hat until it is dampened but not soaked. You don’t want the colors to bleed.

Using a hairdryer on a high setting, direct the heat on the hat. Rotate the hat to allow heat to reach all sides.

Do not focus the heat too much on the brim. This can cause the hat to lose its shape.

Be careful not to let the fabric get too hot.

Once the hat feels dry, you should stop blow-drying. Try on the hat and repeat this process a few more times if needed.

Remember that polyester hats are more resistant to shrinking than cotton hats. Polyester hats may need more treatments than a cotton hat would.


Another method that can be used is soaking the hat.

This method works if the hat has an elastic band. You can try soaking the elastic band in hot water for 10 minutes.

To do this, fill a sink just enough to submerge the elastic band.

You don’t want to soak the entire hat. Use the hottest water from the faucet.


For this method, you will need to preheat the oven to 300°F.

Using a higher heat can melt the hat so be careful.

While the oven heats up, lay paper towels on a baking sheet. Paper towels will prevent the hat from burning and browning on the bottom.

Place the hat on the tray and put it in the oven for 5 minutes.


You can try to shrink your hat in the washing machine and/or dryer.

Set the machines on the hottest and longest cycles possible.

If your hat does not need to shrink too much, you can opt for the dryer method alone.

Try this method immediately after the oven method if the hat still remains too loose.


For this method, you need to fill a pot or sink with steaming hot water.

Do not make the water boiling hot or you can ruin the structure of your hat.

Add a tablespoon of detergent to the water and then add the hat into the soapy water.

Soak the cap for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Then rinse the hat with warm running water. Pat excess water from the hat using a clean towel.

Place the damp hat on your head and wear the hat until it dries completely. This will take a while.

If you want to speed up the drying process you can use a hairdryer on a high heat setting. This will further shrink your hat so be careful not to make your hat too tight.


For this method, you can try getting into a hot shower wearing your hat.

Wet the hat in hot water. Do not use water too hot because you need to be able to wear the hat without burning yourself.

Then proceed with your normal shower routine while wearing the hat. Continue to wear the hat until it dries.

Wearing it in the hot sun can speed up the drying time as well as add more heat to the shrinking process.

You can also use a hairdryer to speed up this process. Remember that this will add to the shrinkage of the hat.


This method requires a bit more accuracy than others. In order to use hat size reducers, you will need to measure the gap between the hat and your head.

To get a rough estimate, you can slide your fingers between the hat and your head.

If you have someone nearby to assist you, they can use a tape measure to measure the gap for you.

Using a pair of scissors, trim the hat size reducers to the length you need based on the circumference of the hat.

Apply the adhesive side to your hat by tucking it under the lining of the hat.


Wearing a beret requires you to learn how to shape it the way you want it.

Unless you are in the military wearing a beret as a part of your uniform there are no rules to how you style it.

beret hat

Generally, there is an inner lining that needs to be cut so that the beret will snuggly fit your head. Excess material around the hat is going to be a given.

The extra material is normally folded and arranged toward one side, usually to the right. If after folding and styling your hat there is still too much material you can use hot water to help.

Using hot water will cause shrinking.

If you have fuzz on your hat, you can use this soaking method to kill two birds with one stone.

After your hat reaches the desired size, I wouldn’t recommend soaking it in hot water every time you want to remove fuzz.

Otherwise, the hat will continue to shrink. Instead, you can just use scissors and cut as if you are cutting hair.

Final Thoughts

Before removing your oversized hat from your wardrobe and dropping it off at your nearest local thrift store, you can follow some or all of these methods to figure out how to make a fitted hat smaller.

Remember that the combination of wetting and heating tends to warp your hat especially over multiple processes.

Take caution when trying these tips so that you won’t ruin your hat.

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