How to wash headbands

By: | Last Updated: April 13, 2023

There are numerous types of headbands these days. 

A headband like that of Gossip Girl’s Blair Waldorf is an example of how a simple classic headband can elevate the style. 

Some are meant for more than aesthetic and also offer practical use, e.g., keeping off sweat or reducing frizz-inducing friction in your hair. 

If you’re a proud headband connoisseur, you must know that keeping it clean is equivalent to keeping it pretty. 

But if you’re a newbie looking for guidance on how to wash headbands, get on reading!

Can I wash the headband in the washing machine?

Whether you wear a range of headbands or stick to one for everyday and occasional use, there’s a need to keep them in tiptop condition so they last long, look pretty, and, most especially, stay hygienic. 

A very convenient way of cleaning them is putting them in a washing machine and letting it do the work instead of you. 

However, please remember that you cannot machine wash every type of fabric, and this rule translates to your favorite headband too! 

Moreover, plastic and heavily embellished types, e.g., beaded, sequined, and glittered, can’t be machine washed without the risk of damage. 

Here’s a list of fabrics that are ready for machine washing. 

  1. Cotton as seen in scarf or turban headbands
  2. Linen
  3. Synthetic fiber like polyester, nylon, and spandex, which is a component of athletic headbands
  4. Velour is a fabric similar to velvet or velveteen
  5. Microfiber
  6. Satin 
  7. Superwash wool

Note that the latter three are softer fabrics and may require gentler mode and separation from the rest of your laundry. 

Also, keep in mind that elastic headbands, cotton, and linen can shrink if you use the hottest cycle of the machine, so be mindful of that too. 

On the other hand, some materials are better off being hand-washed, such as: 

  1. Fashion headbands like woven reeds, elaborate pearls, and floral designs
  2. Hard headbands made of plastic, e.g., Alice bands 
  3. Regular or natural wool (as opposed to superwash wool) can matt and shrink 
  4. Silk

How do you clean fabric headbands?

As mentioned earlier, fabric headbands come in a variety. 

It would be easier to toss them with your dirty clothes and put them in the dryer without any problems. 

Sadly, that’s not the case. So, to guide you, here are the general instructions on cleaning several fabric headbands.

Cotton and linen

Plush cotton headbands like those used in spa and skincare routines can accumulate dirt and oils if unattended. 

You can care for them by hand-washing them with warm water and soap. Soak for a few minutes, then gently rub the fabric to dislodge any build-up. You can air-dry or line-dry them afterward. 

For linens and thin cotton, you may machine wash them in a cold cycle. Remove them promptly and tumble dry with the lowest setting. 

If your cotton and linen headbands start loosening, you can shrink them by putting them on the hottest cycle since the agitation and heat bring the fabric close together. This is especially useful if you clean them so often that they start loosening. 


Satin is a soft fabric and would benefit from hand-washing. 

If you must do machine washing, use the gentlest cycle available. Clean it with mild detergent and cold water for 3-5 minutes. Do not wring it afterward, as it may deform. Instead, you can air-dry it. 

Athletic headbands 

Sweatbands may be number one on the dirty scale due to the frequency and intensity of activity associated with them. 

They are usually a blend of cotton and synthetic fiber with elastic properties. In such a case, you can machine wash them in cold water and air-dry them. 

Heat affects elasticity, so you shouldn’t subject athletic bands to warm cycles often. If you exercise daily, you can rinse the headband in cold water and squeeze it dry to extend the washing intervals. 


Silk is traditionally a dry-clean-only fabric. 

However, if you must clean it yourself, do it with the gentlest detergent (or shampoo) you can find and with water not exceeding 30 C. 

Lay your silk headband on a towel, fold it, and compress it to remove excess water. Air-dry afterward out of direct sunlight.


With velvet-like material, velour headbands make frizzy days go bye-bye. 

When dirty, you can clean them with the gentlest cycle in cold water. Separate it from other garments with a laundry bag to prevent damage while in the washing machine. Air dry or tumble-dry at the lowest setting afterward.

If there is no “machine-wash safe” tag, you can refer to the instructions for silk when hand washing. 

Knitted wool

Wool is a wearer’s comfort and style, especially in winter months. There are two types of knitted wool, one that can be machine-washed or superwash wool and natural wool. 

With superwash wool, use cold water in a gentle cycle and with mild detergent. If indicated in the fabric care label, they are usually dryer-friendly too. 

However, 100% regular wool shouldn’t be machine-washed. Instead, hand-wash them in cold water and gentle detergent. Lay it flat to dry.


If you want to add a twist to simple headbands, padded types make it pop with the extra soft cushion. 

Padded headbands have a plastic headband base, so you can’t throw them in your washing machine carelessly. Instead, you can try lightly sponging them with a damp cloth and liquid detergent. 

Due to the cushion, soaking them in water instead of sponging can take forever to dry, so do it in your free time! 

Plastic headbands with removable parts

It would be best to take out removable attachments like fabric covers or detachable bows and other designs first. For example, you can easily slip off a fabric cover from its plastic base by pulling it from one end. Dry and iron it to make it look new again!

When dealing with more complicated attachments, fill a basin with warm soapy water and gently rub any accumulated dirt off.

PS: Hair bands (including hair ties) come in different fabrics too, so if you’re wondering how to clean hair bands, you can use these guidelines as a start!

How do you wash sweaty headbands?

Sweaty headbands only come second to unwashed yoga pants. 

FYI, you shouldn’t tolerate both! 

If you are a fitness junkie, sweatbands are a must. 

And since you don’t want to shorten their lifespan and cause pimples on your forehead, you should wash them every one exercise. No ifs and buts! 

If there is no fabric care label available, identify the type of material of your headband. You can hand-wash or machine-wash cotton and silicone headbands and dry them in a cool place. If it’s polyester, hand-washing is preferable. 

How to wash baby headbands

how to wash baby headbands – Curling Diva

Baby headbands can vary from plush cotton to seamless nylon with enormous bows. They tend to be frilly and in pastel shades so that any stain can be quite visible, and it may not be obvious to wash them with all the decor around. 

But no fear! 

Sewn ones, unlike glued-on, can be safely thrown in the washer with those baby socks. Put it in a pillowcase or a lingerie bag to keep it from tangling. 

You can wash the frilly ones by hand with cold water, mild detergent, and a little baking soda to get rid of the stubborn stains. 

For the nooks and crannies, you can try an unused soft-bristled toothbrush. Air-dry them afterward. 

How often should you wash headbands?

Since headbands and hair bands do not come only in one fabric, it’s hard to put a ceiling on how often you should clean them. 

Moreover, wearing the same headband every day vs. only a few times a year may require you to plan your washing schedule differently. 

Sweat, bodily fluids, hair products, sebum, and environmental pollutants can easily sully it. 

As a rule, you should wash athletic bands after every use. 

For headbands used every day or several times that do not see much physical activity, cleaning them once every other week may be good enough. Otherwise, you can wash them once a month. 

Rinsing with cold water to get some dirt off may be beneficial if you don’t want to risk damaging your headband by constantly putting it on machine wash. 

However, please don’t put off washing for too long, as your skin may suffer as a consequence! 

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