How Long Does a Baseball Cap Last? (& Make It Last Longer)

If you cover a bad hair day with a cap, or use a cap to instantly sport a laid-back look on a whim, it is perfectly understandable why you would want your favorite baseball cap to last for many years.

So, how long does a baseball cap last? A modern baseball cap can last anywhere from 2 to 10 years. Vintage caps made in the 80s and earlier tend to only last for a couple of years when worn on a regular basis. Modern caps tend to last for a much longer time as they're made from more durable materials. You will maximise cap life by storing and washing your cap carefully.

Baseball caps these days can be made from a variety of materials, and it's a must that you treat each one of them accordingly. Keep on reading if parting with your baseball cap anytime soon is not an option - below you will come across some of the most important caring steps required.

Vintage Caps Need Extra Love and Care

Do you own a baseball cap that was made before 1983? Then consider yourself fortunate for owning something that most people can’t get their hands on. Vintage baseball caps are timeless, collectible and, in some cases, extremely valuable!

Unfortunately, due to their age and the less robust materials they are made from (for instance, vintage cap brims are supported by a cardboard structure), a baseball cap from that era requires all of the care that a baseball cap lover can give.

Honestly, the best way to look after a vintage cap is to wear it as little as possible, and store it away from sunlight, to protect the cap’s colours from fading.

Newer Caps Can Take Quite a Beating

On the other hand, modern-day baseball caps are made of stronger cotton weaves, as well as polyester and polyester-cotton (called ‘poly-cotton’) blends.

Just because a cap is new does not mean, however, that the baseball cap will be completely unaffected by wear and tear! A baseball cap, no matter how durable, requires careful treatment and maintenance.

For instance, a lot of baseball caps are made out of wool. While definitely durable, wool is not as hardwearing as cotton and polyester, and should be treated with greater care.

How Often You Wear Your Cap is a Major Factor

Is there a baseball cap that you really, really like, and you cannot set foot outside the home without it gracing your head? No one can blame you for this feeling, because a baseball cap is the perfect accessory for when you have uncooperative hair, or when you just want to exude an easy-going vibe.

As a general rule of thumb: the more you wear your baseball cap, the shorter its lifespan becomes.

For most people, a baseball cap is meant to be worn and not displayed as though it's an artefact - unless of course it is a collector's item due to its rarity or the presence of an autograph by a famous athlete or celebrity!


The Way You Treat It Matters a Lot, Too

However, it's not just the frequency of use that counts a lot, but also how you use your favorite baseball cap each time. Do you love wearing it while partaking in outdoor activities under the blistering sun? Do you count on it to keep your unwashed hair from being seen and smelled?

Just like any other wearable item, a baseball cap is prone to collecting sweat, skin oils and even the cosmetic products that you use on an everyday basis.

Burying your baseball cap under a pile of junk can leave it deformed, while stashing it in a dank spot can cause mold and mildew to form on it. Also beware that placing it near a source of heat such as the radiator or oven can shorten its lifespan significantly, by causing shrinkage and color fading.

Bottom line: give your much-loved baseball cap the treatment it greatly deserves.

Washing It Correctly is of Utmost Importance

As mentioned above, that baseball cap of yours is susceptible to getting stained and dirty. Especially if you consider it to be an accessory for all seasons, it is likely to end up stained and smelly every now and then.

The moment that your baseball cap is no longer pleasing to the eyes and nose, it's time to wash it. Make sure, however, that you do so in the correct fashion to keep unnecessary problems from striking!

First things first: take a look at the tag - it will tell you which material your baseball cap is made of and the manufacturer's directions for washing it. Fret not if the tag is no longer around or readable. The following are some important baseball cap washing tips:

  • Hand wash a baseball cap out of cotton, polyester or a blend of cotton and polyester in warm water. Use detergent that's free of chemical bleach. Spot-cleaning using a soft-bristled toothbrush beforehand is a good idea if there are trouble spots that need your extra attention. Soak for 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse very well and then leave to air-dry.

  • When it comes to washing a baseball cap out of wool, follow the steps above. However, there are a couple of things that you should remember: soak it in cool or cold water and use detergent intended for wool. If you can’t find the required detergent, the safest thing to do would be to take it to the nearest dry cleaner.

  • NEVER wash a vintage baseball cap using the tips above! Because of the delicate materials it is made of, a baseball cap that's manufactured back in the early 80s needs to be spot-cleaned only. Most classics are not color fast, which means that using detergent is a complete no-no. In this case, remove dirt and grime using water only.

  • Perhaps you have read from somewhere or heard from someone that washing a baseball cap in the dishwasher is a time-saving and effective solution. However, we do not recommend this. On the internet, you can easily come across a how-to article saying that it's perfectly fine for you to wash your baseball cap in the top rack of your dishwasher using mild detergent. Do not be tempted to try it! The heat from the dishwasher could permanently damage the cap.

  • Washing your baseball cap by hand is ideal. Washing it using a washing machine, however, can definitely help save a lot of time and energy. If you want to leave the job to the washing machine, just remember these things: wash it alone or with a small load, put it in the washing machine ONLY if it's not vintage or out of wool, and choose a gentle wash cycle (your machine should have a ‘hand wash’ or ‘delicates’ option, or something similar).

  • It's not a good idea to throw your baseball cap in the dryer after washing it. This is true no matter what material it's made of - the heat will surely deform and shrink your prized possession. Always air-dry your baseball cap. To keep it from losing its shape, place it on a balled-up towel.

Enjoy Your Baseball Cap for Many Years to Come

As you can see, making your baseball cap last a long time is not really that difficult - taking good care of it is easy, too! Just see to it that you treat your favorite baseball cap with all the love and care it needs.