Home, it has been said, is where you hang your hat.
Obviously you should be keeping said home looking sharp and well-maintained, but you’d also be well served to keep the baseball cap you hang there fresh and clean as well.
So how do you do it?
Using these five pieces of expert advice from Nate Taylor, a buying director at Lids who’s been in the hat business for nearly two decades and is well-versed in keeping handsome headwear in good health.
Keep It In a Cool, Dry Place
“One of the things that could really damage the quality or the look of a hat is how you store it. If you’re storing it where there’s a lot of sunlight or a lot of dust and dirt, that can make the hat look more worn out than it might from the natural wear and tear of just actually wearing it out in the sun. If you put it in a box or closet or drawer or something, that’s going to preserve the color of the hat and stop it from getting dirt and dust and all that kind of stuff on it. I personally store all my hats in a box in my closet covered up so there’s no sunlight on them.”
Stack ‘Em Up
“I wear a lot of structured hats, like a New Era 59Fifty. They have buckram, the stiff white stuff at the front of the hat, to help keep their form. I always like to store the hats as they would sit on a store shelf with the back pushed in and fitting inside each other. They fit in there pretty well and it keeps the format real nice. If you leave them open, sometimes it loses the form in the back of the hat. As long as you’re storing them inside each other, that should really preserve the form and the integrity of the hat as you wear it.”
“Natural things like fading and sweat stains are going to happen over time. We sell rain-and-stain repellent. It’s the exact same stuff they sell for shoes but it’s for hats. It has some stuff in it that really helps with UV ray fading and it really helps with sweat stains penetrating all the way through so you can see them on the outside of the hat. I spray my hats once every couple of months if I’m wearing them a couple of times a week.”
Cool It Down
“Using a Ballcap Buddy, I’ve always used the dishwasher and put my hat in that on the top rack with nothing else in there. Use a very bland soap and make sure it has no bleach. I’m sure people have used soap with bleach and ruined hats. Always use cold water to keep the hat from shrinking. A lot of people think using hot water is the way to go, either in the dishwasher or the washing machine, but I highly suggest using cold water based solely on the integrity of the sizing of the hat. Either one’s going to work and cold water is less risky. Also, make sure you. don’t run the dry cycle. You always want to let the hat air dry. With any sort of heat, you definitely risk shrinking. Keep the hat open while it dries on a Ballcap Buddy, a bowl, container or even your own head to avoid any chance of shrinking. Once a hat shrinks down, it’s not going to get any bigger.”
Be Proactive About Prevention
“When people talk about caring for hats, it’s usually really focused on cleaning a hat once it’s dirty. You should be caring for a hat way before it gets dirty. Right. That starts with how you store your hats and how you take care of them prior to them getting dirty. That’s a big piece people don’t touch on that I think is impactful. I’d rather people not take care of them so they come to Lids and buy a new one, but as a hat guy, I know not every hat fits the same. You inevitably will find a hat that’s just the right fit and it’s going to be hard to find a hat that fits exactly like that one. My advice would be to treat every hat like it’s the best hat that you’ve ever had.”