Washing cotton caps - some simple guidelines

October 14, 2016 3 min read

Washing cotton caps - some simple guidelines

Here at Prendas we're big fans of the classic and iconic cycling cap (or "casquette" depending on your preferred lingo). On the bike, off the bike, down the pub or on the podium we think its an important part of cycling's history and culture.

The introduction of compulsory helmet wear in the peloton had seen the cap mostly disappear from the pro circuit and has therefore seen less and fewer riders and teams sporting them, instead preferring poorly made baseball caps with unoriginal designs being worn in their place when on the podium. Through its demise, Prendas continued to sell cotton caps and are still offering a wide range today. A new cap delivery is usually the quickest to be opened so that we can see the new designs!

Despite its gradual disappearance from pro cycling, the cap is always a must-have item for hundreds of our customers whether as part of our 3 for£24 deal or as an add on with a jersey.

Infact more and more people now seem to want to wear the cap due to the heightened interest in cycling history and via riders such as Mark Cavendish remaining loyal to the cap throughout his career. Its allure has definitely rubbed off on people eager to get caught up in cycling culture.

Due to this, one of the most common emails we see more and more in our inbox each morning is from an unlucky soul who has incorrectly washed their casquette! A repeat offender is the La Vie Claire cap with the original Tyvek ribbon from the 80's.

We appreciate the efforts of our cap supplier to keep this cap as authentic and original as possible. Infact its still produced the same way it was 30 years ago, albeit with an updated composition.

All of the caps we bought from Italy up to about 5 years ago were 100% cotton, hence the name. But in recent years the composition has changed to a 65% / 35% split in favour of Polyester. This updated composition helps the cap hold its shape and prevent excessive creasing. But without due care the ribbon can literally lose its colour after one cycle or wash.

Caps take on a multitude of sweat, dirt and grime with constant use so obviously, you want to keep them clean and maintained to retain the fresh look they have straight out of the factory. In fact, Prendas now produce all of our own brand caps with an anti-bacterial ribbon inside which helps wick sweat faster and feels less abrasive on your head.

Small production runs of caps can also add a "collectors" nature to various designs out there so you don't want to see a new addition come out of the wash faded, damaged and lifeless after one use.

The label contained inside our cotton caps will tell you that they are suitable for machine washing, but Prendas recommend avoiding this if you have any uncertainty of the results. Whilst this doesn't apply to all caps, we don't recommend it as many factors can come into play that could damage your cap such as the machine it's being washed in and the items being washed with it. A cap thrown in with lots of other clothing can also wash the colours and damage or snap your peak, which is another common side effect in cap aftercare.

In our experience, the best way to keep your caps looking new after a long ride is to do a quick, cool hand wash only (30 deg max) with a very mild detergent. This might not get rid of excessive dirt and road spray but it will remove the worst of it along with the buildup of sweat and ensure the cap is comfortable to wear on the next ride. After the wash just simply hang them up to dry. Tumble drying and ironing is also a big no-no if you're unsure of the results.

Following these simple guidelines and using a bit of common sense will ensure your caps stay looking fresh for a long time even after repeated use.

Looking after your cotton cycling cap

To summarise, when washing cotton caps:

  • Cool hand wash only (30 deg max)
  • Do not machine wash (despite the inside label)
  • Do not dry clean
  • Do not tumble dry
  • Do not iron!

Thanks for reading!


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