Swim caps are an important accessory for regular swimmers. They hold your hair out of your face and protecting it from the drying, damaging, and potentially discoloring effects of chlorine, copper, and other compounds in the water. And, for competitive swimmers, a swim cap converts the head into a more hydrodynamic surface, reducing drag and improving swim times.
Swim caps are made from a number of different materials, each with its own pros and cons. Between these options and the importance of a snug fit, it’s worth putting some time into choosing the right swim cap.
Once you’ve found the best swim cap and made the investment, some basic care goes a long way toward protecting the item and maximizing its life. By properly caring for your cap, you help it maintain its color, shape, elasticity, and fit for as long as possible.
Swim Cap Care Tips
- Start by selecting a swim cap that’s snug but not tight, or it quickly becomes too stretched out to be useful
- Don’t use hair clips or bobby pins while wearing your swim cap, as they can easily puncture it
- Be careful not to cut into the cap with your fingernails when putting it on, taking it off, or adjusting it; also, take care not to snag it with a ring
- Refrain from yanking on the swim cap to adjust it, as this stretches it out and can eventually ruin the fit
- Right after every use, swish the cap around in a product like Suit Solutions or clean it off with a Swim Wipe to remove sweat, dirt, chlorine, and other chemicals that fade colors and weaken the fibers in ways that affect the fit and make the material more prone to tears
- Never wash or dry your swim cap in a washing machine or dryer
- Gently blot the swim cap with a towel to help it dry; always allow it to finish completely air drying before putting it away, or it is likely to develop mildew or mold growth
- A light sprinkling of talcum powder can accelerate drying and help prevent unpleasant odors, but don’t use it on mesh caps or those made from Elastane/Lycra/Spandex
- Don’t hang or stretch the cap to hurry along the drying process, as this can diminish the elasticity and distort the shape and fit
- Don’t leave your swim cap sitting in the sun, as this will cause it to fade and damage the fibers if they get too hot
- Don’t store the cap near a heat source, as this too can negatively affect the material and its elasticity
- Keep your swim cap in a sturdy protective case to prevent punctures, tears, or other damage
- Even with great care, swim caps don’t last forever; replace them when they no longer stay snug on your head, develop rips or holes, or have black spots indicating mold growth