4 Steps to mold free cap storage
Step 1 - Cool, dark and dry
Selecting the right place to store your caps is the single most important factor to keeping your caps mold free. Firstly, avoid storing them places that experience extremes in temperature (cold or hot), are prone to damp or have strong smells (ex. near a kitchen or bathroom).
If your collection isn’t large, keeping them under the bed or in the closet may be the best solution. If you decide to use your closet, leave the closet door open occasionally to allow your storage space to air out.
Step 2 - Prevent mildew by choosing the right container
It is tempting to grab any old box and chuck in a hand full of caps. Resist the temptation! Did you know the material of the box matters? The material your box is constructed with (and even the chemical processes used to manufacture them) plays a major role in maintaining the correct environment for cap storage.
I don’t use cardboard or wooden boxes, because they are not leak proof and may contain chemicals which can transfer on to the fabric and cause havoc with the colour.
Plastic containers are best suited for long term storage. It pains me to say this, since I’m trying to stop buying plastic. To reduce my guilt, I recommend buying sturdy, recyclable plastic containers which will last. You can hunt down some unwanted second-hand boxes.
When using plastic containers, go for the stackables. Shallow containers are great, since the best way to store caps is only one layer at a time. (Unless you hit jackpot, and find containers with dividers that slot into the box.)
The secret to preventing mold is ensuring the box is not fully airtight. Most fabrics need to breathe. Air needs to flow in and out of the box to prevent mildew. If your plastic containers aren’t vented, add some small holes.
If you want to avoid plastic: Canvas storage boxes are a great option. Wool and other natural fiber caps (including caps with silk linings) are better suited to canvas storage. This is because boxes made from canvas circulate air naturally. However, if you have pets in the house that like to sit on or scratch everything, this may not be suitable.
Have you ever wondered what to do with the packets of silica gel from shoe boxes?
Use these as another layer of protection against mold. Just put a few sachets of silica gel in the container, and they will absorb any moisture. Don’t forget to check on them, since they need to be replaced or refreshed periodically.
Step 3 - Prep
So here is my favourite bit! The prepping.
Clean and dry
Before you put your caps into storage, make sure they are completely clean, dry and dust free (unless you want moths and pest feasting on your caps). Pay extra attention to your sweatband. This is the main area where your body oils collect. Don’t starch your caps before packing them away.
Prep your box by lining your container with acid-free tissue paper or clean sheets cut to size. Let them breathe. Never individually wrap your caps in plastic bags. This traps moisture. If your caps have any delicate embroidery at all, you may get better results by placing it in a white cotton bag or wrap in acid-free tissue paper.
Label - Save time
Save time later on by labeling your boxes. Labels make it easier to find caps months later without digging around .
Step 4 - Fold like this to stop your crushing your caps
The final stage is safely packing away your caps.
Did you know there’s a special way to fold caps? I use the same fold when the are shipped from the factory. This fold saves space AND protects your cap’s shape at the same time. I know some people don’t like this fold, because it can cause the body of your cap to crease.
If you don’t have lots of space to store your caps individually, this is the best option.
Take care not to cram too many caps in at once, which hinders air flow and consequently damage the shape.
And again, don’t stack caps directly on top of each other. The safest containers to protect your cap’s shape and prevent mold are shallow, with only one layer of caps housed in each container. Or you can buy a box with an inbuilt removable shelf.