Swim caps are the most frequently-replaced pieces of swim gear, mainly because they simply can't last more than a few months. After all the stretching, pulling, and chlorine/sunlight exposure they see, the material simply breaks down. However, there are a few easy steps you can take to extend the life of your cap.
While Wearing the Swim Cap
Remove any clips or bobby pins from your hair when wearing a swim cap. The sharp metal ends and edges can puncture your cap. If you need to adjust your cap, use your fingertips — not your fingernails — to pull it into place.
Rinse your cap off in non-chlorinated water, and then dry the cap off gently with a towel or allow it to hang dry. You can sprinkle talcum or baby powder inside the cap and distribute it evenly — this absorbs moisture that can otherwise lead to bacteria growth and keeps the cap from sticking to itself (not necessary for LYCRA™ or mesh caps). Between uses, keep the cap in a case or a soft compartment of your bag to protect it from sharp objects.
When to Buy a New Cap
With proper care, caps can survive many months of regular use, but those that develop stretched-out areas or small holes will need a replacement soon. The wear areas get bigger each time you put the cap on. Once a cap starts to stick to itself, has black mold spots, or discoloration, it is time to replace it.