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Army Flight Cap - clean or leave it alone?

Started by viking73 , May 16 2018 05:31 PM

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#1 viking73

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 05:31 PM

Hi,

 

I just picked up this army flight school cap from the early 1960s.  It's got some pretty bad sweat stains as you can see from the photos.

 

Should I try and clean this or just leave it alone?  I think I read that the bills of most older caps (1960s and earlier) are made of cardboard.  If I soak this cap I'm afraid I'd ruin it.

 

Does anyone here have any experience or tips dealing with old baseball type caps?  I'd like to clean this one up but don't want to take the chance of destroying it.

 

Thanks in advance,

 

-Derek

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#2 viking73

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 05:32 PM

Here's a shot of the inside.  As you can see, there is also some staining on the rear of the cap.

 

-Derek

 

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#3 72psb

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 06:28 PM

Derek.

Try and find some old caps that appear to be the same construction.Experiment a little. I think a soft tooth brush with a mild detergent(Woollite)and minimal water,working in a small area might work.No running water but wet blotting.

Neat hat,goes well with collection.

Bob

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#4 manayunkman

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 06:37 PM

Dry cleaning fluid but it's hard to find..

 

Once you get the hat wet the water will seep into it lifting the dirt and depositing it in bands.

 

Would be better to get the whole thing wet and let it soak which would lift the dirt out.

 

I cleaned German uniforms by soaking them.



#5 gwb123

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 07:44 PM

Be careful about soaking.  Some of the older caps had bills that were stiffened with cardboard.  Cardboard does not do well in water.

 

These do not seem to come up very often, so I would be careful with it.



#6 Bluehawk

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Posted 17 May 2018 - 04:48 AM

I may be getting too far down in the weeds on this, but... for the sake of discussion:

 

Based on what I can see, since it is not possible to hold the artifact in person myself, I am thinking maybe the major stain on the bill and back of the cap might not entirely be sweat? It may be a bit of sweat, mixed with a petroleum product, aviation fuel perhaps. For example, on some aircraft there is/was a walk-around inspection step which involves bleeding off possible water in fuel lines/tanks through a petcock underneath wings... more than once the wind or me placing my face too close to that procedure ended up getting stuff where it wasn't ideally supposed to go.

 

The inner sweat band should, it seems to me, evidence a LOT more sweat stain for sweat to have migrated so thoroughly out onto the bill, from what I can see there. That sweat band just doesn't seem to show evidence of very much actual sweat?

 

The black, or dark, stain on the back of the cap looks like, almost exactly, the kind of crud I got on my own mechanic's cap just from having greasy hands and pulling back on it to get it away from my eyes during maintenance.

 

Maybe not a big huge deal, of course, but there is a world of solvent difference between removing sweat and removing petroleum crud.

 

Also, what Gil said about the probability of the bill being made of cardboard seems very high, so it could easily fall apart or come to pieces with enough moisture involved. If the bill can be bent or curled and holds its shape, then it is probably cardboard. If it is made of some sort of plastic or phenolic, then it will resist being curled more.


Edited by Bluehawk, 17 May 2018 - 04:50 AM.


#7 Patchcollector

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Posted 17 May 2018 - 05:47 AM

If it were mine I think that I would just leave it as is.Like you stated,those old caps probably aren't the best quality.The color may even run.IMO the cap has that "been there,done that" look that adds character.



#8 manayunkman

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Posted 17 May 2018 - 08:25 AM

If it were mine I wouldn't do anything to it either.

 

True that on the cap's bill.



#9 viking73

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Posted 17 May 2018 - 07:37 PM

Thanks for all the comments gents, I do appreciate it.

 

I think I will leave this cap alone and not do anything that might damage it.  That seems the best thing to do in this case.

 

-Derek




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