Preserve an Autograph on Your Shirt or Hat

sports autograph
Tim Clayon / Corbis Sport / Getty Images

The thrill of getting that autograph from your favorite race car driver, sports star or entertainment icon on a shirt or hat can last much longer if you give it a bit of care.

Tips For Getting The Best Autograph

The key to making an autograph on a shirt or cloth hat last as long as possible is to plan ahead. If you hope to get an autograph on something you're wearing, choose a 100 percent cotton or linen shirt or hat.

A natural fiber fabric will absorb ink better than a synthetic fiber fabric like polyester. Next tip, have the signer use a permanent ink marker like a Sharpie. A marker used to label laundry is even better. The ink is made to be permanent ink on fabric. Take the marker with you so you'll be prepared. Most "stars" don't carry one around!

How To Preserve An Autograph On Clothes

Whatever pen is used, allow the ink to dry completely and protect the fabric from additional moisture and stains. As soon as possible, you need to set the ink by using the heat of an iron.

Using an ironing board or firm surface, place a clean white cotton pressing cloth over the signature and iron at the highest temperature acceptable for the fabric type. Use a dry iron - no steam - and press for at least one minute. Do not rub, lift the iron up and down over the signature applying firm pressue.

It is best to skip washing the fabric unless you want to wear the shirt or hat again.

When you are ready to wash the garment, turn it inside out. Use only warm or cold water and a gentle detergent. It can be dried in the dryer or hung to dry.

Hats should be spot cleaned or hand washed following these tips.

With a bit of care, you'll keep the autograph and relive the memories for years to come.