When flying a banner or flag outside your business or home, it’s important to know how to protect it against the elements and ensure it looks sharp and crisp for as long as possible. Not only will the following tips save you money when it comes to premature replacement, but proper care is also a sign of respect for the flags that you choose to display.
No matter if you are caring for flagpole flags, banners, or other types of display flags, the steps outlined below will help you preserve the life of your flag for as long as possible.
Consider the Material
Not all materials wear the same when it comes to flags. Most flags are made from polyester, nylon, or cotton, and each has its benefits and shortcomings. Many of these pros and cons have to do with wear and the weather, so choosing the best material for your location is the first thing you can do to care for your flag properly.
For example, nylon is considered an all-weather, durable material. This is best for continued outdoor use, although if harsh weather sets in you should still bring it inside. Polyester is best suited for areas with high winds since it’s usually heavier. Cotton is the most delicate of the three, likely to be damaged by continued winds and often fades more quickly in the sun.
While some materials may be better suited to certain environments, it’s still important to take down your flag and store it properly if the weather is going to be worse than usual. Your flag may normally do fine in occasional wind but taking it down during a hurricane is a good idea.
Pay Attention to the Weather
The weather is one of the most significant factors that affect the condition of your flag. While the occasional rainstorm can be tolerated, you really shouldn’t expose the material of your flag to extensive periods of inclement weather.
To be safe, take it down when you expect abnormally strong winds, heavy rain, snow, and other harsh conditions.
Yes, you can clean your outdoor flag, and no, you shouldn’t throw it into your washing machine with your usual laundry. Most flags can be washed by hand with a mild detergent, which is the best option.
One of the main reasons for avoiding the washing machine is that you never want to let your flag soak in water. This can cause colors to run.
For drying, make sure to lay your flag out flat without folding or creasing.
Treating for Damage
Always inspect the material routinely, maybe every couple of months, since catching minor loose hem or a hole early prevents a catastrophe later (on a gusty day). You’ll want to inspect your flag after you experience harsh conditions in your area as well.
If you notice any fraying or tearing, it should be taken down immediately. Not only is it disrespectful to display a damaged flag, but it could also cause further damage to occur.
For smaller flags, if you’re not too confident with a needle and thread, then a tailor or dry cleaner will be able to conduct the repairs. For very large flags, they can often be sent away to the manufacturer for repairs.
Proper Handling and Storage
You may need to take your banner or flag inside and store it from time to time. Proper handling and storage of a flag can depend on what type you have. United States flags, for example, have an official code which you can refer to for specific instructions on how it should be displayed, taken down, and stored.
When it comes to storing your flag, you should choose a cool, dark, dry place. This will keep the colors preserved and prevent mold from growing on the material. Otherwise, you might expect spots to form, odors, and a lot more cleaning to do than necessary.
As an extra measure, you can even wrap your flag around a cardboard tube and secure it gently with a cotton thread. This will help eliminate any creases or lines when you take it out again.
Consider the Flag Pole
If you choose to display your flag on a metal flag pole rather than one on the side of your home or business, there are specific things you should keep in mind.
Non-tangle flag pole spinners are necessary to ensure your flag doesn’t end up twisted around the flag pole. Not only does this not look especially patriotic, but it can also cause damage to the material.
With proper care and maintenance, your flag will last much longer. Take the oldest flag in the United States known as the Byfield Flag as an example, which, while certainly well-worn, still exists because specialists have preserved its integrity for centuries.
Remember to invest in some non-tangle pole spinners, handle and store properly, treat for damage if needed, clean occasionally, and consider the weather and materials used; you’ll be surprised how long your flag lasts.