Proper Care of Your Flag

propercareimage1There’s a special excitement in bringing a new flag to display outside your home. Mr. Ed’s wants to share some tips on how to care for and maximize the life of your new flag.

Flying your flag  –   Wind, Water & Sun

Your nylon flag was made to fly outdoors. Just keep in mind the three assailants of outdoor flags are wind, water and sun.

While outdoor flags can take the wind, use common sense when it comes to strong winds, heavy rain and snow in which each, or any combination, can damage your flag. Take the flag down in storms or with wind in excess of 35 mph. Do not place the flag where the wind will whip it against tree branches, wires, cables and rough surfaces. Even the smallest tear can soon result in a tattered flag.

There are no warranties for strong wind damage to your flag or flagpole.

If your flag should be caught out in the rain, take it down as soon as possible to spread out and hang until completely dry. Never roll up, fold or put away your flag if it is wet or damp. Wet flags will mildew which ruins the fabric.

Conversely, that bright sun which so beautifully illuminates your flag can also cause fading. Even durable nylon material exposed to long amounts of direct sunlight will inevitably start to fade. When not using your flag, keep it stored in a dark environment. There are fabric guards you can buy with UV protection. Be sure to read and follow their instructions for use on your flag.

Indoor flags are not meant to be flown outdoors nor exposed to outdoor sun, wind and rain.

Flag Wear  –   Fraying, Tearing and Hems

Over time all outdoor flags will begin to fray and wear. It’s a good practice to examine your flag once a month for signs of wear. The first place to look is the fly end of the flag. This is the end opposite of the grommets and typically the first place to show signs of wear and fraying. Examine the flag’s grommets as well for any fraying. The good news is that frays can be easily cut off and trimmed before causing more damage to your flag.

Another sign of wear is any separation in your flag’s hem. You can re-hem your flag by stitching or by using a strong adhesive such as Super Glue or Krazy Glue. If you’re using an adhesive it’s best use a test area on the flag that will not be easily noticed. This allows you to try the glue and be sure it does not discolor the flag material before using on the hem.

Keeping Your Flag Clean  –   Proper methods to clean and drypropercareimage2

Keep your flags away from petroleum and chemicals which will damage the material. You’ll want to keep your flagpole surfaces clean from dirt, rust, scale and corrosion that can discolor a flag. But being exposed to the outdoor elements your flag will get soiled and discolored from dust, smoke and other airborne contaminants. To keep its rich colors looking bright, clean your flag regularly, before dirt sets in the fabric.

You can wash nylon flags in warm water within the sink using a mild detergent followed by a good rinsing out. Do not keep your flag sitting long in water which may cause its color to run. Hang your flag to air dry, even outside if it is a calm day. Never use a washer or dryer for your flag.

Cotton and polyester Indoor flags should be dry cleaned only, never washed.

You can scotch guard your flag for additional protection of your material. Start with a test area of the flag, not easily seen, to be sure the scotch guard will not damage the material. Every flag, homeowner and outdoor scenario is different, so it’s impossible to accurately determine how long an outdoor flag will last.. With good judgment and proper care, you can extend the life, investment and enjoyment of your outdoor flag.

Special Precautions for U.S. Flags

When transporting, raising or lowering the United States Flag, it should never touch the ground. If your U.S. Flag touches the the ground, it should be raised immediately and cleaned.

If you wish to fly the U.S. Flag at night, the flag needs to be well-lighted. For additional tips on proper etiquette with the U.S. Flag see the article Respectfully Displaying the U.S. Flag

Posted in U.S. Flag Etiquette
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