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How to Clean the American Flag

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Most American households are outfitted with at least one American flag. Some choose to display their flags proudly on their front lawns, others may use them in the house, and others may have flags put into storage for safekeeping. If you like to display an American flag outside, the elements can take their toll on Old Glory and everyone knows it’s disrespectful to fly a dirty flag. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to burn every dirty flag, washing is perfectly acceptable, but you can’t just toss your flag into the wash.

You should be careful in how you wash your flag as different fabrics call for different techniques. Let’s learn some tips on washing different types of American flags so you can get yours back on your pole and waving for all.

Tips for Cleaning the American Flag

Dry cleaning garments

Natural Fabrics

High-quality flags and older flags tend to be constructed from natural fabrics, mostly cotton but sometimes wool. Throwing these fabrics in the wash may bleed their color so natural fabric American flags should be taken to the dry-cleaner for a spot cleaning or full-scale wash. Dry cleaners will avoid using detergents or solvents (like water) that will age or fade the fabric.

Synthetic Fabrics

Synthetic flags include polyester, nylon, and are often touted as ‘all-weather flags.” You can wash synthetic flags yourself by hand or in a machine set on gentle setting. Use a mild detergent and cold water and watch for bleeding. Once your flags are washed hang them to air dry. The high heat of a clothes dryer, even on low settings, can cause the fabric of synthetic flags to peel and fade. If the fabric is wrinkled, you can press with an iron on the lowest setting.

A Note About Worn-Out Flags: Flags that are simply a little dirty should be cleaned, but flags that have reached the end of their useful life should be properly disposed of. Contact your local Boy Scout Troop or VFW post for instructions for what you should do to properly retire your worn-out flag.

With these tips you can have a bright new flag that’s ready to make the whole neighborhood proud during flag holidays or any day. A bright waving flag will easily make you proud to live in our country.

Special thanks to Paradise Cleaners, Denver dry cleaning‘s leading service for all your garments and more.

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Melissa Popp is Director of Digital Engagement for Altitude SEO, a boutique agency helping small businesses win with content online. As a digital strategist with a passion for technology and travel, she coaches her partners to connect with their audience through experience optimization, with the goal of retaining more loyal visitors, creating brand ambassadors, and increasing conversion goals. She can be found online writing for About Travel, TechNorms, and The Emmys. Past clients include Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, and Samsung.