How to Keep Old Glory Looking Her Best
Author: Paul Mackenda
She's a Grand Old Flag-Keep Her Looking That Way
Our flag is the symbol of our nation and its history, so
our government has put into place some laws that govern
how it is treated and cared for. This is an important idea,
yet most people, even if they've flown it for many years,
don't know proper ways to keep, store and treat the flag.
Depending on the material that it's made out of, some flags
nowadays can be machine washed. It also depends on its
overall condition. For older flags, hand-washing, however,
is generally recommended. Washing machine agitators may
cause damage to an older flag.If you wash the flag by hand,
use a mild detergent such as Woolite. Also make sure to
remove the flag from the water as soon as it's clean.
Soaking the flag may cause the colors to run and bleed
into each other. Dry the flag flat in a warm area. Find a
large are to spread it out in. But the most preferred
method of cleaning the flag is to dry clean it. Since this
is also the most expensive, due to the size of most flags,
you may want to save money by washing it. But to keep it
looking good, and make sure that it lasts a long time, be
sure that take the trouble to wash it properly.
American flags that are in disrepair should be retired and
no longer flown. Depending upon the extent of the damage,
however, you may be able to perform repairs on your own. If
there are small imperfections, sewing on a patch of the
same color and texture of the fabric is permitted. These
can be purchased in either the Fabric department of a local
department store or through a merchant that specifically
deals in selling fabrics. For flags that have larger areas
of damage or fraying around the edges, the proper steps
should be taken to dispose of them and replacement flags
should be purchased.
Exposing it to the elements is one of the fastest ways to
ruin a flag. The flag will be whipped about and become
shredded if you fly the flag in bad weather with snow,
rain, sleet, hail or high winds hitting it constantly. The
sun can do a great deal of damage by bleaching out the
colors, even in good weather. Bring the flag in whenever
bad weather threatens, if you can. If it does get wet,
bring it in and drape it in an open area to dry thoroughly.
Remember to keep it from touching the ground, when you are
doing this. The American flag is never permitted to touch
the ground, unless it has been retired the ashes are
being buried, according to our laws.
If you fly your flag near trees, shrubs and other
obstructions or right next to your house, your flag may be
easily damaged. Take care the the flag will not be whipping
against the house or the trees or shrubs. Mount your flag
on a pole that's away from the house and landscaping is the
best way you can do this. Or, use a stanchion type flag
pole away from the house, branches and wires.
You must make sure that it is completely dry before you
store the American flag, then fold it in its proper format
and place it in a flag case or protective wrap. All flags
should be stored in a cool, dry, dark location. Then they
will always look fresh and nice for use in the future. A
flag display in a special flag case is the best condition
for storage, but this is usually for ceremonial flags.
Always remember that the American flag is special and
should be treated as such. From general upkeep, to
cleaning, to storage, Old Glory deserves only the best,
and the law requires that proper respect be shown at all
About the author
Paul Mackenda operates the website Flag Si, inc. which a site dedicated to researching flag related topics and contains all the very latest flag news and views. For more details please visit http://www.flagsi.com.
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