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Maybe You Don’t Know It Yet: How To Wash An American Flag


Exhibiting the flags outside on a sunny or rainy day can make it dirty. Besides, exposing a dirty flags is bad etiquette, and it makes your house look unpleasant. In fact, dust speeds up the deterioration of the flags, so washing them is actually recommended. The issue is that the American flags can be difficult to clean. If not handled carefully, bright red and dark blue dyes can easily bleed into white areas. If you wash your American flags properly, it will last for many years. You will always be willing to show your patriotism on special and significant occasions. But with our experience, washing US flags can be much easier for you. Hence, this post will guide you on how to wash an American flag.

Before washing flags, assess their material, as various fabrics demand different cleaning methods. Outdoor flags are often made of nylon or polyester, however, cotton or wool is occasionally used. On your flags, check for labels or tags that give information on the fabric as well as for instructions on how to properly wash them.

Test Your Flag

If you are unclear whether the fabric of your flags is colorfast, test it before washing. To begin, wet a cotton swab and gently slide the tip over the colored portion of the flags. If any dye gets on the cotton swab that means the colors may bleed when washed. In this situation, it is advisable to dry clean or hand wash to avoid damage, or simply buy a new one.

how to wash an american flag

Proper Way To Wash Your Flag

Washing flags with a washing machine, by hand, or in a laundry are the three most common methods.

Wash By Washing Machine

Wash your flags in the washing machine on a gentle cycle with cold water and light soap, ensuring sure it doesn’t rest for too long or the color may bleed.

Wash By Hand

For flags made from natural fabrics, especially cotton and wool. To avoid discoloration, gently hand washes them with hydrogen peroxide and cold water. Then, leave them to soak for at least four hours after submerging it.

Wash In A Laundry

Take your flags to a good laundry if you are concerned about its longevity or how to wash them. Dry cleaning is a suitable alternative to indoor ones. Many people are ready to wash the American flag for free or at a discount, especially around patriotic holiday.

Wash American Flag


  • Avoid using a dryer: Don’t dry the flags since excessive heat can quickly damage them. Rather, hang or lie flat to dry. To get rid of creases, use a cold iron.
  • Always keep the edge dry: It is critical to keep the edge dry. If the edges become wet, the color may begin to bleed and ruin the remainder of the flags. If the edge is damp, put them flat on a towel to dry properly.

Tips To Keep Your American Flag Looking Good For A Long Time

  • Bring the flags inside when it’s pouring or snowing.
  • If flags become wet, lay them out carefully and allow them to dry entirely. A wet or damp flag should never be folded or rolled up
  • You should never place flags directly in front of the dryer.
  • Before storing the flags, make sure they are thoroughly dry.
  • Always refer to the care tag for material information and washing recommendations. If there are no cards, you may have to wash the flags yourself.
  • Consider putting your favorite flags in a collection instead of hanging them at the flagpole indefinitely.

Repair Your Flag

If your flags are in good shape overall but have a slight rip, you can fix them. However, your patch should be barely noticeable. Furthermore, you should not make major changes to the size of the flags throughout the repair process.

Federal law enforcement authorities set the size criteria for flags. According to these rules, the length of flags must be 1.9 times their width. If you are concerned that you will not be able to, take the damaged flags to a skilled tailor or conservator if they are second-hand ones.

If the flags are damaged or tattered beyond repair and is no longer suitable for display, they should be disposed of in a polite and dignified way. The best way is to burn them.

fly american flag

Store Your Flag

If you have a vintage flag or one that you just use once in a while, appropriate care will keep it in good shape.

Modern flags should be rolled up in a long cardboard mailing tube or a PVC circular tube to avoid wrinkling. Secure it with a cotton cord and store it in a basic cotton cloth to keep it clean.

To prevent seams or fabric strain, vintage flags should be completely cleaned and stored flat. Next, roll the flags around the acid-free tissue paper-lined mailing tube. To prevent dust from accumulating on the fabric, cover with cotton or felt cloth. Flags should be kept out of direct sunlight and away from areas with high temperatures and humidity levels, as these will weaken and mold the fabric. If you want to frame or display flags in a cabinet, use UV-reducing glass to protect the colors.


Washing flags is a very important part of the patriotic duty of showing you are an American. When you care and keep it properly, your flags will last longer. However, flags require special care and cleaning. I believe that the above guidelines help you in washing an American flag.

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