With the right techniques, you can easily extend the life of your flag. Whether you are flying the Australian national flag, the Aboriginal flag, your state or territory flag, or something completely different, there are ways to preserve and protect it. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Make sure the flag flies without obstruction.
Whether you are hanging your flag on your house or on a flagpole, you need to make sure it can fly free of obstructions. If using a pole, check that the clips don't have any sharp edges that may cut or damage your flag, and if you are hanging your flag on your house, make sure that there are no gutters, fence posts or anything else in the way.
Keep in mind that even if your flag doesn't rip, simply hitting the same object repeatedly can start to wear down its fibers.
2. Wash your flag carefully.
If you fly your flag every day, you need to make sure that you have a cleaning routine for it. Dust, salt from the ocean, pollution or other elements can dirty your flag, and over time, those contaminants can start to break down your flag's material.
Wash your flag by hand with warm water and a gentle laundry detergent to keep it clean and in good order. If you have an antique flag, do not wash it. Instead, vacuum it gently. Consult with a flag preservationist or a professional flag business, like Carroll & Richardson, if you are unsure which cleaning technique is right for your flag.
3. Monitor flag for rips.
When you wash your flag, take a minute to look it over for rips or tears. A professional seamstress can help you fix tears and stop fraying. However, the longer you wait to get a repair, the harder and more expensive it becomes.
4. Store your flag carefully.
If you only use your flag on special occasions, you need a safe place to store it. Avoid sunny places where your flag can get bleached or damaged by sunlight. Also, avoid humid areas where your flags could become wet, moldy or mildewy.
Ideally, you want to store your flag in a cool, humidity-controlled area. Storing it flat is the best option for avoiding creases, but if that's not possible, use thin sheets of unbleached cotton between the folded layers of your flag. That gives your flag an extra level of protection from running colours or sharp creases.