A colorful flag is the perfect way to celebrate the season or simply the beauty of nature. Placed in your yard among the shrubs and flowers, these bits of bright fabric art brighten your home and make passersby smile.
Left too long on their own, however, yard flags can begin to look dingy, which lessens their attractiveness. We’ve got some tips on cleaning and maintaining your decorative garden flags.
Follow Care Instructions
One of the most important tips on how to clean and maintain your decorative garden flags is to read the care instructions! Our BreezeArt flags are machine washable in cold water and can be tumble dried on low, but this may not be the case with other brands.
Flags purchased elsewhere may have appliques or use layers of microfiber fabrics that require a different type of care. Check the labels to see if hand-washing is recommended. The label should also tell you whether you can put the flag in the dryer or if you need to hang it on the line.
Garden flags don’t typically need ironing, but if you feel you need to iron the flag, use the low, permanent-press setting.
Bring Your Flag in When Severe Weather Is Coming
Although your garden flag is made to last outdoors, severe weather can still cause damage. You wouldn’t leave your car out in a hailstorm, so don’t leave your flag in the yard when a storm is brewing.
Keep an eye on the forecast, and just as you plan to secure your patio furniture when storms arise, take steps to protect your garden flag. Remove it from its stand before it gets wet: strong winds can do more damage to wet flags, stressing the threads and fibers and causing tears.
Place Your Flag Carefully
Your garden flag should accent your front yard or flower garden. But that doesn’t mean you should place it near rosebushes, walls, shrubs, or low-hanging tree branches that could cause snags. Place your outdoor decorative flags where people can see them, but away from vegetation or structures that could damage them.
Mend Tears Immediately
The “fly” end of your flag (the bottom that waves freely in the breeze) can become frayed over time. Act soon to repair any minor tears or wear to your flag’s hem. Left unmended, the tears can grow until mending them would become so obvious that you wouldn’t want to display the flag anymore.
Prevent and Address Mold
The best strategy to cope with mold is to make sure it doesn’t form in the first place. Sunlight is the best preventative. High-quality flags like BreezeArt can endure bright sunshine without fading, but the best sun exposure would be what gardeners call “partial sun.” Place your flag in a spot where it will get several hours, but not a full day, of sunshine.
Your flag should also be resistant to mold and mildew, but mold loves moisture, so it’s important to keep your flag dry. Don’t let your flag get soaking wet in the rain. If it does, throw it in the dryer on low or allow it to dry on a flat surface—depending on the care instructions.
If your flag does develop mold stains, use a gentle bristle brush to remove as much of the mold as you can. Be sure to brush the flag outdoors so that you don’t spread mold spores around inside your home. Then, hang the flag in full sun for a few hours, and let the sun’s rays do their work, killing the mold.
If stains remain, wash your flag as outlined above. Then, gently dab the mold stains with distilled white vinegar, testing a small area first to make sure the vinegar doesn’t bleach the colors. You can dilute the vinegar with water to reduce the chance of damage to your flag’s colors.
Rinse the flag thoroughly again and dry it. This should remove existing mold stains and prevent more mold from forming in the future.
Keep Your Flag Stand Clean
We don’t often think about the flag poles or stands that support decorative garden flags. But it’s important to inspect your flag hardware for rust, dirt, or scaling. Keep your flagpole or flag stand in good shape with regular cleaning. Sand off rust or scaling and apply a coat of weather-protective paint or sealer that’s appropriate for your stand or flagpole’s type of metal.
Never Store a Wet Flag
When you bring your flag indoors, make sure it’s completely dry before storing it away for the season. Putting a flag away wet is an invitation for mold, mildew, and insects.
To store your flag, keep a supply of acid-free tissue paper on hand and save those cardboard tubes from holiday wrapping paper to use as rollers for your flag.
Place tissue on the flag that extends a few inches beyond the ends and keep a layer of tissue between the roller you’re using and the fabric. Make sure you use enough tissue to ensure the fabric you’re rolling doesn’t contact the remaining fabric as you roll it. The roll should end up with tissue along the entire surface of the dry flag, so it doesn’t directly touch itself or the cardboard tube you’re using as a roller. Tie the rolled flag with clean cotton twine to hold it in place around the roller.
If you have the closet space, you can carefully hang your flag from a skirt or trouser hanger. It’s best not to fold your flag, but if you must, use tissue between the folds and store the flag flat in a reusable plastic tub.
Keep a Backup
If you follow these tips for how to clean and maintain your decorative garden flags, your flag should last years. But even if it does, you might want to give it a rest occasionally or switch to a new flag that better reflects the time of year.
You’ll also need a backup to keep your garden bright when you take your flag in for repairs and cleaning. Having an extra flag or two means your garden needn’t remain “undressed” without its decorative flag while you’re cleaning or mending the flag that has been outside for a while. Switching your flags throughout the year will also help them last even longer!