Fabric Care for Signal Flags- Nylon or Poly/Cotton

This article is for those that have Signal Flags and want to know how to take care of them to make them last longer.  I put together a picture showing both a nylon signal flag and also a polyester/cotton flag below.

-Nylon Signal Flags-

US Flag Supply has some great tips and will add a few here. To read the entire article click here.

* Only flags made specifically for exterior use should be displayed outdoors.

* For the best results, do not expose your flag to rain, snow or abnormally high winds. These forces of nature can shorten its life considerably. Should the flag become wet, it should be spread out and allowed to dry completely. Do not fold or roll up a wet or damp flag.

* To keep its rich colors looking bright, clean your flag regularly before soiling and discoloration from dirt. Smoke, dust and other airborne contaminants “set” in the fabric. Outdoor flags can be hand washed with warm water and a mild soap, then rinsed thoroughly and spread out to dry. Do not let the flag stand in the wash water or you might experience some color “make off” into the white stripes.

* Do not place the flag where the wind will whip it against rough surfaces, tree branches, wires, cables, etc. The smallest tear can soon result in a tattered flag. Keep pole surfaces free of heavy dirt, rust, scale and corrosion that could damage your flag.

* Inspect your flag regularly for signs of wear. In particular, look for “normal wear” fabric or thread breaks which may occur in the “fly” end.  This is the end farthest from the staff. Trimming off and re-hemming torn or frayed ends will help extend the life of your flag.

-How Long Will a Nylon Flag Last?-

There is no exact answer. The U.S. Government generally expects a nylon or cotton flag to last 90 days based on being flown daily from sunrise to sunset – but not during periods of inclement weather. Tests have shown that, in some cases, a flag flown 24 hours a day will last only one-fourth as long as one flown only during the daylight hours.

-Polyester/Cotton Flags-

Unlike other flags we’ve seen, ours here at IB Designs, USA are individually machine stitched, using high-quality fabric.  Each flag is separate, and can be washed in cold water, preferably on a delicate setting.

The banners can be hung indoors or outdoors, but keep in mind that they’re not designed for long-term outdoor use.  Each flag has a solid white backing so they’re viewable from only the front.  The window valance flags can be easily slipped off the curtain rod for washing.

We use a fusing bond called Steam-A-Seam™ in some of our flags, and that company recommends that you don’t use a dryer sheet (e.g., Bounce) or other fabric softener.

You can wash or dry-clean our flags with no problem at all, just stay away from the fabric softener (it may loosen the bonding). Remember that every flag has its English-alphabet letter printed on the back of the casing, so you’ll always know what the flag pattern represents.

I have a valance in my living room that spells “Adventure”. It is now 2 years old and looks as good as the day we made it. With proper care your flags can last for years. There has not been any fading or bleeding with my valance. Here’s a picture of it.


3 thoughts on “Fabric Care for Signal Flags- Nylon or Poly/Cotton

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