Flying the American flag is a simple, yet meaningful, way to celebrate the nation and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect it. But just as important as flying our symbol of freedom is properly maintaining it season after season.

Whether cleaning, storing, or disposing of the American flag, it needs to be treated with care and respect at every step. While following flag etiquette guidelines can seem daunting, taking just a few extra minutes to follow them helps connect you to what the flag represents.

When cleaning your flag – The majority of home-flown flags are now made of synthetic materials like polyester or nylon. If your flag becomes dingy, dusty, or pollen-covered, simply hand wash it with cool water and a gentle detergent such as Woolite and then hang on a rack to drive. As the red may bleed onto the white, avoid soaking the flag for a long period of time. If your flag is cotton or wood or is adorned with tassels or other embellishments, it’s best to take it to your local dry cleaner – in fact, many will clean your flag at no cost.

When storing your flag – If you choose to fly your flag only on patriotic holidays, it’s tempting to simply fold up the flag like a towel or other linen and store it in your garage or basement until its next flight. However, proper etiquette states that the flag should be folded into a triangle with the blue stars visible and placed in a wooden box or protective plastic bag when not in use. The American Legion website features step-by-step tips for the proper folding and storage of the flag.

When disposing of your flag – A flag that’s worn, faded or tattered should not be on display. If your Old Glory is past its prime and can’t be repaired, skip the trash can and instead offer it to a local Boy Scout Troop, The American Legion, Elks Club, or Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) who will burn it with honor during a special ceremony.

While you may not need an expert like Annointed Hands to care for your flag, we can help you get ready for your upcoming Fourth of July bash and other celebrations this summer! Learn more about our services by checking out our Residential Cleaning page or contact us directly for your free, no-obligation housekeeping quote.