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How to Wash a Polyester Flag in a Washing Machine

Laundry is an everyday chore, but washing a polyester flag may not be something you’ve ever done before. Yet, if the need arises, you’ll need to know how to get the job done. After all, flags have sentimental and symbolic value for many. The last thing you want is to ruin the flag through improper washing. 

Read on to learn how to properly wash a polyester flag in a washing machine.

How to Wash a Polyester Flag in a Washing Machine

Getting Started

To get started, let’s think about the circumstances when you’ll want to wash a polyester flag in a washing machine. Some minor stains or dust can be quickly washed by hand, but that’s not always enough. If the flag has been proudly flapping in the wind outside for a while, it’s likely that it has accumulated a decent amount of dirt.

Beautiful and elegant silk concept

The good news is that polyester is durable, which is great news for flags. It also means that the flag can handle a trip through the washing machine without much concern. But don’t do it recklessly. There are still steps to follow to make sure the flag comes out looking as good as new.

The Steps

Now, let’s look at the steps for properly washing a polyester flag without diminishing its appearance.

1. Read the Care Label

Before you do anything, check if there’s a care label on the flag. That might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s something people often overlook. Most polyester flags might have similar washing instructions, but it’s still worth confirming. The care label should give you specific instructions, like water temperature. Still, even if your flag doesn’t have a label, don’t worry. The general advice here will steer you in the right direction.

2. Prepare Your Flag for the Wash

First, remove the hardware from your flag. Metallic elements can damage the washing machine and even the flag itself during the cycle. So, remove things like hooks, clips, or any metal parts, even if they’re small.

Red flag collage on blank photo

Next, give the flag a good shake to remove any loose dirt or debris. Of course, the washing will remove stains and caked-in dirt, but chunky debris shouldn’t go into the washing machine. If there are persistent spots or stains on the flag, you might want to treat these areas with a gentle stain remover before washing. Just make sure the product is safe for use on polyester.

3. Choose the Right Settings (And Cleaners)

Polyester may be sturdy, but it’s not indestructible. Above all else, a flag must look pristine, with vibrant colors. Gentle washing is the way to go for a polyester flag. Set the washing machine to a gentle cycle, preferably with cold water or on fairly low temperature. Hot water can be harsh on polyester and might also make the colors bleed or shrink the fabric. Add a mild, color-safe detergent without harsh chemicals that could damage the fabric or fade the color of the flag. 

Steer clear of chlorine-based bleach or fabric softeners. Bleach is clearly a bad choice – it will dull the colors and could even damage the fabric. It may be tempting to use a small amount for particularly tough stains, but it’s a better idea to find a more color-safe stain remover or wash the flag multiple times until the stain disappears. Softeners aren’t quite as bad as bleach. But they can also be a bit too harsh, so think whether a little extra softness and pleasant scent is worth it. Instead of these, look for “gentle” or “for sensitive skin” detergents.

4. Dry the Flag

Naturally, once the wash cycle ends, the flag has to dry out. The best way to dry it is with good old fresh air. A dryer might be fine, but air drying is safer. If you have the space, hang the flag up outside on a dry, sunny day. The flag will dry quickly with fresh air and sunlight, and it could even get rid of any lingering odors.

Various sizes shapes pennants banners flags white blank hanging and on pole stands realistic set illustration

If drying outside won’t work because it’s too cold or raining, that’s alright. You can still dry it inside. Find a well-ventilated area away from direct heat sources that could harm the flag. For example, avoid putting it on a radiator, regardless of how tempting it might be. The same goes for the tumble dryer. If you have to do so, it won’t instantly destroy the flag. But the heat can be harsh on the polyester, so only use a tumble dryer as a last resort.

5. Ironing (If Necessary)

After the flag dries, it might have a few wrinkles that need flattening. If you have to iron the polyester flag, set the iron to low heat. Iron on the reverse side of the flag. This way, you’ll protect the color and pattern on the front from the heat of the iron. If you’re worried about damaging it with the heat anyway, you can also place a thin but sturdy cloth between the flag and the iron. 

Red and black banners and triangle pennants

Wash Your Flag With Care

Washing a polyester flag properly keeps it looking its best and proudest for many years to come. Flags are sentimental and meaningful. That’s why we treasure them. If you didn’t feel passionate about your country, sports team, or club, you wouldn’t have bought a flag that represents it, right? Taking care of it shows respect and pride. Plus, it’s a pretty satisfying feeling to see your flag flying high and looking flawless, even after a good wash. Luckily, washing a flag isn’t too complicated, but taking the time to do it right can make all the difference.

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