Consisting of 13 stripes and 50 stars, the American flag is synonymous with freedom and independence. As a result, millions of proud Americans choose to display it in front of their home or business. When the American flag isn’t being displayed, however, it should be properly stored. So, what’s the right way to store an American flag?
Prior to storing your American flag, it’s a good idea to clean it. When flown outdoors for multiple consecutive months, it will likely accumulate dirt and dust. To ensure this dirt and dust doesn’t settle deep into the fabric — which may cause permanent staining — you need to clean your American flag before storing it.
You can check out this previous blog post for more information on how to clean your American flag. With that said, many owners prefer to spot clean their American flag with warm water and mild dish soap. Just get a damp washcloth, add a small amount of mild dish soap, and scrub the surface of your American flag until it’s clean. Assuming your American flag isn’t made of a delicate fabric, you can clean it in the washing machine instead. Regardless, it’s important to clean your American flag before storing it.
After cleaning your American flag, you should fold it. Simply tossing your American flag into a closet won’t work. Not only is it poor etiquette, it encourages permanent creases and wrinkles to form. You can prevent problems such as these from occurring, however, by folding your American flag.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a free guide on how to properly fold the American flag. It involves just six steps, at which point your American flag will be folded into the shape of a triangle. Although there are other ways to fold the American flag, this has become the preferred method used in the government as well as the military.
Avoid Direct Sunlight
When choosing an area in which to store your American flag, make sure it’s not directly exposed to sunlight. What’s wrong with sunlight exactly? Sunlight contains ultraviolet (UV) that can degrade the American flag. If exposed to sunlight for a long period of time, your American flag may fade to a lighter color. Therefore, you shouldn’t store it in a sunny area, such as in front of a window. Instead, choose a dark, well-ventilated area in which to store your American flag.