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What Causes American Flags to Fade? Here’s What You Should Know

What Causes American Flags to Fade?

American flags aren’t immune to fading. While available in a variety of materials, they can lose their original depth of color over time. Rather than featuring bright red and white horizontal lines, for instance, an American flag may feature duller red stripes and faded blue canton. What causes American flags to fade exactly? Below are some of the most common causes of fading.

Washing With Hot Water

Exposure to hot water is a common cause of fading. If you wash your American flag with hot water, it may begin to fade. Hot water is a leading cause of fading for most materials. Whether you wash a t-shirt with hot water or your American flag with hot water, it may result in fading. Hot water encourages the release of dye. As the dye is released from your American flag, it may develop a duller and more faded tone. You can still wash your American flag, but consider using cold water to protect it from fading

Bleach

Bleach can cause your American flag to fade. Bleach is a powerful cleaning chemical. While it’s typically safe for all-white clothes and garments, you shouldn’t use it on colored materials. The American flag, of course, is colored. While it contains white in its design, the American flag features red and blue as well. Therefore, you shouldn’t use bleach on it. Washing your American flag with just a capful of bleach may cause it to fade.

Instead of bleach,  try washing your American flag with a small amount of distilled white vinegar. Vinegar will help to remove stains while also protecting the color of your American flag. And unlike bleach, vinegar won’t cause your American flag to fade.

UV Exposure

Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light can cause your American flag to fade. Sunlight is a form of UV light. If you’re going to display your American flag outdoors, it will inevitably be exposed to UV light. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to bring your American flag indoors. You should, however, take precautions to protect it from UV-related fading.

Some American flags are designed with a protective UV coating. They feature an invisible layer that blocks UV light. With a UV-protected American flag, you can display it outdoors without fear of it fading. Protective UV coatings are available for nylon and polyester American flags. You can choose an American flag made of either of these materials, and as long as it has a UV coating, it won’t fade from sun exposure.

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