It’s not just clothing that needs special care when cleaning. The U.S. Flag occasionally needs a dusting off. There are a lot of rules regarding use and deployment of the U.S. Flag, but there are no rules against cleaning or washing it. If you are super curious about the rules, click here to read the details of US Code 36. They cover everything from hoisting to behavior while playing the national anthem. 

There are many conflicting opinions about the treatment of the American Flag. In summary, you should hoist and store your flag in such a way that it doesn’t get dirty. However, stains are inevitable. The only time a flag should be destroyed is when “it no longer represents a symbol of the United States.” In that case, the preferred method of destruction is burning. 

It is okay to clean the flag, and occasionally necessary. 

Cleaning The Flag

The Stars and Stripes are available in a multitude of varieties, configurations. Some have rope or tassels. Some are made of polyester, but cotton is traditional. Cotton can be easily machine washed, but flags with rope or tassels must be dry-cleaned. 

Wool flags should be dry-cleaned. Cotton flags can be hand washed in cold water with mild detergent. Gently rinse by hand and lay the flag out to dry – do not use a dryer! 

Cleaning By Hand

Perhaps the most efficient method for spot cleaning Old Glory is to simply lower it and try cleaning it by hand. 

Storing The Flag

If you are using plastic storage bags or bins, wash them thoroughly to remove any bugs or mold spores. Cleaning thoroughly and drying before use will save you time and effort later. It will keep your Flag protected and in good condition. 

Like other items made of cloth or fabrics, the Flag should be stored in a cool, dry place. Many experts suggest using mothballs to drive away insects or a dryer sheet to maintain freshness. Just remember that mothballs are dangerous if ingested (by pets or children). Some suggest using a chunk of cedar wood to freshen and drive away insects. Of course, there might be mold spores in the chunk of cedar – so use your best judgment when adding anything to your storage bins. 

Klinke’s Cleaners Dry-Cleans Flags Free

It’s true. We will clean flags that are for residential use only and are 4 x 6 or smaller for free. So, before you fly your Stars and Stripes, stop by Klinke Cleaners and we’ll get it looking top-notch for Flag Day!

Image credit: © Can Stock Photo Inc. / le_skills