Stars and Stripes . . . Clean and Bright

— Written By N.C. Cooperative Extension

From Flag Day through Columbus Day, June to October is flag-flying season. Whether your American flag has been flying all summer long, or has just made a Columbus Day appearance, The Soap and Detergent Association has some tips for giving Old Glory the care it deserves.

  • Mount the flag where it can fly free and unencumbered. If it flutters or waves against another surface (tree, gutter, fence, house, etc.), it’ll wear out faster.
  • Check for rips and tears. Periodic checking and prompt repair will help prolong its life.
  • If the flag is displayed indoors or in a sheltered location, vacuum it periodically to remove dust and loose dirt. To do this, spread the flag out on a flat surface (but not on the ground – touching the ground is considered disrespectful to the flag). Cover the vacuum’s brush attachment with a piece of cheesecloth and then gently pat the fabric to remove the particles.

         If the flag is stained or dirty, it should be dry cleaned or gently washed by hand. For most fabrics, dry cleaning is the preferred method. Many drycleaners will clean a U.S. flag free of charge or at a nominal charge.

  • If you decide to hand wash your flag, fill a wash basin or sink with cool water and a mild detergent. Gently scrub any spots or stains. Rinse thoroughly. Lay it out flat to dry. If desired, the flag can be ironed. Just be sure it doesn’t touch the ground during the drying or the ironing process.

When a flag is so worn that it’s no longer serviceable, be sure that it’s destroyed in a dignified manner. Most American Legion posts regularly conduct a flag-burning ceremony. Locally, American Legion Post 379 at Maxwell’s Mill provides this service. Some Boy Scout troops and Girl Scout troops also retire flags regularly. Contact your local Scout troop to inquire about the availability of this service.

Source: Soap & Detergent Association

North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University

commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity

regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, age, or

disability.  In addition, the two Universities welcome all persons without

regard to sexual orientation, North Carolina State University, North

Carolina A&T State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local

governments cooperating.