Winter is here, which means taking extra preventative measures to maintain our health, homes, cars, etc. Don’t let the harsh winter month affect your flag by skipping out on maintenance during these cold months. Did you know that precipitation and high winds can reduce your flag’s durability and cause damage to your flagpole? Follow these flag care tips to prepare your flags and flagpoles for the winter:
- Buy Polyester: Winter damage to flags can be lessened by switching your flag material. Polyester flag fabric can be more winterproof than nylon flag fabric. If you are flying a nylon flag, you may want to switch your flag material to polyester around this time of year. While nylon is a relatively soft cloth, polyester flags are more durable and wind resistant. We do not recommend cotton flags or polyester flags for residential wall mounted flagpoles.
- Downsize Your Flag: If you live in a place that experiences high winds during the winter, you may want to consider flying a flag that is one size smaller. A smaller flag size puts less stress on your flagpole and makes it easier to maintain.
- Replace Flagpole Parts: Are your flagpole and flagpole parts (such as halyard, snaps, and trucks) in good shape? If your flagpole parts are wearing, you may want to consider replacing them. Keeping old parts that are worn out causes damage to your flagpole. You may also want to consider replacing nylon snaps with zinc snaps. To learn more about flagpole parts and components, check out our Flagpole Terms blog.
- Bring It In. If you expect severe weather conditions such as storms, bring the flag inside so you do not stress the flagpole. You may also want to consider bringing your flag inside at night during the winter; bringing your flag in during the cold months can lengthen the life of your flag. Did you know that the U.S. flag code states that if you don’t shine a light on your flag at night, you must bring it inside? Want to learn more about the rules? Get caught up to speed on flag etiquette and how to respect your flag. Have questions on how long your flag should last? We go in-depth in the Lifespan of a Flag blog.
- Flag Cleaning: To ensure that your flag and flagpole are ready for the winter, you can wash your flag with mild detergent and warm water. Lay your flag flat to dry, making sure it’s 100% dry before raising it again. Letting your flag dry out completely keeps your newly cleaned flag from getting damage due to icy weather.
- Flagpole Cleaning: Dirt and debris will build-up on your flagpole over time, so it is essential to keep up with a flagpole cleaning schedule. You can clean your flagpole by attaching a lightly soaked soapy sponge to the halyard. To get those hard to reach spots, raise and lower the halyard. Do not use this method if you have an anodized flagpole; it could ruin the protective sealant.
- Inspect Your Flag: If your flag is worn, damaged, or fraying, consider buying a new flag. You can also take your flag to a sewist or dry clean establishment for flag repair. Winter conditions are tough on flags, but if your flag is already fraying, the wind may shred the flag even more.