Beginner’s Guide to Cleaning and Caring for Advertising Flags

Advertising flags, banners, and backdrops are statement makers. Whether you use them at a tradeshow or at a fund-raiser, their vivid colors and rhythmic flow grabs attention and makes a lasting impression. But since these are primarily outdoor products, the right upkeep and maintenance goes a long way to keep them in a pristine condition.


Here are Some Expert Tips on How to Clean a Vinyl Banner or Advertising Flags of All Kinds
Tip #1. Always Prefer Fabric

flare banner flag

Paper is a good choice, but using a fabric for your advertising flags is the best.


For starters, paper – no matter how thick – doesn’t last long in a windy area. Fabric works perfectly for both indoors and outdoors. Since most of our clients exhibit at a variety of indoor and outdoor venues, we always recommend fabric advertising flags and banners.


  • Fabric can be folded while storing.
  • It is durable, portable, and lightweight.
  • Fabric does not crack, peel, or scratch like paper or vinyl.
  • Images of any type and dimension can be printed on fabrics.
  • Fabric offers a greater visual impact because of its texture, size, and color. You also have more choices in fabric.
  • The appeal of fabric advertising flags can be accentuated through matte, sheer, or gloss fabrics.


Tip #2. Harsh Weather and Advertising Flags

printed advertising flags and banners in australia

Rain and wind are the archnemeses of promotional banners.

  • Move your banners and backdrops inside if it starts raining. Excess exposure to water can tarnish the fibers of your flags.
  • Too much wind is also bad for flags, especially if it is raining as well. Flags get heavier when it rains, this means that strong whipping due to heavy winds can damage the fabric or even break the poles in some cases.
  • Don’t store a wet flag. This can cause permanent creases or mildew. Use a clothesline to hang your banners and flags, and store them only when dry.


Direct sun exposure can alter the appearance of colors on your flags and banners. Full-color vinyl can fade if it’s placed outdoors for prolonged periods of time. The same goes for heavy winds, rain, or snow. Air pollutants and dust can also inflict cosmetic damage on the inked parts of your advertising flags.

To determine a proper cleaning routine, consider the outdoor use and application of your advertising flags.

  • Banners and flags that are exposed outdoors 24×7 benefit from cleaning every 2 to 3 months.
  • Banners and flags that go on displays for just a few hours and then stored indoors can be cleaned once annually.


Tip #3. Rolling vs Folding

Advertising flags can be easily folded or rolled up for storge or transporting. However, they should not be wadded up and tossed into a container. Use a plastic bag or a protective cover to reduce wrinkling, rips, and tears. Make sure that the cloth of your flag is able to ‘breathe’.


Tip #4. Ice, Ice, Baby

Store your advertising flags and banners in a cool, dry place. Refrain from leaving them exposed to moisture – it can lead to mold and mildew. If your banner is printed on one side, fold or roll it in a manner to keep the design inside.


Tip #5. Don’t Fret Over Wrinkles

They make humans look pretty and badass. But on flags, wrinkles shout ‘unkempt, hasty, and unorganized’ – we don’t want that now, do we?

Take some time to check for wrinkles. Most wrinkles subside by themselves. You can also use a steamer or a steam iron with medium temperature – just be sure to place a white cloth in between the iron and fabric.


Tip #6. Cleaning Custom Outdoor Flags and Banners

wave flag banner

How do you clean a flag?

This depends on the print method, severity of a stain, and substrate. Dye-sublimated banners and flags can be spotted clean or laundered as delicate. A masking tape can also remove dust particles. Banners and flags can be machine washed with cool water and mild detergents on a gentle cycle.

Don’t use harsh chemical to clean your advertising flags.

The milder and simpler the cleaning agents, the better. Gentle soaps, microfiber clothes or towels, or soft sponges will do the trick. On the other hand, chemical solvents, rubbing alcohol, paint thinner, acetone, scrubbing brushes, abrasive clothes, or bleach can damage your promotional flags.

If a flag is too big for your machine, wash it with hand and then dry on a line, not the dryer.


Tip #7. Ripped to Shreds? Or Not?

Promotional banners and flags have perforations or small holes. These ensure that air can pass safely instead of getting trapped and keep your flags and banners from becoming a kite or worse, getting torn.

If you do find a small tear or rip, get it repaired ASAP.

  • Stick a small patch to the underside of the signage and then rejoin torn sides of the flag, pressing and sealing them over the adhesive patch underside.
  • In case of tears near the hem, resew using a standard sewing machine.
  • If the grommet part has been torn, remove the worn-out part with pliers. Then line up and connect the new pair with a rubber mallet.


Tip #8. Correct Rigging Saves Hours of Tut-Ting

banner brisbane commodore club 2

Advertising flags can be rigged correctly or wrongly on poles. The wrong way causes strain and stretch on the header of the flag. This can rip the grommets out. Rusty flag poles are another reason for premature damage to advertising flags and promotional banners. Rusted metal can tear and scratch a flag’s fabric.


Tip #9. The Right Bathing Regimen

If you follow the below tips for washing your flags, you will be able to preserve their inks, laminates, and substrates for years of use:

  • Make sure that the flag’s surface is flat and dry before washing. Smooth out wrinkles with your hand.
  • Mix a mild-detergent soap and lukewarm water and then gently wipe the banner or flag. Do wring out the excess water to prevent soaking up the base. Use long, gentle strokes to wipe down your flag working from the middle towards the edges.
  • Rinse a second time using clean water. Soap residue can cause discoloring, peeling, or deterioration.
  • Wipe dry or hang up on a clothesline to dry completely. Upon drying, roll or fold your banner carefully and store in a cool, dry place.


Tip #10. Seek Help Whenever You Need It!

It’s always better to consult with experts if you are in doubt. At Extreme Canopy, our pros would be happy to lend you a helping hand or share a few handy tips on how do you clean a flag. Drop a call to us at 888 201 1968 to get your queries resolved!