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10 Ways to Maximize the Durability of Your Banners, Backdrops and Flags

January 30, 2018
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Picture of different fabrics for digital fabric printing
Fabric banners, backdrops and flags are statement makers. Whether they are displayed at a trade show or other events, their vivid colors and "great flow" catch attention and make a lasting impression.

While our fabric products are made with the highest-quality materials, craftsmanship and technology, taking proper care of them will make them last longer. Since digital fabric printing is one of our passions, we would like to share some tips on how to prolong the life of your banners, backdrops and flags:

    1. Fabric Is a Great Choice
    Picture of different fabrics for digital fabric printing
    The first step to ensuring the durability of a banner, backdrop or flag is to choose the right material based on your needs. Not every material is suitable for every environment. Fabric, for its part, is a great choice for indoor displays and short-term outdoor displays. It has several advantages, including:

    • Fabric is foldable, durable, easy to transport and lightweight, which can lower freight costs.

    • Unlike laminated vinyl, fabric will not crack, peel or scratch.

    • Images can be sized to any dimension and finished to exacting specifications.

    • Fabric has great visual impact due to its texture, color and size. Fabric images stand out in a crowd.

    • Its visual presence can be enhanced with selective fabric choices, including matte, gloss and sheer fabrics.

    2. Protect Fabric from Harsh Weather
    Wind and rain can wreak havoc on fabric banners, backdrops and flags. If possible, move them indoors when it rains, as excess exposure to water can tarnish the fabric's fibers.

    While flags need some wind to unfurl, too much wind can cause damage. When flags get wet, they also get heavier, which means that the strong whipping caused by heavy winds can lead to more damage.

    However, do not fold wet fabric. This can lead to mildew or permanent creases, especially if the fabric is left folded for a long time. Instead, use a clothesline to dry banners and flags.

    3. Roll It or Fold It, the Choice Is Yours
    Picture of different flags and fabrics for digital fabric printing
    As we mentioned earlier, fabric is easy to transport. It can be rolled or folded. However, do not wad it up and toss it into a container like a box or suitcase. You might want to wrap it in a plastic bag to reduce wrinkling, but do not store fabric for long term in plastics. Fabric likes to "breathe."

    4. Store Fabric in a Cool, Dry Place
    Do not store banners, backdrops or flags where they can get wet or damp. Moisture can cause mold and mildew to form. If the design is only on one side, carefully fold or roll the fabric so that it is on the inside.

    5. Iron Wrinkled Fabric
    Picture of large format banner after a digital fabric printing process
    As Dye Sublimation fabric contains polyester content, give yourself time before setup to check for wrinkles. Many wrinkles will work themselves out. Use a steamer or steam iron with the temperature no higher than medium. Be sure to place a white press cloth between the fabric and iron. If no press cloths are available, use a white towel. Check the press cloth frequently to ensure that it is clean.

    6. Wash Stained Fabric
    Cleaning depends on the print method, substrate and severity of the stain. If it is a dye sublimated banner or flag, spot clean or have it laundered as a delicate. Masking tape can remove surface dust.

    Banners and flags can be machine-washed on a gentle cycle with mild detergents and cool water. Never use bleach, as it contains chemicals that can damage the fabric. If they are too big for the washing machine, wash them by hand with a mild soap. Dry them on a line, not in the dryer.

    7. Repair Rips and Tears
    It is important to get rips and tears repaired as soon as possible. Even though our fabric products are very durable, a small rip can widen and tear the fabric.

    8. Avoid Certain Chemicals
    Many everyday household chemicals can damage or discolor fabric. Keep your banners, backdrops and flags away from them. Avoid accidental contact with solvents like paint thinner, acetone, alcohol and gasoline.

    9. Flags Must Be Rigged Correctly
    Picture of fabrics hang properly and ready for digital fabric printing processes
    There is a right way and wrong way to rig a flag on an outdoor pole. The wrong way places the flying strain and stretch on the flag's header, which can rip the grommets out.

    Additionally, rusty flagpoles are one of the main causes of premature flag damage. Rusted metal can scratch and tear the flag's fabric. Make sure that the flag is not hitting anything when it unfurls, such as tree branches or fire escapes. Even the best fabrics will get damaged over time from repeated contact with harder materials.

    10. Keep a Spare
    If you are going to display a banner, backdrop or flag outdoors, it is a good idea to have a spare. When one gets dirty or damaged, swap it out for the reserve while the original is repaired.

    No matter what kind of event your banners, backdrops and flags are for, taking proper care of them can make them last longer. We hope that these tips have been useful.
Southern Tailors Fabric Imaging is recognized for its superior work in fabric imaging. Our product line includes Flags, Banners, Media Backdrops, Retractable Banners, Portable Displays, Table Draping, Table Runners, Gonfalons and much more. Our experience and our commitment to quality production enables us to be experts in our field. We do the job right the first time.

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