How to properly clean and store a vinyl banner:
Vinyl banners can be a cost effective investment especially if taken care of properly. When it comes to taking care of your banner, there are a few things you need to know first. The biggest thing to know is which type of vinyl banner you have. There are generally two types of vinyl banners, vinyl lettered or digitally printed. Vinyl lettered banners are PVC banners that have the design and letters cut from colored, self adhesive vinyl and applied to the surface of the banner. Digitally printed banners are PVC banners that have the design digitally printed onto them. The best way to tell what type of banner you have is to run your fingers over the letters. If the letters feel slightly raised, then you have a vinyl lettered banner. If the letters feel smooth, you have a digitally printed banner.
Generally speaking, a well cared for banner, regardless of which of the two you have, will last about 4-5 years. The lifetime of you banner depends primarily on where it is displayed, and where and how it is stored.
If your banner is permanently displayed outdoors, due to the abuses of Mother Nature, it will not last quite as long, even if properly cared for. In order for it to last as long as possible, it needs to be secured properly and cleaned every 3-4 weeks. To properly secure the banner, it is recommended that it be secure by more than just the four corner grommets as this puts a lot of stress on those grommets and causes weak points at the corners. The ideal situation would be for the banner to be secured to a plank or stretched wire by 8 grommets (four corners and an additional two across the top and bottom). This will help to lessen the stress placed on any single grommet.
In order to clean you banner, take a lint free cloth, such as ones used to clean electronics, and gently wipe down the banner. If your banner is one with vinyl lettering, be careful around the corners of the design and lettering so as to not lift the corners of the cut vinyl. Using a lint free cloth will prevent any ink or vinyl from being scratched during wipe down. If the simple cloth wipe down doesn’t get it fully clean, try using a light mist of water, if areas are still persistent use a gentle cleaner such as a glass cleaner or rubbing alcohol.
If your banner is being displayed indoors, out of direct sunlight, it will last longer than being outdoors. It should only need a wipe down once a month at most if being permanently displayed and only using 4-6 grommets would be sufficient to display it.
The cleaning process will be the same as an outdoor banner, but as it’s being displayed indoors it probably won’t need to be done quite as frequently.
Regardless of whether your banner is indoor or outdoor, if it is not going to be permanently displayed, proper storage is imperative to your banner having a long display life. First and foremost, never store a banner wet. Moisture promotes the growth of mildew, which can destroy your banner. Depending on the type of banner you have, storing your dry banner will differ. If you have a digitally printed banner, then you will roll your banner with the letters facing inward, as this prevents the ink on the letters from being scratched. If you are storing a vinyl lettered banner the banner needs to be rolled with the letters on the outside, as to prevent the letters from sticking to each other and getting damaged. Once the banner is rolled, it needs to be stored like a poster in the original shipping tube, or some other large poster tube in a dry location at room temperature.
By following these few cleaning and storing procedures, you can drastically extend the life of your vinyl banner, and therefore get he most possible out of your investment.