How To Make Sure Your Holiday Lawn Inflatables Stay Fresh Year After Year

Nothing screams holiday cheer like a yard full of festive decorations. For years, simple lights and the occasional glowing reindeer dominated neighborhoods, but now, inflatable decorations are taking the stage as one of the most popular ways to add a burst of holiday spirit to your winter display. Some think they're tacky, others find them nostalgic, but regardless of which camp you're in, everyone can agree they make a big impact.

Many people flock to inflatable decorations for their convenience, low price, and energy efficiency compared to normal string lights, notes Entergy, but when the holiday season comes to a close, you may be left wondering how to properly care for and store these decorations to make sure they're fully functional for next year. Keep reading to learn how to keep your inflatables in tip-top shape and protect the sensitive lights, fans, and fabric that they're made of — after all, nobody wants a sad, deflated Santa on their front lawn.

Consider the placement

One of the best parts of inflatables is how lightweight and portable they are, but it's still important to make sure that they're in a spot where they won't get damaged if you plan to keep them up for a while. Most inflatables are made of synthetic fabrics like nylon that have been treated so they're waterproof. This fabric is strong, flexible, and not prone to decay like natural fibers, so it's a good choice for something that will be facing the elements night after night, explains Sewport.

Despite this, it's still important to minimize risks. Even a small tear can essentially ruin your inflatable decoration, causing it to deflate or just flop around like the inflatables at car dealerships. To prevent this, keep your decorations away from low-hanging branches and rough surfaces. These decorations will sway with the wind, especially if you're dealing with stormy winter weather, so give them a good amount of clearance to make sure there are no snags in the fabric.

Don't overwork the fan

Most inflatables are able to withstand running for several hours at a time, but unplugging the decoration occasionally can help prevent the fan from burning out. Gemmy, one of the main manufacturers of inflatable decorations, recommends turning them off at night and then resuming the airflow in the morning. This is an easy way to prevent one of the most common issues with this kind of decoration. It's also important to make sure the fan is clear of any debris. Even a few leaves getting caught can essentially cause the fan to overheat.

If your fan does burn out, however, no worries. Many companies sell replacement fans for significantly less than the cost of an entirely new inflatable. Just make sure you double-check that the fan you purchase is compatible with your inflatable brand. Different-sized decorations need different levels of airflow, so the type of fan you pick makes a big impact on the final look.

Store them properly

Gemmy recommends storing your inflatables in a cool, dry place. These decorations are water and weather-resistant, but long-term exposure can cause issues with the fans and leave the fabric with mold and mildew. It's a good idea to keep them in their original box so you have access to instructions and all the parts in one place, but if you've already thrown that away, a simple plastic storage bin will do.

Before storing, make sure your inflatable is completely dry and clean. If it's gotten dirty outside, a simple wipe-down with some water and dish soap will do the trick. Then, allow it to fully deflate before rolling up the fabric. Wrap up any cords and the fan and your inflatable is ready to be stored until next year. If you're unsure of anything, make sure to check the manufacturer's instructions and see if there are any special considerations to keep in mind, like closing flaps or maximum storage temperatures.

Make minor repairs

When you unpack your inflatable for the next year, make sure to inspect everything to ensure it's in good condition. If you notice any minor holes or tears in your decoration, Gemmy recommends either hand stitching the hole or reinforcing it with clear packing tape. Both of these methods aren't very noticeable, so they don't disrupt the look of your decoration. If using tape, make sure that the surface is completely dry so it fully adheres to the fabric. After that, your decoration should be good to go for another year of holiday cheer.

Inflatables may seem flimsy, but don't be fooled — many are built to last through the stormy winter weather. As long as you properly care for and maintain your decorations, you can use them to delight your neighbors year after year with no issues. With a little TLC, your jolly Santa and friendly snowmen can remain a permanent part of your holiday decor rotation.