Spray any flowers you have dried at home with an aerosol sealer (available at craft stores) to preserve their color. Don't use hair spray, which is sticky and will attract dust.
The best choices for dried flowers are those with sturdy stems and a relatively low moisture content. Plants that dry well are baby's breath, gomphrena, helichrysum (strawflower), moneyplant, statice and zinnia.
Keep dried flowers out of reach of pets. Cats in particular like to chew on dried flowers, and the preservatives used on commercially dried arrangements could be harmful.
Whether you have dried flowers grouped in a wreath or arrangement, or single dried flowers for use in craft projects, you must care for them so they last as long as possible. Although dried flowers last a long time, they don't last forever. A few simple steps, however, can extend their life. Plan to replace your dried flowers after a few years or when they start looking shabby.
Display dried flowers indoors, where they are protected from the elements. Keep them out of direct sunlight and areas of bright light, as this will cause the colors to fade and can make the flowers brittle.
Avoid keeping dried flowers in rooms with high humidity. This can cause them to turn limp and brown, or even to get moldy. Exposure to moisture can cause some flowers preserved in a glycerin solution to "weep" from the stems or pores and drip onto nearby surfaces. If the dripping is happening from a stem, try sealing it with hot glue or wax.
Invest in a flower-drying rack if you like to dry flowers yourself. It's a space-saving drying method and decorative in and of itself.
Spray compressed air (the kind sold to clean electronics) onto dried flowers to eliminate dust. The spray comes out fast, so make sure the can is not too close to the flowers.
Clean dried arrangements using a hair dryer set on low speed. Use the "no heat" setting to avoid damage to the flowers.
Dust dried flowers with an old-fashioned feather duster. This method works best on the sturdier arrangements.
Store seasonal dried-flower wreaths in the box in which they came. If you don't have the original box, store the wreath in any box that gives you enough room to gently secure it with tissue paper.
Find storage for dried flowers in rooms other than the basement or attic. Long-term exposure to heat and humidity will cause dried flowers to decay faster.
Use cedar chips or a specially prepared nontoxic repellent formula when storing dried flowers to prevent moths or other insects from damaging them.
Seal dried flower storage boxes well. Do not store dried flowers in plastic.
Gwen Bruno has been a full-time freelance writer since 2009, with her gardening-related articles appearing on DavesGarden. She is a former teacher and librarian, and she holds a bachelor's degree in education from Augustana College and master's degrees in education and library science from North Park University and the University of Wisconsin.