- Only flags made specifically for exterior use should be displayed outdoors.
- For the best results, do not expose your flag to rain, snow or abnormally high winds; these forces of nature can shorten its life considerably. Should the flag become wet, it should be spread out and allowed to dry completely. Do not fold
- To keep its rich colors looking bright, clean your flag regularly, before soiling and discoloration from dirt, smoke, dust and other airborne contaminants “set” in the fabric. Outdoor flags can be hand-washed with warm water and a mild soap, or machine washed on gentle cycle. Do not let the flag stand in the wash water or you might experience some color “make off” onto the white stripes. Do not machine dry your flag. Flags can be line hung, flat dried, or placed back on the pole to dry. Professional dry cleaning is recommended for
- Do not place the flag where the wind will whip it against rough surfaces, tree branches, wires, cables, etc. The smallest tear can soon result in a tattered flag. Keep pole surfaces free of heavy dirt, rust, scale and corrosion that could damage
- Inspect your flag regularly for signs of wear. In particular, look for “normal wear” fabric or thread breaks which may occur in the “fly” end. This is the end farthest from the staff. Trimming off and re-hemming torn or frayed ends will
- Retiring the American Flag – The flag code states that when a flag has served it useful purpose, or is so worn out that it is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of our country, it should be destroyed in a dignified manner, preferably by burning. Flag retirement ceremonies should be done in private. You can contact your local VFW Post, American Legion or Boy Scouts in your area for proper disposal.
How long will a flag last? There is no exact answer. The U.S. Government generally expects a nylon or cotton bunting flag to last approximately 90 days, based on daily usage from sunrise to sunset – but not during periods of inclement weather.
Tests have shown that in some cases a flag flown 24 hours a day will last only one-fourth as long as one flown during the daylight hours only. Regardless of how well it is constructed, a flag is, after all, only a piece of cloth and will sooner or later succumb to the elements. However, it has been well documented that reasonably good care can contribute greatly to longer life.
Note to Large Flag Users
(5′ x 8′ and up)Larger flags naturally represent a more significant investment and as such, should be given maximum protection. Pay special attention to paragraph #5 and keep your flag in good repair. Consider having two flags and rotating them on a regular basis. Tests have shown that flag fibers actually benefit from periodic “rest”and you will not be without a flag while one is being cleaned or repaired.