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Experience has proven that this is an impossible question to answer accurately. It is like predicting the weather, airborne contamination, and the treatment people will give a flag.

The major enemies of a flag are wind, sun and carelessness, the single greatest cause of flag deterioration. Neither you nor we can control the weather, but you can take care of your flag and lengthen its life. Continuous day and night display will shorten a flag's life. If your flag is not illuminated at night, you should consider taking it down to appreciably lengthen its life.

How To Properly Care For A Flag

  • Only flags made specifically for exterior use should be displayed outdoors.
  • Do not expose your flag to rain, snow or abnormally high winds.  These conditions will shorten its life considerably.
  • Do not fly a wet flag.  Flying a heavy, wet flag in the wind puts excessive strain on the fabric and stitching, and will greatly reduce the life of your flag. Should the flag become wet, it should be spread out and allowed to dry completely.
  • Do not fold or roll-up a wet or damp flag.
  • 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.
  • 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 your flag.
  • 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 (the end farthest from the pole).
  • Trimming off and re-hemming torn or frayed ends will help extend the life of your flag.

How to clean a flag: 

  • Outdoor flags can be hand-washed with warm water and a mild soap, then thoroughly rinsed and spread out to dry.
  • Professional dry cleaning is recommended for indoor/parade flags. Incidentally, some establishments will clean Old Glory free of charge.

Note to Large Flag Users (12' x 18' and Up)

  • Larger flags naturally represent a more significant financial investment and,  as such, should be given maximum protection.
  • Consider having two flags and rotating them on a regular basis. Tests have shown that flag fibers actually benefit from periodic “rest”. Also, you will not be without a flag while one is being cleaned or repaired.
  • Keep your flag in good repair.  Pay special attention for thread breaks which may occur in the “fly” end (the end farthest from the pole).  Trimming off and re-hemming torn or frayed ends will help extend the life of your flag.

This information was provided by our friends at the Little Rock American Legion Post. We thank the American Legion for partnering with us each year for a Flag Day retirement ceremony.

Always remember, no two flags receive identical wear. Because weather conditions vary, wearing conditions vary and, consequently, the life of each flag is different.

Your flag works hard. It shakes, it trembles, it drapes, it whips, it snaps, it bakes, it freezes, it ripples, it flutters, it furls, it twists, it flaps, it stains, it hangs! Is it any wonder that it needs to be replaced two or three times a year?

The best way we know to stretch your "flag dollar" is to have two flags; one flying and a clean one in reserve for special occasions.

Click here for our document on how to properly fold the flag for storage.

Click here to see our in house Flag Repair and Pricing.

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