We've put together a few tips to better care for your nylon - American Made flag. When taking a few easy precautions, you should be able to extend or maximize your flag life.
Here are a few simple suggestions to help you enjoy your flag longer:
1. Only flags made specifically for exterior use should be displayed outdoors.
2. Check the weather; for best results, do not expose your flag to rain, snow or abnormally high winds; these forces of nature can shorten its life considerably.
Never fold or roll up a wet or damp flag, instead spread it out and allow it to dry completely.
3. Outdoor flags can be hand-washed with warm water and a mild soap, then thoroughly rinsed and spread out to dry. Washing your flag helps keep the colors bright! Do not let the flag stand in the wash water or you might experience some color “make off” onto the white stripes. Professional dry cleaning is recommended for indoor/parade flags.
Some establishments will clean your American Flag free of charge, especially during the period just prior to Flag Day, June 14.
4. Here's a big one! 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.
5. 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 help extend the life of your flag.
As you see, based on all of these factors there is no easy answer as to "how long your flag will last". 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. (High winds coming headed your way? Please, take your flag down.)
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.
Another popular option is to have two flags and rotating them on a regular basis. Tests have shown that flag fibers actually benefit from periodic “rest”. Also, you will never be without a flag while one is being cleaned or repaired!