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How Often Should I replace my American Flag?

When to replace your American Flag:

We are often asked by our customers when to replace their American flag. This question is tough because of different climates, winds, storms, and sun exposure amongst a host of other things will change the answer.

when should i replace my USA flag that I use on my flagpole

New Flag:

Torn, dull, and tattered flag that needs to be replaced:

torn american flag on a flagpole


A good general rule of thumb is replacing your flag every 6 months to once a year will keep it colorful, brilliant, and a statement piece while flying atop your flagpole. However here are some other things to consider when deciding if it is time to retire your American flag.


According to US flag code, the only standard is “When the flag is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem of display it should be destroyed in a dignified manner.”


That leaves a lot of room for interpretation. Here are some other things to look for in your USA flag when deciding to buy a new one;

  • Tearing of the flags fabric
  • Fraying around the flags edges. Your flag should be retired prior to the fraying being 1.25 times the height of a single stripe on the flag.
  • Fading of the colors on the flag. If your colors no longer look vibrant it is time to replace your American flag.
  • Holes in the fabric of the American flag.
  • The flag of our country is stained with a stain that will not come out or can be cleaned.

Public buildings, Schools, retired military, restaurants, car dealerships, hotels, and Military bases will want to replace their flags more often. Remember once a flag starts to fray the damage multiples and travels very quickly throughout the rest of the USA flag.

Retiring Your American Flag:
If it is time for you to retire your American flag and purchase a new one there are many options to help you retire your old flag properly. Most VFW, Knights of Columbus, American Legions, Boy Scout, Elks Lodges, and Girl Scouts have a spot where you can drop off the flag you are retiring and they will be sure it receives the respect the American flag deserves upon retirement. These ceremonies normally handle more than one flag at a time and can be a great thing to partake in, call the local places and ask how you can be a part of a flag retirement ceremony. These awesome organizations can retire the standard American flags and Huge American flags.

Common Flag Myths about replacing a USA flag:

Please note you do NOT need to retire your flag if it touches the ground. This is a common myth. If your flag touches the ground, simply pick it up and do your best to not let it continually happen. Clean it off and you are good to go. Flag code does not say a flag must be retired for simply touching the ground.

Another myth is that it is incorrect, disrespectful, or against flag code to fly an “outdated” American flag. However, the truth is any American flag that was ever approved as this nation's flag is acceptable and respectable according to flag code, as they are considered living and active flags forever.

Extend the life of your American Flag:

The little Rock American Legion recommends having 2 American flags and switching the flag you are flying out periodically. Not only does this leave you with a flag to fly when one is being cleaned but also switching up the flags periodically has shown to extend the life of both flags.



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