How to Display and Care for Your American Flag

Nothing says Happy Fourth of July better than our Red, White, and Blue.  But do you know how to properly display and care for our flag?

With Independence Day just around the corner we will see the colors flying.  Regardless of what “side of the aisle” you are on, we should be proud of what our flag represents and what it has represented to so many around the world.

How to properly display the flag

According to the flag should:

  • never be flown in inclement weather unless it’s an all-weather flag
  • be properly illuminated at night
  • and during a time of national mourning the flag should be hung at half mast

Years ago, when I was working for a company in downtown Kansas City, I used to drive by a building that had an enormous flag.  The sentiment was well meaning since it was shortly after 911.  However, the condition of the flag was appalling.  Tattered and torn.  Dirty.  Just sad.  I’m not sure how long it flew but one day it was no longer there.  I have yet to see if they replaced the flag.  I just stopped looking after a while.  So, here are some tips on keeping Old Glory in tip top shape.

How to care for the flag

If you’re someone who likes to display your flag year around, you should consider washing it at least once a month.

Polyester flags can be washed in your home washer on the gentle cycle with warm water.  If it has stains be sure to pre-treat them before washing in the machine.  Once washed, lay the flag flat to dry.

Because the colors on cotton flags can bleed, they should be washed by hand with lukewarm water.  The drying process is a little more involved with cotton flags because they should not be placed in the dryer.  After your have thoroughly rinsed the flag, roll it in a towel to remove as much water as possible.  Lay the flag flat and cover it with a dish towel, bed sheet or pillow case to use it as barrier to iron the flag.  This will help the flag dryer faster.

Unsure of the fabric?  Taking it to a dry cleaner would be best.

Ready to know more about flag etiquette and suggested dates on when to fly it?  Well, you’re in luck because there’s an app for that!  Go to the Apple App Store or Google Play and search for Colonial Flag App (or click here).  You can even upload your own picture of the Stars and Stripes flying!

Have a safe and enjoyable holiday.  And fly your flags proudly!  

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