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March 30th, 2021

When is it time to Retire a Flag?

Flag retirement is a frequent occurrence, but we get a lot questions about determining when the flag is ready to put to rest. There are three components to consider when deciding if a flag is ready to be retired. Color, length, and fabric strength. Let’s use the American flag as an example.


This is a big indicator, the sun fades the blue and red on the American flag. Depending on how much sun exposure the flag gets day to day, the color can fade rather quickly. When we have customers whose flags are fading before they are fraying, we will typically recommend a nylon flag. They colors will hold longer than a polyester flag. When checking the colors on your flag, it is important to ask, “are the colors still vibrant?”. If you are unsure, look at the blue, is it dull or is it starting to turn grey? Now look at the red, is it dull? If you think so, it is time to retire the flag. If you think the color is good, move on to the length.


When it come to the American flag, length is very important. It is our opinion that you should not fly a square American flag. What does that mean? I will explain. The red stripes should be longer than the blue star field. How do you figure it out if the flag is square?  First, you want to find the point on the flag where the furthest spot of fraying occurs. Now add 2”, this is how much fabric is needed to properly hem a flag. Keep your hand in this location and fold the flag over at the end of the blue starfield. Are the stripes still longer than the blue starfield? If not, it is time to retire the flag, if it is move on to the fabric strength.

Fabric Strength

How does the material feel? Does it feel thin, like it could start to tear at any moment? Is it transparent? A yes to any of these, means it is time to retire your flag.

If you think your flag is has vibrant colors, plenty of length, and the fabric is still strong, send it to us. We can clean and repair your flag to get a little more life out of it.

If you are still unsure if your flag can be clean and repaired or if it needs to be retired, send it to us, we can look at it and let you know.

If you have a state or logo flag, use the same three indicators to determine if the flag needs to be retired or can be mended. Make sure the colors are vibrant, check the fraying – is it close to the state emblem or company logo? Last, ensure the fabric isn’t too thin or transparent.

We are always here to answer any questions. We are the flag experts and can help figure out what to do with your flag if you are unsure.

When is it time to Retire a Flag?

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