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July 3rd, 2024

How To Determine When A US Flag Should Be Retired

When we advertise our clean & repair service we provide, we often receive flags that are due to be retired. Here are some guidelines on how to determine when a US flag should be retired. 


First, look at the color of the flag. Are the RED stripes faded, light red, or pink? How do the WHITE stripes look? Are they gray or do they have pollution streaks? Is the BLUE starfield dull, light blue, almost gray? Are the STARS dirty or fading into the blue starfield?


Next, we look at the length. If the flag is tattered, we can repair the flag. But, if the result is a short or square flag, we would recommend flag retirement. Here is how we know if the flag is too short. Mark the flag about two inches past the deepest tattering, that will give us room to fold a proper hem. Now fold the flag with the seam where the blue field meets the stripes. Now look at the original marking, is that section of the stripes shorter than the blue field or equal to? If so, the flag needs to be retired. Is the marking longer than the starfield? If so, we can repair the flag.


Even if the color is still vibrant and the length is good, the fabric needs to be inspected. Does the fabric look transparent? Are the fibers of the flag open? Does the fabric look thin? Feel the fabric, is it very soft to the touch? These are all indicators that the fabric fibers are broken down and may not have much life left.  

How To Determine When A US Flag Should Be Retired

Flags that can be cleaned & repaired have plenty of length on the fly end of the flag after the repair, the colors are vivid, and the fabric is strong, heavy, and not transparent.

Flags do end up succumbing to the elements and will need to be retired at some point. If you are unsure, please reach out to Custom Flag Company, we can help determine if your flag can be retired or repaired.

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