There is no exact answer to suit all flag material types, environmental circumstances and climate situations. The US Government Specified (GSPEC) Flags are built to government specs and they generally expect a flag to last approximately 90 days based on daily usage from sunrise to sunset - but not during periods of poor weather. Independent tests have shown that in some cases a flag flown 24 hours a day will last only 25% as long as one flown during daylight hours only and put away every night. The most detrimental forces on a flag are the wind and sun. While we can control the weather, you can care for your flag and lengthen its life.
#1. Occasional wash your flag in warm mild detergent water and line dry. This will help prevent dirt and pollutants from attacking the flags fabric.
#2. Have your flag repaired at the first sign of fraying. Most cities have seamstresses or flag repair shops to help you with this. Flags can be repaired so long as the dimensions of the flag are not distorted or noticeably altered.
Our flags are specifically manufactured to give maximum service in return for reasonable care. No two flags wear the same. Because weather conditions vary, most flags flown 24 hours a day 7 days a week will need to be replaced two or three times a year. The best way to stretch your flags life is to have three flags: one flying, one in the wash, and a clean one in reserve for special occasions.
It is not respectful, nor acceptable to display an American flag when it is faded, worn or torn. Some dry cleaning businesses offer free dry cleaning of American flags during the months of June and July. When a flag becomes unfit for display it is necessary to replace it.
When your flag is ready to be retired, contact your local Boy Scout Troup to hold a proper flag burning ceremony to properly dispose of it and help the boys earn their badges. You can, if necessary, put the flag out for garbage collection only after you have removed the blue field from the flag. The blue field is to be burned in a peaceful manner and the ashes buried. You can also give the flag to any American Legion, VFW or government office as they will know where to send the flag for proper disposal. They may even suggest your local Boy Scout Troop or organization where public ceremonies are held to discharge flags from service.