Patriot Honor Guard provides info for proper flag care, maintenance

  • Published
  • By Lauren Russell
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

Officials from the Patriot Honor Guard here offer these tips on how to properly display, care for, and dispose of at-home American flags.

According to Master Sgt. Willis Hosley, Patriot Honor Guard superintendent, ensuring the Stars and Stripes are serviceable is the first step when displaying them.

“Serviceable flags still have a rich color, without any fading, rips or tears,” said Hosley.

The lifespan of a flag may depend on its material; such as “weather-proof” nylon or embroidered polyester and cotton. Individuals should regularly inspect for signs of fading or fraying from the weather.

If the flag is tattered or worn, individuals can contact the Patriot Honor Guard, local Boy Scouts, American Legion, or post office to properly dispose of it.

Hosley said cleaning it comes down to the material, as well as what the owner is comfortable with.

“If it’s older, we recommend either hand-washing or machine-washing it on delicate mode,” he said. “Additionally, it should be air-dried and steamed before being displayed or refolded.”

If stains or marks cannot be removed, the flag should be deemed unserviceable, and either folded for personal use, or properly disposed of.

When displaying from a residential flag pole, Hosley said, there is no height limit.

“We use a standard size for official ceremonial purposes, but when it comes to flying or folding one for personal use, it all depends on what you want,” he said.

For information on how to properly fold a flag, see the graphic above.


For observances such as Memorial Day, Hosley said residential flags can be flown at half-mast.

When displayed on a flag pole, the flag should be raised all the way to the top before being lowered down to half-mast, Hosley explained.  

“When posted in a mounted holder near a front door, the angle should be adjusted to straight out, center-faced,” he said.

For additional information on how to care for, display, or dispose of a flag, visit