Can Sun Exposure Damage Your American Flag?

If you’re thinking about buying an American flag, you might be wondering whether sunlight will damage it. Most people display the American flag outdoors. When displayed outdoors, of course, your American flag will be exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays all day long. So, should you really be concerned about sun exposure damaging your American flag?

Yes, Sun Exposure Can Damage Some American Flags

Some American flags can absolutely sustain damage when exposed to the sun. Sunlight is UV, so it’s able to break down the chemical bonds in American flags as well as other objects and materials. Over time, this can lead to fading. An American flag may have a lustrous appearance with deep red, white and blue colors. After several months of being displayed outdoors, though, it may fade to a duller tone.

American flags that are heavily faded should no longer be displayed. Instead, they should be retired or disposed of in a dignified way. If an American flag is heavily faded, it’s no longer fit for display. And according to the U.S. Flag Code, worn and damaged American flags such as this should be retired or disposed of.

How to Prevent Sun-Related Damage

Fortunately, not all American flags are susceptible to sun-related damage. Some of them are designed specifically to withstand sunlight. The American flags sold here at Star Spangled Flags, for example, are treated with a UV protectant. While invisible, the UV protectant acts as a shield to protect against sun damage. UV sunlight can’t pass through the invisible layer of UV protectant.

If you choose a different American flag — one that’s not treated with a UV protectant — you can still protect it from sun damage; it just requires a little more work. Displaying it in a shaded area will naturally minimize the risk of sun damage. It may still receive some sunlight, but a shaded area will prolong your American flag by reducing its exposure to UV sunlight. You can also apply your own UV protectant to further minimize the risk of sun damage to your American flag. UV protectants are spray-on liquids. Just lie your American across a flat surface and spray a UV protectant onto each side.

The easiest way to prevent sun-related damage is to order an American flag that’s already been treated with a UV protectant.