Read Care labels Symbols

When we buy a favorite or expensive item of clothing, do you check the wash label on the garment? Can you read the wash sign on it?Not being able to care for clothes is a terrible thing.Because it will greatly shorten the service life of clothes.

What does the symbol on the laundry label mean?

Laundry symbols are another language, and the washing instructions symbols on the care labels on your clothes will tell you how to care, how to wash and dry, and additional information about bleaching and ironing.The following information will help you understand what these symbols mean when you see an icon you don’t recognize.

Washing symbols 

The right temperature and wash cycle are important for good laundry performance and can even prevent clothes from being damaged.  The laundry symbol below can give you an idea of temperature, denoted by points in the bucket water symbol, while the different cycle types are denoted by bathtubs, with one or two lines drawn below.

Washing cycle symbols

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Washing temperature symbols

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Washing machine symbols

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Drying Symbols

Drying is an important part of the laundry care process, but we’ve all heard those horror stories of cashmere sweaters being washed up to three sizes too small. 

Knowing the dryer’s logo, such as a square with a circle in the middle that allows the tumble dryer to dry, can help you avoid putting the wrong clothes in the tumble dryer.Other symbols can give you additional information, such as a square with a horizontal line in the middle that means you should leave your clothes flat in the sun, or a twisted symbol crossed out that tells you not to wring out your clothes.The temperature is determined by increasing the number of dots in the circle.

General drying symbols

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Drying temperature symbols

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If there is a circle inside the square on the care label, your items can be tumble dried. 

The more dots on the iron symbol indicates the temperature that can be applied: 

1 point = low temperature 

2 points = medium temperature 

3 points = high temperature 

If there is a cross on the drum drying symbol, you should not drum dry the item. 

Drum dry cleaning logo

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A symbol for bleaching.

If you want to use bleach, you should look at the fabric label of the garment to see if there is a bleach logo, represented by a triangle, or more importantly a no bleach logo, a crossed out triangle.  Recognizing these signs can prevent your clothes from being permanently damaged by chlorine bleach 

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Symbol of ironing

Some fabrics look great after ironing, but some fabrics, like more delicate ones, can be damaged.Even some fabrics need special care when pressed. 

For example, if you want to iron your new shirt and want to know if it’s safe to iron, pay attention to the iron symbol on the garment.Use a small iron symbol with a dot in the middle to represent temperature, as shown in the picture below. 

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Hand washing

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If the tub on the care label has hands, your items can be washed by hand, or placed in a 40°C/104°F or lower wash cycle. 

Hand washing is more suitable for delicate garments such as cashmere or silk because it is gentle and prevents shrinkage or scratches. 

If there is a twist on the care label, your item can be twisted. 

If there is a cross on the twisted symbol on the care label, the item should not be tightened.

Synthetic washing

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If your care label has a bathtub logo, your items can be washed in the washing machine. 

The number on the bucket symbol represents the highest temperature that can be applied. 

More bars under the tub means less spinning and rinsing: 

Rodless: Items can be spun and rinsed normally. 

1 bar: Rotation speed needs to be reduced. 

Two: gently washed, but can be spun and rinsed normally. 

If there’s a cross on the bathtub symbol, you shouldn’t wash this thing.

What do symbols on care labels mean?

There are five basic categories of symbols: 

Washing: a trapezoidal tub with squiggly lines representing water. 

Bleach: a triangle. 

Dry: square. 

Iron: iron. 

Professional textile care: round. 

What is the symbol for not using a softener? 

There’s actually no sign that says don’t use fabric softener.  In general, it is best to avoid fabric softeners for all perspiration wicking fabrics, as well as Gore-Tex® and other waterproof/breathable fabrics.  When it comes to putting these products in the right place, the general guidelines include three symbols.

When shouldn’t YOU use fabric softener? 

While it may be tempting to wash or dry smelly sportswear with fabric softener, don’t — if the sportswear is made of fabrics with good moisture absorption, our experts say it could do more harm than good.  “The coating left behind by the fabric softener can impair the core absorption of these fabrics,” Explains Richardson.  

American Care Labeling System 

According to the FEDERAL Trade Commission’s Attention Label rules, attention labels can consist of words or symbols.  Whether the content is text, symbols, or a combination of both, the notes appear in the following order: 

Machine wash/hand wash/dry clean 

Washing temperature (hot/warm/cold) 

Washing machine program (fine/constant pressure/normal cycle) 

Bleaching instructions (no bleaching/chlorine-free bleaching/chlorine-free bleaching) 

Drying method (roll dry/line dry/flat dry/drop dry) 

Iron (no pressing/cold pressing/warm pressing/hot pressing)


Specification for fabric properties 

The first visual performance code is created to highlight specific attributes or qualities of the fabric.  These are value-added features of the fabric that buyers may or may not see.

The European Care Labelling System

Eu commissions are working with other international bodies to review existing standards for care labelling in order to create a unified system under the ISO programme. 

Logos used in Europe are registered under the GENETEX trademark and a trademark fee is payable to GENETEX, the trademark holder, if the garment is to be sold in GENETEX countries. 

Proper care labels in European countries are required to contain at least four or five symbols in the following order :1) washing, 2) bleaching, 3) ironing, 4) dry cleaning and 5) drying. 

The Canadian Care Labelling System

Until July 1973, nursing labeling was not a legal requirement in Canada.  After this date, a new care labelling system was introduced.  The new Canadian care symbol system uses green (continue), amber (warning), and red (do not try) with five symbols, wash tub, bleach triangle, square dryer, ironing, and dry cleaning rings.  In 2003, Canada’s system was updated to harmonize with North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and (ISO) standards, and color coding was discontinued. 

The International Care Labelling System

The International Textile Care Labeling Association (GINETEX) is the world organization that regulates care labeling since 1975. 

The members of GINETEX are Belgium, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Israel, Austria, Switzerland and Spain.

Its objectives are: 

Consumers are informed of the correct care label for textiles through a unified and simple care label symbol system independent of language 

Implementing and promoting voluntary care labelling on an international basis through GINETEX’s uniform logo, thereby avoiding the use of different systems 

The GINETEX care labelling system is based on the following principles: 

The care symbol provides information about the maximum type of treatment allowed 

Note that the symbols must be used in their entirety in the prescribed order 

Care labels must be clear, easy to understand, easy to use and not dependent on any particular language 

Be careful not to leave room for misunderstanding by consumers 

Uniform positioning of labels and coordinated use of care symbols 

A unified care labeling system using symbols must take into account consumer habits without using complex technical data 

Appliances used for textile care purposes must ensure the best implementation of the recommended care treatment

In order to keep up with current technological and economic developments, the necessary adjustments must be made as far as possible, rather than using new symbols and additions within the framework of the existing system

Five basic symbols are used in the International care labelling system in this order:

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Note: The symbols for the International Care Labelling System are the same as those listed in the European Care Labelling System.

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