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Clothing care symbols explained


As we discussed in one of our previous posts, you can help your skirts, trousers, sweaters, and other items of clothing last longer if you follow certain basic rules. One way to prolong the lifespan of your clothes is to wash, dry, and iron them according to the instructions given on their labels. Unfortunately, we often ignore those manufacturers’ recommendations and only begin heeding them when our beautiful silk blouse or linen shirt turns into a rag after one washing session. To avoid frustration and save money, you should have a good look at the clothing care symbols on your things. We have described the most important of them for you below.

1. Washing


  • When you see this symbol in the form of a bucket with a wavy line, it means you are free to raise the water temperature in your washing machine to any available value. You can also use a detergent/soap and agitate the item without fearing to ruin it.


  • Within the normal washing symbol you may see either a temperature value or from one to six dots. Those indicate different initial water temperature limits.
    • One dot – the water shouldn’t be hotter than a value within the range 65 – 85F.
    • Two dots – wash your clothes in water that is 105F or less.
    • Three dots – up to 120F.
    • Four dots – washing clothes in the water that is 140F is recommended.
    • Five dots – 160F is the limit.
    • Six dots – 200F is allowed.
  • mw_ppres

    • The Permanent Press icon has one straight line beneath the bottom of the bucket on the normal wash symbol. It means that the manufacturer has added some chemical substances to the fabric in order to make it more wrinkle resistant. You may damage this item if you iron it, especially with a large heat setting.


    • This is one of the most important clothing care symbols because it warns you that the thin, delicate thing you are about to throw into the washer requires gentle agitation and a short washing session.

    one of the most important clothing care symbols

    • It’s obvious. The hand in the bucket means you shouldn’t even plug in your washer for this item. It can only be washed in a tub in the old-fashioned way: with your own hands. Rub the washing material into the item carefully and then rinse it out properly.


    • Finally, the cross on the bucket signifies that you should take the item to a dry cleaner. Otherwise, your washing machine will definitely put a cross on the thing.

    2. Ironing


    • The symbol with an iron as it looked a century ago gives you a complete freedom in how you press your clothes. Select any temperature and either use steam or do without it.


    • The dots within the iron, just like the dots within the washing bucket, represent different heat limits.
      • One dot – never set your iron higher than 230F.
      • Two dots – golden middle – the iron can’t be hotter than 300F.
      • Three dots – the highest possible temperature – around 390F.

      For all of those modes, you can either use steam or iron your clothes dry.


    • The cross on the iron must discourage you from trying to smooth over the wrinkles on the item with an iron regardless of a temperature setting.

    3. Drying


    • Seeing this circle inside a square, you know that nothing keeps you from heating up your dryer to any available limit.


    • The dots within the circle have the same significance as those for the other clothing care symbols.
      • One dot – up to the highest value for the low setting.
      • Two dots – up to the highest value for the medium setting.
      • Three dots – tumble drying at the highest temperature setting is possible.


      • Two lines under the tumble dry icon give you a signal that forgetting to set your dryer to the Gentle mode is the same as throwing your delicate item into a trash bin.


      • The cross over the tumble dry symbol on the label indicates that you should air the item either on a rack or clothesline in your backyard.

      4. Bleaching


      • An empty triangle – buy any kind of bleach for you clothes.


      • Two slanting lines instruct you to use bleach products without chlorine only. These products are color-safe.


      • As usual, a cross on any of the clothing care symbols forbids performing that specific action in general. In this case, no bleaching is allowed on the item as it’s considered not colorfast.

      5. Dry cleaning


      • No restrictions for dry cleaners: any temperature, moisture, or liquid for dissolving other substances.


      • The letter “P” indicates that dry cleaning can be conducted by using any dissolving liquid with the exception of trichloroethylene.


      • The letter “F” tells you that only a dissolving liquid with petroleum is good for dry cleaning the item.


      • The cross over symbol means that dry cleaning will damage the item.

      Those are the key clothing care symbols that are intended to help you keep your clothes in good shape. We recommend looking at the labels on your things before your wash, iron, or dry them.

      All of the images have been taken from http://www.textileaffairs.com/hirez.htm

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