The Laundry Symbol Mystery

900px-Read-Clothing-Care-Labels-Step-1[1]Recently, on a clothes shopping trip, I overheard a customer asking a sales associate what the laundering symbols on the clothes label meant. Neither could determine how the garment should be laundered other than it was not to be hand washed or dry cleaned. And of course, the final, why do they not just print it on the label? It was reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that the average American spent $1,786 on apparel and services related to the apparel. That amount increased by $186 from 2013. That is quite an investment in clothing! I have to admit, I too, at times have to reference my handy laundry guide that I keep taped to the inside of a cabinet door in the laundry room to be certain I do not ruin a new garment I recently purchased. As much as we invest in clothing, it is important to follow the laundering guidelines to keep those garments looking new. A good practice to familiarize yourself with the symbols would be to review them as you prepare to wash and reference the guide to help ensure you have learned the meaning of the most common symbols. Below is a detailed guide to assist you from textilesaffairs.com. There is a condensed version available from Textile Affairs you can access as well.

 

Care Symbol Written Care Instructions What Care Symbol and Instructions Mean
Wash
Machine Wash, Normal Garment may be laundered through the use of hottest available water, detergent or soap, agitation, and a machine designed for this purpose.
Machine Wash, Cold Initial water temperature should not exceed 30C or 65 to 85F.
Machine Wash, Warm Initial water temperature should not exceed 40C or 105F.
Machine Wash, Hot Initial water temperature should not exceed 50C or 120F.
Machine Wash, Hot Initial water temperature should not exceed 60C or 140F.
Machine Wash, Hot Initial water temperature should not exceed 70C or 160F.
Machine Wash, Hot Initial water temperature should not exceed 95C or 200F.
NOTE: SYSTEM OF DOTS INDICATING TEMPERATURE RANGE IS THE SAME FOR ALL WASH PROCEDURES.
Machine Wash, Permanent Press Garment may be machine laundered only on the setting designed to preserve Permanent Press with cool down or cold rinse prior to reduced spin.
Machine Wash, Gentle or Delicate Garment may be machine laundered only on the setting designed for gentle agitation and/or reduced time for delicate items.
Hand Wash Garment may be laundered through the use of water, detergent or soap and gentle hand manipulation.
Do Not Wash Garment may not be safely laundered by any process. Normally accompanied by Dry Clean instructions.
Bleach
NOTE: All (98+%) washable textiles are safe in some type of bleach. IF BLEACH IS NOT MENTIONED OR REPRESENTED BY A SYMBOL, ANY BLEACH MAY BE USED.
Bleach When Needed Any commercially available bleach product may be used in the laundering process.
Non-Chlorine Bleach When Needed Only a non-chlorine, color-safe bleach may be used in the laundering process. Chlorine bleach may not be used.
Do Not Bleach No bleach product may be used. The garment is not colorfast or structurally able to withstand any bleach.
Dry
Tumble Dry, Normal A machine dryer may be regularly used at the hottest available temperature setting.
Tumble Dry, Normal, Low Heat A machine dryer may be regularly used at a maximum of Low Heat setting.
Tumble Dry, Normal, Medium Heat A machine dryer may be regularly used at a maximum of Medium Heat setting.
Tumble Dry, Normal, High Heat A machine dryer may be regularly used at a High Heat setting.
Tumble Dry, Normal, No Heat A machine dryer may be regularly used only at No Heat or Air Only setting.
NOTE: SYSTEM OF DOTS INDICATING TEMPERATURE RANGE IS THE SAME FOR ALL DRY PROCEDURES.
Tumble Dry, Permanent Press A machine dryer may be regularly used only at the Permanent Press setting.
Tumble Dry, Gentle A machine dryer may be regularly used only at the Gentle setting.
Do Not Tumble Dry A machine dryer may not be used. Usually accompanied by an alternate drying method symbol.
Do Not Dry A machine dryer may not be used. Usually accompanied by an alternate drying method symbol.
Line Dry Hang damp garment from line or bar, in or out doors.
Drip Dry Hang dripping wet garment from line or bar, in or out doors, without hand shaping or smoothing.
Dry Flat Lay out horizontally for drying.
Dry In Shade Usually added to Line or Drip Dry. Dry away from direct sunlight.
Wring [Home]  [Top]
Do Not Wring Do Not Wring.
Iron [Home]  [Top]
NOTE: IF IRONING IS NOT A NECESSARY, REGULAR CARE PROCEDURE IT NEED NOT BE MENTIONED.
Iron, Any Temperature, Steam or Dry Regular ironing may be needed and may be performed at any available temperature with or without steam is acceptable.
Iron, Low Regular ironing, steam or dry, may be performed at Low setting (110C, 230F) only.
Iron, Medium Regular ironing, steam or dry, may be performed at Medium setting (150C, 300F).
Iron, High Regular ironing, steam or dry, may be performed at High setting (200C, 290F).
NOTE: SYSTEM OF DOTS INDICATING TEMPERATURE RANGE IS THE SAME FOR ALL IRONING PROCEDURES.
Do Not Steam Steam ironing will harm garment, but regular dry ironing at indicated temperature setting is acceptable.
Do Not Iron Item may not be smoothed or finished with an iron.
Dryclean [Home]  [Top]
Dryclean Dry Clean, any solvent, any cycle any moisture, any heat.
Dryclean, Any Solvent Dry Clean, any solvent. Usually used with other restrictions on proper dry cleaning procedure.
Dryclean, Petroleum Solvent Only Dry Clean using only petroleum solvent. Usually used with other restrictions.
Dryclean, Any Solvent Except Trichloroethylene Any dry cleaning solvent other than trichloroethylene may be safely used.
Dryclean, Short Cycle May be used with A, P, or F solvent restriction.
Dryclean, Reduced Moisture May be used with A, P, or F solvent restriction.
Dryclean, Low Heat May be used with A, P, or F solvent restriction.
Dryclean, No Steam May be used with A, P, or F solvent restriction.
Do Not Dryclean Garment may not be commercially drycleaned.

 

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