How to Read Clothing Care Labels

Clothing care labels are pictograms required on labels of garments (and other fabric items) by law in many countries. They are an important part of ensuring that your garment is treated properly when laundering, ironing, and drying, so as to prolong its useful life. While the labels are meant to be fairly straightforward, they're not always clear and it's handy to have a one-stop place to find the meanings.


Note: There are different labeling schemes in different countries but there is a generalized shift to international labeling, especially given the global reach of most clothing brands and manufacturers nowadays.

Steps

  1. Image titled Read Clothing Care Labels Step 1
    1
    Learn how to read the labels used for washing clothes. Recommended washing instructions are provided on many garments, including whether the item should be hand-washed only, dry-cleaned only, or is able to be washed in the washing machine.
    • This symbol means washing.
      Image titled Read Clothing Care Labels Step 1Bullet1
    • This symbol means that the item should be washed at 30ºC. Other same symbols with a number denote the temperature stated, for example 40 = 40ºC, 50 = 50ºC, etc.
      Image titled Read Clothing Care Labels Step 1Bullet2
    • This symbol means that the item should be hand washed only. The temperature should not be above 40ºC.
      Image titled Read Clothing Care Labels Step 1Bullet3
    • This symbol means that the item should not be washed, at least not using domestic washing techniques.
      Image titled Read Clothing Care Labels Step 1Bullet4
  2. Image titled Read Clothing Care Labels Step 2
    2
    Learn how to read the labels used for bleaching your clothes. Instructions for bleaching clothing include whether or not the garment can be bleached.
    • This symbol means that the item can be bleached. The bleach types allowed are chlorine or oxygen based.
      Image titled Read Clothing Care Labels Step 2Bullet1
    • This symbol means that bleaching with oxygen is allowed.
      Image titled Read Clothing Care Labels Step 2Bullet2
    • This symbol means that the item should not be bleached.
      Image titled Read Clothing Care Labels Step 2Bullet3
  3. Image titled Read Clothing Care Labels Step 3
    3
    Learn how to read the labels used for drying garments. Drying instructions cover whether or not the item can be placed in the dryer, line-dried, or drip dried.
    • This symbol means a tumble dryer.
      Image titled Read Clothing Care Labels Step 3Bullet1
    • This symbol means that the tumble dryer can be used at a low temperature.
      Image titled Read Clothing Care Labels Step 3Bullet2
    • This symbol means that the tumble dryer can be used at a normal temperature.
      Image titled Read Clothing Care Labels Step 3Bullet3
    • This symbol means that the item should not be dried using a tumble dryer.
      Image titled Read Clothing Care Labels Step 3Bullet4
    • This symbol means natural drying.
      Image titled Read Clothing Care Labels Step 3Bullet5
    • This symbol means line drying. The garment can/should be hung on a clothes line to dry.
      Image titled Read Clothing Care Labels Step 3Bullet6
    • This symbol means that the item should be dried flat.
      Image titled Read Clothing Care Labels Step 3Bullet7
    • This symbol means that the item needs to be drip dried.
      Image titled Read Clothing Care Labels Step 3Bullet8
    • This symbol means that the item should be dried in the shade.
      Image titled Read Clothing Care Labels Step 3Bullet9
    • This symbol means that the item should be line dried in the shade.
      Image titled Read Clothing Care Labels Step 3Bullet10
    • This symbol means that the item should be dried flat in the shade.
      Image titled Read Clothing Care Labels Step 3Bullet11
    • This symbol means that the item should drip dried in the shade.
      Image titled Read Clothing Care Labels Step 3Bullet12
  4. Image titled Read Clothing Care Labels Step 4
    4
    Learn how to read the labels used for ironing garments. The ironing instructions provide a guide as to how to iron the clothing including temperature and when it should not be ironed.
    • This symbol means an iron.
      Image titled Read Clothing Care Labels Step 4Bullet1
    • This symbol means that the item should be ironed at a low temperature.
      Image titled Read Clothing Care Labels Step 4Bullet2
    • This symbol means that the item should be ironed at a medium temperature.
      Image titled Read Clothing Care Labels Step 4Bullet3
    • This symbol means that the item should be ironed at a high temperature.
      Image titled Read Clothing Care Labels Step 4Bullet4
    • This symbol means that the item should not be ironed.
      Image titled Read Clothing Care Labels Step 4Bullet5

Tips

  • There are also symbols for dry cleaning requirements, such as use of solvents, laundrette machines, difficulty of cleaning, etc.
  • Written instructions are also often provided along with the symbols, usually in the language(s) of the country of sale.

Things You'll Need

  • Labels on clothing/other fabric items

Sources and Citations

Article Info

Categories: Laundry