A Guide To Laundry Symbols - Find Out What These Laundry Symbols Mean (2023)

You know those hieroglyph-like laundry symbols on clothing labels? They convey important information about cleanliness. Here's what they mean and how to use them.

A picture is worth a thousand words, but sometimes it's more confusing than text. That's twice as good if it's one of the many wash symbols on your care label. What are all those circles, squares and triangles and why should you care about them?

Clothing manufacturers use washing symbols to help you extend the life of your clothes. Sure, you might think you knowhow to wash clotheshow to use a washing machinehow to separate clothesand how to putliquid fabric softenerin the softener compartment. You can even use thosebest detergentand take the time to establish thiswashing temperature everything is fine. But this does not guarantee that your clothes will remain in the same condition, color or size.

"You risk destroying your clothes if you don't follow the washing instructions," says Alicia Sokolowski, president and co-CEO of Aspen Clean. “What could happen if you put a dry-cleaned garment in the washing machine? Clothing can shrink not just a little, but significantly. Woolen clothes can shrink two to three sizes or more, and curtains can shrink up to half a size.” Rather than making it a guessing game, no, this is not an envelope suggesting you mail the item to your mother for cleaning; It's the sign of hanging dry. We asked experts to decipher the most common washing instruction symbols. Here's your complete laundry symbol guide, complete with laundry symbol tables.

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What are the international laundry symbols?

As people wash clothes around the world, the industry has created a pattern of five basic symbols that form a sort of universal language. To make it even easier, clothing symbols always appear in the same order on a tag. From left to right they are:

  • vat (wash)
  • triangle (bleach)
  • iron (iron)
  • circle (dry clean)
  • square (dry)

"As you go through the five basic international symbols, you'll start to see a pattern," said Annette Grant and Sarah Karakaian, full-time short-term rental managers and hosts of the Thank You For Visiting podcast. “It's like a language of its own, in which, for example, two lines below a symbol or three dots inside a symbol always mean the same thing. Once you learn this, you'll be mastering care labels in no time."

According to fashion stylist Leena Alsulaiman, one of the most important symbols is a capital X. "If a symbol is crossed out," he warns, "it's your sign."NOto do the thing.

Laundry symbols for machine washing clothes

Tub icon displays instructions for each step of the wash process, whether you are using a conventional wash or notIT washing machine. If the garment is machine washable, you will see dots or numbers on the inside that represent the maximum recommended water temperature.

  • Laundry with numbers:Since the temperature is displayed in degrees Celsius, the number 30 indicates a cold water wash, 40 a warm water wash, and 50 a hot water wash.
  • Laundry with points:The points inside the bathtub indicate the same as a number: the temperature of the water. The more points there are (there can be up to six), the higher the temperature. So if you see a single stain, wash your garment in cold water. However, if you see three dots, wash the garment in hot water.

Lines under the tub mean the laundry needs to be washed on a special cycle.

  • No Lines:normal wash cycle
  • A line:permanent print cycle
  • Two lines:Gentile cycle

"Remember, the more lines under the hull, the more careful you have to be," says Alsulaiman. Finally, if your laundry tub has an X on it, move away from the washer. It means "do not wash".

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Laundry symbols for washing clothes by hand

If you see a hand going into the tub, it means your laundry should only be hand washed. Do not put in the washing machine. Another washing symbol indicateshow to wash clothes by hand: If you see an icon that looks like candy wrapped in an X, don't twist or rotate the item. After washing your hands, gently squeeze out the water.

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Laundry symbols for whitening clothes

The triangle tells you everything you need to know about clothes fading. How to decipher the symbols:

  • empty triangle:You can use any type of bleach.
  • Triangle with two strokes:You can only use bleach without chlorine (or oxygen)
  • triangle with X:Bleach must not be used at all.

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Laundry symbols for drying clothes

Everything you need to know about drying an item is on the care label box. Be sure to check before throwing your clothes in the wash to avoid shrinkage, unless you do.try to shrink clothes. First, look for a circle in the square that says it's okay to tumble dry the item. If your square has a circle in the center and a cross, don't put the garment in the dryer.

As with the pan, the number of dots means the maximum temperature to be used:

  • A dot:Called
  • two points:warm up
  • Three points:warm

You may also notice lines under the square. As with the vat icon, these indicateset up dryerto use.

  • A line:permanent print cycle
  • Two lines:Gentile cycle

All of this explains how to dry an item (and when you should). But if your square doesn't have circles, it needs to be air dried. How to interpret the different symbols for air drying clothes:

  • A horizontal line:Lay flat to dry.
  • Three vertical lines:Hang it up to dry.
  • A square that looks like an envelope:dry ar.
  • Two diagonal lines:Dry it only in the shade.

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Laundry symbols for ironing clothes

With the plethora of wrinkle-free clothes, maybe you don't have to worry too much.How to remove wrinkles from clothes. But there comes a time when your clothes really need to be ironed. Iron is the most self-explanatory of all laundry symbols. Also here the number of dots indicates the maximum usable temperature.

  • A dot:fresco
  • two points:warm up
  • Three points:warm

And, of course, an X means no ironing. When it comes to wrinkles, theSteam vs IronThe debate boils down to the fabric and therefore the laundry symbols you see on the garment tag. The symbols below indicate whether or not you should steam a garment. (PS: Here it ishow to clean an ironso your clothes don't get damaged).

  • Three small bursts of steam below the iron symbol:It is safe to steam the garment.
  • An X on the iron with three bursts of steam:Avoid vaping.

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Laundry symbols for dry cleaning clothes

You can try your luck ondry cleaning at home, but chances are you'll want to leave that to the professionals, so pay attention to the clothing tag. The dry cleaning icon is a circle, and if it doesn't have an X, it means you can take it to the dry cleaning service. If the label says "Dry Clean Only," you should definitely take it to a dry cleaner. An item with this tag is one of theThings that should never end up in your washing machine.

Sometimes there are letters inside the circle, but don't worry about that. They specify the types of chemicals that can be used on a garment and are intended for use by professionals. Your cleaning will understand.

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