Those little washing symbols on your clothes are trying to tell you something: figure out the washing instructions on the labels, and you'll be able to keep your clothes in the best possible condition for as long as possible.
Everyone has experienced the pain of taking a favorite item out of the washing machine only to discover that it is now shrunken, loose, faded or damaged.
While they may seem confusing at first, knowing what the different washing symbols mean will make washing easier and prevent you from ruining more clothes.
Understanding washing symbols
Any care label for your garment must indicate what fabric it is made of and have at least four symbols that advise you about washing, bleaching, drying and ironing (in that order). Many also come with a recommended temperature.
While we go into detail and break down the most common symbols below, as a general rule of thumb:
The washing tub symbols cover everything related to washing (including hand and machine washing)
The triangles tell you something about fading: if you can and what kind of fading makes sense
The squares refer to how the item should be dried.
A stirrup icon provides information on (you guessed it) the most suitable stirrup configuration
The circles inform you about the dry cleaning of your garment
In almost all cases, any of the above symbols with a cross or X means that you should not take that action.
What brand of dishwasher tablets do you usually buy?
Are you ready to crack laundry labels once and for all? Let's get stuck.
Basic washing instructions on care labels
tub icon:Described as a stylized tub filled with water, it means your garment is machine washable. This also generally means that the laundry can be spun and rinsed normally (or on the synthetics programme).
Sink icon with a line below:A single bar below the standard wash symbol indicates that the garment is 'permanent press', which means that the fabrics have been treated with chemicals to ensure they do not wrinkle and retain their original shape. This also means that the spin speed will need to be reduced (if your washer has a 'continuous pressure' setting, be sure to use this, as it also starts a cold rinse cycle before spinning to maintain continuous pressure).
Wash tub icon with two dashes below:The delicate cycle symbol is two dashes below the normal cycle symbol. It typically appears on labels for delicate fibers like wool or silk, or for garments that can be damaged by heavy washing (such as sequined tops, socks, or spandex). It should be washed and spun on the gentle, delicate, or wool cycle.
Dice symbol with a number on it:This tells you the maximum temperature the garment should be observed at and can range from 30°C to 95°C.
One Hand Wash Tub Symbol:The hand wash icon is the standard sink icon with one hand on top. If the label of your garment bears this symbol, you should not use a washing machine. Instead, you will have to wash your garment by hand; Don't worry, it's not as difficult as you think. Our hand washing guide will help you with that.
Washing symbol with a cross on it:If the standard wash symbol has an X, this means you should not wash the item, it may need to be dry cleaned after it has become soiled; see our Dry Cleaning Symbols section below.
washing temperature symbols
Is there a dot in your wash symbol? This gives you the maximum temperature recommended by the clothing manufacturer to wash your clothes. It can vary between 30°C and 95°C.
One point: 30°C
Three points: 50°C
Four points: 60°C
Five points: 70°C
Six points: 95°C
Alternatively, some labels simply show the symbol for the tub with a number indicating the maximum temperature.
Do not forget that you can always wash your clothes at a temperature lower than that indicated on the label.
Wash clothes without a dryer? Look for potential twist symbols on your care label.
twisted towel:When you see the towel symbol on a garment, it means that it is safe to wring out excess water.
Twisted towel icon with a cross:Some items are very delicate and can be damaged by twisting. If you see the twist symbol with an X, it means you should avoid twisting or twisting them.
This is usually the next symbol on the care label and is almost always a variant of a triangle.
A simple triangle:If you see a triangle, it means you can use a cool, dilute bleach solution on your clothes if needed.
A triangle with two lines:A triangle filled with diagonal lines means that only non-chlorine bleach should be used. Check the ingredients of the bleach to see if they contain chlorine.
A filled triangle with a cross above it:This stands for "no bleach" - you should not attempt to use any type of bleach on this garment.
As with the washing symbols, the number of dots inside the circle indicates the temperature you should set the dryer to, as well as any specific program settings required.
A square with three vertical lines on it:When you see this icon, it means the garment needs to be allowed to dry (usually in a row).
A circle in a square:This is the basic symbol for machine drying and means that you can dry your laundry safely.
A circle in a square with a line below:As before, a single line below the default dry symbol means the item is "permanently printed". So use this setting if your machine has it.
A closed circle in a square:A large filled circle in a square indicates that you can dry your garment without heat (or on an "air only" setting if your machine has one).
A circle in a square with one, two, or three dots in the middle:As with the washing symbols, the number of dots inside the circle indicates the temperature at which you should set the dryer: one dot means a low temperature, two for a slightly higher temperature, and three means you can dry the garment on the dryer. high temperature.
A circle in a square with a cross above it:If the standard dry symbol is marked with an X, it means that washing should not be tested. Usually this means letting it dry on a clothesline or out in the open on a clothesline.
Line drying icons
Some items cannot be tumble dried and are better suited for drying outdoors or indoors on a drying rack.
A semicircle in a square:This means that the clothes can be hung outdoors on a clothesline.
A square with two diagonal lines in the upper corner:Again, this refers to line drying, but means the item should be dried in the shade, away from direct sunlight.
A square with a single horizontal line in it:This means that you need to lay out the garment to dry (which can often help the garment hold its shape).
To make life easier, the iron icon is in the shape of an old iron.
The griddle icons also use the same scoring system for heat levels that should be adjustable on your griddle. (Don't you want to iron your clothes? OursThe best tricks to iron less clothesare here to help).
Parenthesis symbol with dot:A dot within the standard ironing symbol means that the garment should be ironed at a low temperature (ideally below 110ºC). You usually find it on delicate fabrics like silk or wool.
Bracket symbol with two dots:The colon indicates that the garment should be ironed at a medium temperature (approx. 150°C to 180°C), which is more common with synthetic fabrics.
Three-dot bracket symbol:This means that the garment can be ironed at a high temperature (over 200º), which is normally found on fabrics such as cotton and linen.
Symbol crossed out:If the standard ironing symbol contains an X, it means that the item should not be ironed.
Chemical cleaning symbols
A simple circle:This means that the garment is only suitable for dry cleaning or dry cleaning.
A circle with a letter inside:If there is a letter inside the circle (usually an A, F, or P), the professional dry cleaner will know which dry cleaning method to use.
A circle with a line in the lower left or lower right corner:Again, this is designed to be useful for professional dry cleaning. A line in the lower left corner means a short cycle and in the lower right corner indicates low heat.
A circle with an X on it:If your garment is circled with an X, it means it should not be dry cleaned. wash clothes properly
A good laundry routine starts on the label and continues in the machine. it's important to knowhow to use the washing machine correctlyand learningWhat do the wash settings on a washing machine mean?so that you can optimally adapt the care instructions on the labels to your machine.