So you want to keep your clothes in tip top shape do you? Say goodbye to shrunk woolly jumpers and discoloured shirts. Let us explain what all those hieroglyphics means on your clothing care labels.
Clothing care labels will tell you what fabric your garment is made from and include at least 4 symbols to give guidance on washing, bleaching, drying and ironing (in that order). They will normally come with a recommended washing temperature as well.
There are lots of different symbols but they can be grouped into 5 main categories:
If any of the symbols have a big X through them like this:
It means DON'T carry out that action.
Washing tub icon - On its own this symbol indicates that your garment can be washed in a washing machine on a standard cycle.
Washing tun icon with a single bar underneath - The bar is a warning that this garment needs gentler treatment. This normally means a washing cycle with less agitation and lower spin speeds.
Washing tub icon with a double bar underneath - Two bars indicate even more gentle washing is required. It is usually present on delicate garments made from wool or silk and items that may be damaged if they go through a higher speed cycle, such as a sequined top.
Washing tub icon with number inside - The number indicates the MAX temperature that you should wash the garment at. The temperature range normally goes from 30℃ all the way up to 95℃.
Washing tub icon with a hand - Signifies that the garment should be hand washed only. It also means that a garment shouldn't be washing in water over 40℃, not that you would want to go much over this temp if you are sticking your hands in!
Washing symbol with a cross - Do not wash this garment in you washing machine, it needs to be taken to a professional and dry cleaned.
Triangle - means it is safe to use bleach on the garment as long as it had been diluted in room temperature water.
Triangle with two lines - Only a non-chlorine bleach should be used. The bleach container will have the ingredients listed on the back and inform you if chlorine is present or not.
Triangle with a cross - Do not use bleach on this item of clothing.
Circle inside a square - It is safe to place this item in a tumble dryer.
Circle inside a square and a single bar underneath - The bar is a warning that this garment needs gentler treatment. This normally means a drying cycle with less heat and lower spin speeds.
Circle inside a square and two bars underneath - The extra bar warns that this garment needs even gentler treatment. This normally means selecting a delicate cycle with even less heat and lower spin speeds.
Solid circle inside a square - You can tumble dry the garment but do not apply heat. There is normally a setting on your machine for this, or it could be indicated as "air only".
Circle inside a square with a cross - Do not place the garment in a tumble dryer. It needs to drip dry only.
Semi-circle inside a square - You should dry your garments outside on a clothes line.
Square with 2 diagonal lines in the corner - Your garment should be hung in the shade and out of the way of direct sunlight.
Square with horizontal line inside - Indicates that you should lay your garment flat, doing so will help it to keep wrinkles and creases to a minimum.
Square with 3 vertical lines inside - It is safe to drip dry your garments on a simple clothes horse/dryer.
Iron symbol, one dot - Use the low temperature setting on your iron, normally around 110C. Delicate garments like wool or silk will have this symbol.
Iron symbol, two dots - You can increase the temperate to around 150-180C which will be the medium setting on your iron. Commonly seen on garments made of synthetic material.
Iron symbol, three dots - The highest temperature can be used on these garments (200C), normally found on garmetns made from cotton and linen.
Iron symbol with a cross - Do not use an iron on this garment.
Circle - This garment is dry clean only.
Circle with a cross - Do not dry clean this garment
Circles with letters or lines in the bottom corner - For use by professional dry cleaners, indicates the type of chemicals and heat ranges to use on the garments.