Laundry Labels Explained

Laundry Labels Explained

Are you well versed in your laundry labels or are you more of a chuck it all in at 30 kind of person? If you’ve ever looked at your clothes labels and had no idea what the symbols mean this guide is for you. From washing to bleaching and ironing those little symbols are trying to tell you something so let us help you decipher them.

What do the washing symbols on clothing labels mean?

The first lot of symbols you will usually see on your clothing are the washing symbols, these tell you what setting to wash your clothes on to keep them in the best condition.

washing symbols

Washing symbols usually resemble a bowl of water, if there is a number inside the symbol this shows the temperature to wash at. If there is a single line below the bowl it means the item should be washed on a synthetics setting. If there are two lines below the bowl the item should be washed on a gentle/delicates/wool setting. A hand above the bowl shows that the item should be hand washed rather than machine washed. If there is a cross over the whole symbol it means that the clothing should not be washed at all. A slightly less common symbol is the do not wring symbol, this may be because the fabric would loose its shape if wringed out.

Bleaching symbols

After the washing symbols you may also see bleaching symbols. These tell you whether it is safe to bleach your clothes.

bleaching symbols

Bleaching rules are represented by triangles, just a triangle on it’s own means that it is safe to bleach the garment. If the Triangle has two lines inside it this means it can be bleached but only with non-chlorine bleach. If there is a cross over the triangle this means the garment should not be bleached.

Drying symbols

Another important group of symbols is the drying symbols, if you’ve ever accidentally shrunk a beloved jumper then you will know how important it is to check these symbols.

Drying symbols

Tumble drying is depicted with a circle inside a box, a circle on its own in a box means the garment is suitable for tumble drying at any temperature. If the circle has a single dot in the middle it means the garment needs to be tumble dried on a low heat, two dots is a medium heat and three is on high heat. If the circle and box have a line underneath it means it needs to be dried on the permanent press/synthetic setting, if there are two lines underneath the box and circle then it will be the delicate/gentle setting. When the box and circle have a cross over them it means the garment is not suitable for tumble drying.

Drying symbols also show if the items need to be specially air-dried. A box with three vertical lines illustrates that the garment needs to be drip dried. If the box has a single horizontal line it needs to be dried flat. If there is a semi-circle in the top of the box it needs to be hung while drying.

Ironing symbols

If you like to have a smart and sleek finish to your clothing you will want to know the ironing requirements for your clothing, read on to decipher the symbols.

Ironing symbols

The ironing symbol is one of the more obvious as it is an icon shaped like an iron, the number of dots inside the iron tells you how hot the iron needs to be. One dot means iron on a cool heat (maximum 110°c), two dots means iron on a medium heat (maximum 150°c) and three dots means iron on a high heat (maximum 200°c). If there is a cross over the iron this means the garment should not be ironed and if the iron has a cross underneath it this means the garment can be ironed but without steam.

Dry Cleaning Symbols

Some clothes need a little extra care for cleaning so need to be given to the professionals. Dry cleaning symbols tell you whether you need to dry clean your clothes and give the dry cleaners the information they need on the kind of chemicals to use in the process.

dry cleaning symbols

A single circle means that your item is dry clean only. The letters inside the circle tell the dry cleaner what kind of solvents to use. A circle with a cross through it means do not dry clean.  


Now that you are armed with all the knowledge to keep your clothes ship-shape is it time to update your laundry set up? Take a look at laundry appliances here

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