Laundry Symbols: A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Your Clothes’ Care Labels

Laundry symbols can often be confusing, but understanding what they mean can help you take better care of your clothes and avoid damage. Here is an expert guide to what the most common laundry symbols mean:

  1. Washing symbols:
    • Wash tub symbol: This symbol indicates the recommended washing temperature. The numbers inside the wash tub symbol indicate the maximum wash temperature in degrees Celsius.
    • Hand wash symbol: This symbol indicates that the garment should be washed by hand in cold or lukewarm water.
    • Do not wash symbol: This symbol indicates that the garment should not be washed.
  2. Bleaching symbols:
    • Triangle symbol: This symbol indicates whether or not the garment can be bleached. An empty triangle means it can be whitened with chlorine bleach, while a triangle with diagonal lines means it cannot be breached.
    • Non-chlorine bleach symbol: This symbol indicates that the garment can be bleached with non-chlorine bleach.
  3. Drying symbols:
    • Tumble dry symbol: This symbol indicates whether or not the garment can be tumble dry. A circle in the square symbol means it can be tumble dried, while a circle with a cross through it means it cannot.
    • Drip dry symbol: This symbol indicates that the garment should be hung up to dry.
    • Dry flat symbol: This symbol indicates that the garment should be laid flat to dry.
    • Do not tumble dry symbol: This symbol indicates that the garment should not be tumble dry.
  4. Ironing symbols:
    • Iron symbol: This symbol indicates whether or not the garment can be ironed. The number of dots inside the iron symbol indicates the maximum temperature at which the garment can be ironed.
    • Do not iron symbol: This symbol indicates that the garment should not be ironed.
  5. Dry cleaning symbols:
    • Circle symbol: This symbol indicates whether or not the garment can be dry-cleaned. The letters inside the circle indicate the type of solvent that should be used.
    • Do not dry clean symbol: This symbol indicates that the garment should not be dry cleaned.

It’s important to note that some garments may have additional symbols, such as “wash with like colors” or “do not wring.” Always check the care label on your clothes before washing, drying, or ironing them, and follow the instructions carefully to avoid damage.

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