We have all had the experience at least once – we have removed an item of clothing from the washing machine only to find that it has shrunken, discolored or been damaged! It’s at this point when you wish you had paid more attention to that label on the inside of your favorite garment.
At Clean Laundry, we want to save you time by doing your laundry with us in under an hour, but we also want to help you really care for your clothing, bedding and linens.
Here is a guide for reading labels with both written and symbol instructions.
Most clothing labels have written instructions. These can be pretty easy to follow. Some manufacturers will add symbols along with the written instructions.
You will find a care label in several different locations. Most common is on the inside collar of a shirt, dress or jacket. They can also be found inside the inner right seam of your garment.
Written instructions will say to machine wash in whatever temperature is advisable according to your fabric. On labels that add symbols, you will find one that looks like a cup with a wavy line. This indicates water.
You may even find tags that have dots and lines under the symbol, this indicates water temperature setting. One dot indicates cold water, two is for warm water, and three dots are for hot water. One line under the machine wash symbol indicates permanent press and two lines under the image means gentle cycle. If you notice an X across the machine symbol, this means do not wash and a picture of a hand on the wash symbol indicates the item must be hand washed.
If an item is bleach safe your care label with instruct you to use chlorine bleach or non-chlorine bleach as needed. A triangle on the label indicates you can use bleach. A triangle with lines or filled in triangle indicates to use non-chlorine bleach. A black triangle with an X on it indicates not to use bleach.
Most care labels will indicate to tumble dry on low, medium or high heat. Some garments require air dry, line dry or dry flat. A square symbol indicates instructions for drying. A label that has a square with a circle in it means you can put the item in the dryer. If the circle is black, then only tumble dry with no heat.
A small single dot indicates using low heat. Two dots for medium heat, three for high heat setting. A curved line across the top of the symbol means line dry. Three vertical lines indicates line dry and a horizontal dash indicates the item should be dried flat.
Most written instructions will indicate iron as needed. If a symbol is present, it will actually look like an iron. One dot on the iron means low heat setting. Two dots medium, and three dots for high heat setting. Do not use an iron if you see an X on the iron symbol.
It’s About Time,