Many consumers pay little or no attention to the laundry symbols on their clothing even when by law, cloth makers are mandated to display them. Laundry symbols are symbols that are often displayed on labels sewed into our clothing that tells us the maker’s recommended method of washing and ironing for the clothing that will ensure that its fabric provide us with lasting value.
The reason why some of our clothing do not last is because we simply do know value or follow the instructions and warning these symbols try to pass across.
Professional launderers have no excuse not to know what these symbols stand for and so look out for them. We know however that in our environment, not many would be able to pass this test. We presume too much and so deprive ourselves of the full benefit of what we spend our hard earned money on.
Even though these symbols are diverse and may differ in design and details based on region and countries, the ideas behind them are basically the same.
Washing Laundry Symbols
These symbols cover 5 broad laundry steps/processes namely
- Professional Cleaning (e.g. Dry Cleaning)
The symbol used is most generally that of a washtub or bucket filled with water. The standard laundry symbols and their meanings are contained in the table below.
Machine Wash, Normal (no bar underneath)
This means the clothing can be washed with a machine. Inside the normal symbol will be other symbols indicating the temperature or machine setting for the clothing
Machine Wash, Normal (no bar underneath) with Temperature indicator
Inside the ‘Normal Wash’ symbol, there will either be a temperature value or 1 to 6 dots signifying temperature ranges.
Machine Wash, Permanent Press (single bar underneath)
Permanent Press fabrics have been treated with chemicals to ensure they resist wrinkles and retain their original shape. If a piece of clothing is permanent press, it usually means that you shouldn’t iron it.
Machine Wash, Gentle or Delicate (double bars underneath)
The gentle cycle is for delicate fibres like wool or silk, or for items of clothing that could be damaged by a vigorous washing (like sequined tops, tights, or Lycra).
Means do not use a washing machine. Instead wash garments in a sink or small tub using water, detergent or soap and gentle hand manipulation
Do Not Wash
Garment may not be safely laundered by any process. Normally accompanied by Dry Clean instructions.
The symbol used is most generally that of a triangle. The standard laundry symbols and their meanings are contained in the table below.
Drying (Tumble and Natural)
The symbol used is most generally that of a square. The standard laundry symbols and their meanings are contained in the table below.
The symbol used is most generally that of a pressing iron which means the clothing can be ironed. The standard laundry symbols and their meanings are contained in the table below.
The symbol used is most generally that of a circle with or without letters inside. The laundry standard symbols and their meanings are contained in the table below.