Ever wondered about what those little symbols on your clothes’ manufacturer’s tags mean? We know they can look like another language, but they serve an essential purpose: to keep your clothes looking pristine as long as possible.
Those symbols tell you all you need to know about proper washing, drying, bleaching, and ironing. They can even inform you of the temperature and wash cycle recommended by the manufacturer. So if you’d like to know just how to interpret those symbols, keep reading because we have the answers.
Laundry Symbols Meaning
The labels we find on our clothing tags were originally created as part of the International Organization for Standardization, or the ISO. The symbols were chosen to universally convey information around the world. There are a few variations in Europe and Asia, the basic shapes we see on tags now transcend international borders.
Care labels are actually required by the government in the United States and several other countries to properly identify the fiber content of the garment and provide the best care instructions. The international community only uses five basic symbols for washing, drying, bleaching, ironing, and dry cleaning.
So, once you know the basic shapes, interpreting the rest of the instructions is actually pretty simple. To make sure you have all the right information, keep reading to find out how to best interpret your clothing’s care tag instructions.
Getting the water temperature and wash cycle right is essential for clean, fresh-smelling laundry, and can even prevent damage to your clothes. But remember that some garments aren’t strong enough to be tossed in the machine so if you put clothing like that into your washer, you might end up ruining it. The instruction symbols tell you how to wash a garment, what temperature to use, and which cycle is needed.
Always check the label on new clothes or garments you’re unsure about. Look for dry cleaning symbols that are represented by a circle or hand wash symbols shown as a tub of water with a hand. Be sure to to look for proper instructions so you don’t place sensitive garments in the washing machine.
Drying either in a machine or on a line is an important part of keeping your clothes looking their best both on and off the hanger. If you’ve ever dried your favorite sweater only to pull it out of looking about three sizes too small, you know exactly what we mean. The best way to prolong the life of your clothing is by understanding the proper care and upkeep of them as they dry.
If you plan on using bleach in the wash, you’ll want to make sure you read up on your clothing’s care tag to see if there is a bleach symbol, which appears as a triangle. Remember to refer to the label instructions in order to save your favorite clothes from being ruined by using chlorine bleach.
Most modern irons feature temperature settings for popular fabrics. Some fabrics such cotton and linen, look great after a bit of ironing, but other delicate fabrics like those made with synthetics can be easily damaged with ironing. Following the care labels on your clothing goes a long way for keeping them in good condition, but your iron can also lend a hand.
Dry Cleaning Symbols
“Dry clean only” always means exactly what it says. Machine washing garments with the plain circle laundry symbol will actually damage them. The dry cleaning process includes a specially designed solvent, a reduction in cleaning time, the addition or elimination of steam in pressing the garment, and various other processes. The dry cleaning instructions on your clothing’s care tags aren’t just for the pros, you can understand them too.
You probably noticed that the care labels don’t have instructions for laundry detergent. That’s because most washers these days can use cold water and get laundry clean. Most modern laundry detergents also contain enzymes that can clean in temperatures as low as 60℉. Cold water is enough for most clothes, towels, throws, and other machine-washable laundry, but remember to check the label to be sure.
We hope our little laundry symbol guide helps you keep your favorite clothes looking their best for years. Want to keep your entire home as clean and fresh as your new laundry knowledge keeps your clothes?
Allow Cleanzen to help! We’ll help you wash, fold & organize your laundry and even help you create a personalized cleaning solution that fits your budget, schedule, and unique cleaning needs. Contact us today to get started on your cleaning journey!