Do you know how to read washing symbols on your garments? It sounds like a silly question, but if you take a look at your care labels there are at least several symbols on each of them. Some of them are obvious, like ironing sign, but others look rather cryptic. Dots, circles, squares, and triangles resemble shapes in intelligence tests, only there’s no question. If you really know all of the signs, kudos to you, I’m impressed. However, if you don’t, you should learn them because every single laundry symbol has a meaning or instruction how to take care of your garment.
So, it is not like you have two important signs and the rest is there just to look complicated. If you don’t follow care instructions you may ruin your garment, make it shorter or affect its durability. Pre-washing your fabric for sewing is a good idea, and again, you should follow the instructions. You probably think that it’s quite hard to remember all of the symbols, but it’s actually pretty simple. First, you need to remember the basic symbol for each of five caring procedures. These are washing, drying, ironing, bleaching, and dry cleaning. Once you know these basic symbols the rest is more or less easy to figure out. So, let’s see it.
The basic symbol of washing is a simple drawing of a bucket full of water. Adding symbols like a cross, dot, numbers, and hand to it determines the proper procedure.
Hand in a bucket is a ‘Hand Wash’ sign. So, don’t machine wash the product with this sign.
If you see some numbers inside the basic symbol they denote the temperature you should use.Dots are just symbols used instead of numbers and correspond to common washing machine programs or cycles. 1 dot stands for 30℃, 2 dots – 40℃, 3 dots – 50℃, 4 dots – 60℃, 5 dots – 70℃, and 6 dots – 95℃.
Beside added symbols placed inside the standard symbol there may be a line or two below the symbol.
One line stands for synthetic or any other permanent press fabric cycle. Just to make sure, permanent press fabric is a piece of material that doesn’t wrinkle.
Two lines designate gentle or delicate cycle. It is used for delicate fabrics like wool, silk, chiffon, moire, and more. You don’t really have to know the fabric of your garment. Simply, if it has two horizontal lines beneath the symbol, choose a gentle cycle. Three lines are for very delicate fabrics.
A cross across the basic symbol means no washing at all. Dry cleaning is an option for these garments, and there will be a sign to help dry cleaning professional to choose a proper procedure.
The basic tumble dryer symbol is a circle inside of a square.
Once again added dots determine the temperature.
If the circle is all black it means you should dry it without heat.
One to three dots denote low, medium, and high heat.
‘Do not tumble dry’ sign means you shouldn’t put the garment into the dryer. Air drying is a solution for clothes with this symbol.
Drying symbols can have a line or two beneath the standard symbol. It is basically the same principle as with symbols for washing. Lines designate gentle or permanent press settings for your dryer.
These are pretty obvious, so I’ll get straight to the point.
Basic ironing symbol
Use low-heat level when ironing up to 110℃ or 230℉
Medium temperature ironing up to 150℃ or 300℉
High temperature ironing allowed, up to 200℃ or 390℉
Do not iron
Your white clothes tend to lose brightness and turn drab and grayish over time. Bleaching will revive and brighten your whites, but make sure to follow the instructions. Bleaching can cause irreparable damage when you don’t use it in a proper way.
The basic symbol for bleaching is a triangle. An empty triangle means that you can use any kind of bleach.
A triangle with two diagonal lines means that you can use non-chlorine bleaches only.
A black or empty triangle with crossed lines is a ‘do not bleach’ symbol.
Dry Cleaning Symbols
The basic symbol is a circle. You don’t really need to distinguish all dry-cleaning symbols apart from ‘Dry clean’ and ‘Do not dry clean’. Other symbols are meant for professionals to determine a proper method of dry cleaning.
Do not dry clean
Circle with letters denotes a kind of solvent that should be used.
Natural Drying Symbols
The basic symbol is an empty square.
‘Line dry’ symbol means you should hang the garment from the line or bar.
‘Drip dry’ – hang dripping wet garment.
‘Flat dry’ – don’t hang the garment, dry it flat.
‘Dry in shade’ – Avoid direct sunlight.
There you go. Now you can show off your extensive knowledge of garment care symbols. While there are many symbols, it is not so difficult as it seems. If you know only a couple of symbols you can get away with it most of the time. But, if you ruin a beautiful new piece of garment just because you weren’t careful enough to check out the symbols, you’ll be sorry. So, it’s not a great effort to figure out all of the symbols, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you know exactly how to wash/clean your clothes.