Guide to clothing care label symbols

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Mar 24, 2024 | Fashion, Uncategorised | 0 comments

Taking care of your clothes is like solving little puzzles that can make a big difference. You know those tags with care instructions? They’re like your garment’s personal guidebook, telling you exactly how to keep it looking fresh and fitting just right, wash after wash.

For clothing companies, those care labels aren’t just an afterthought—they’re key to keeping customers happy. Nobody wants to deal with complaints or costly returns because of a shrunken sweater or faded jeans. That’s why clear, accurate care instructions are a must.

And for us shoppers, those labels aren’t just a bunch of words—they’re like our road map to making smart purchases. Who wouldn’t prefer clothes that are easy to care for over ones with confusing laundry rules?

Now, when it comes to care labels, there’s a whole host of different systems out there. Some are backed by the government, others are global standards.

The following are the symbols that are in the International Care Labelling System (ICLS) and are the same for those used in Europe and many other countries like South Africa, Namibia and Australia.

1. Washing process symbols

  • Maximum wash temperature (indicated by number / can range from 30-95°C)
  • Mechanical action normal
  • Rinsing normal
  • Spinning normal
  • Maximum wash temperature (indicated by number / can range from 30-95°C)
  • Mechanical action reduced
  • Rinsing at gradually decreasing temperature (cool down)
  • Spinning reduced
  • Maximum wash temperature (indicated by number / can range from 30-95°C)
  • Mechanical action much reduced
  • Rinsing normal / Spinning normal
  • Do not wring by hand
  • Hand wash only
  • Do not machine wash
  • Maximum temperature 40°C
  • Handle with care
  • Do not wash
  • Be cautious when treating in wet stage

1. Washing process symbols

  • Maximum wash temperature (indicated by number / can range from 30-95°C)
  • Mechanical action normal
  • Rinsing normal
  • Spinning normal
  • Maximum wash temperature (indicated by number / can range from 30-95°C)
  • Mechanical action reduced
  • Rinsing at gradually decreasing temperature (cool down)
  • Spinning reduced
  • Maximum wash temperature (indicated by number / can range from 30-95°C)
  • Mechanical action much reduced
  • Rinsing normal / Spinning normal
  • Do not wring by hand
  • Hand wash only
  • Do not machine wash
  • Maximum temperature 40°C
  • Handle with care
  • Do not wash
  • Be cautious when treating in wet stage

2. Bleaching Process

  • Chlorine-based bleaching allowed
  • Only cold and dilute solution
  • Do not use chlorine-based bleach

2. Bleaching Process

  • Chlorine-based bleaching allowed
  • Only cold and dilute solution
  • Do not use chlorine-based bleach

3. Drying Process

  • Tumble dry possible
  • Drying at lower temperature setting
  • Tumble dry possible
  • Normal drying cycle
  • Do not tumble dry

3. Drying Process

  • Tumble dry possible
  • Drying at lower temperature setting
  • Tumble dry possible
  • Normal drying cycle
  • Do not tumble dry

4. Ironing Process

  • Iron at a maximum temperature of 200°C
  • Iron at a maximum temperature of 150°C
  • Iron at a maximum temperature of 110°C
  • Steam-ironing may be risky
  • Do not iron
  • Steaming and steam treatments are not recommended

4. Ironing Process

  • Iron at a maximum temperature of 200°C
  • Iron at a maximum temperature of 150°C
  • Iron at a maximum temperature of 110°C
  • Steam-ironing may be risky
  • Do not iron
  • Steaming and steam treatments are not recommended

5. Dry Cleaning Process

  • Do not dry-clean
  • No stain removal with solvents
  • Dry-cleaning in all solvents normally used for dry-cleaning – this includes all solvents listed for the symbol P, plus trichloroethylene and 1,1, 1-trichloroethane
  • Dry-cleaning in trifluorotrichloroethane, white spirit (distillation temperature between 150°C and 210°C, flash point 38°C to 60°C)
  • Normal cleansing procedures without restrictions
  • Dry-cleaning in the solvents listed for the F symbol
  • Strict limitations on the addition of water and / or mechanical action and / or temperature during cleaning and / or drying
  • No self-service cleaning allowed
  • Dry-cleaning in tetrachloroethylene, monofluorotrichloro methane and all solvents listed for the F symbol
  • Normal cleansing procedures without restrictions
  • Dry-cleaning in the solvents listed in the previous paragraph
  • Strict limitations on the addition of water and / or mechanical action and / or temperature during cleaning and / or drying
  • No self-service cleaning allowed

5. Dry Cleaning Process

  • Do not dry-clean
  • No stain removal with solvents
  • Dry-cleaning in all solvents normally used for dry-cleaning – this includes all solvents listed for the symbol P, plus trichloroethylene and 1,1, 1-trichloroethane
  • Dry-cleaning in trifluorotrichloroethane, white spirit (distillation temperature between 150°C and 210°C, flash point 38°C to 60°C)
  • Normal cleansing procedures without restrictions
  • Dry-cleaning in the solvents listed for the F symbol
  • Strict limitations on the addition of water and / or mechanical action and / or temperature during cleaning and / or drying
  • No self-service cleaning allowed
  • Dry-cleaning in tetrachloroethylene, monofluorotrichloro methane and all solvents listed for the F symbol
  • Normal cleansing procedures without restrictions
  • Dry-cleaning in the solvents listed in the previous paragraph
  • Strict limitations on the addition of water and / or mechanical action and / or temperature during cleaning and / or drying
  • No self-service cleaning allowed

Interesting care label facts

  1. The International Association for Textile Care Labelling (GINETEX) is the world body which governs care labels since 1975.
  2. Where the garment is stitched determines its listed country of origin on the care label.
  3. Care labels should be securely attached for easy access by the consumer at the time of purchase, typically found on the side or bottom.
  4. The accuracy of care instructions rests with the manufacturer or importer overseeing production.
  5. While a product may be imported initially without a care label, it must be affixed before being sold to consumers.
  6. Individual committees of the European Union are reviewing existing care label standards by collaborating with other international bodies so that they can create a unified system under the ISO scheme.
Hopefully this helps out the next time you’re faced with a laundry day pictorial puzzle. Below is a very useful laundry tips video from one of YouTubes cleaning experts, Melissa Maker from the channel ‘Clean My Space‘.
BGI

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Best Guide Inc. Staff Writer

The staff writers at Best Guide Inc. are passionate about sharing their experiences, knowledge, and research. You can visit their website www.bestguideinc.net or follow them on their socials.

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