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Best Tips On How To Read Laundry Symbols

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Even though the symbols on the tags of your clothing may seem confusing at first, they are easy to learn. It’s important to take note of them so that your clothes are kept in a good condition. The symbols are a ‘how to’ for all things washing, drying, bleaching, and ironing. Once learned, laundry symbols become your best friend in making laundry a breeze, and not just a tag on the back of your clothes anymore. 

Laundry symbols have been around since the late 1950’s, yet as time passes and technological advancements are made, they become more and more vital in the upkeep of clothing. Today they can be found on almost every item of clothing, and while there are slight differences between versions from different countries, most laundry icons on clothing tags are universal.

The first step is learning the difference between symbols as a whole:

Laundry Symbols Chart: What Each Symbol Means

Following on from this the laundry symbols get broken down into more detailed icons with further instructions.

Washing Instruction Symbols

Washing Method Symbols

Washing Cycle Symbols

Machine Washing Temperature Symbols

Following the temperature and wash cycle instructions is essential for clean, fresh-smelling laundry, and maintaining the quality of your clothes. Although most can handle it, some clothing isn’t strong enough to be washed in the machine and could get damaged if done so. Different fabrics require different methods of cleaning to keep them looking newer for longer, so take note of and be sure to follow the instructions on your clothing tags as soon as you buy them. 

Bleaching Laundry Symbols

Chlorine bleach can do a lot of damage to clothing that is either not meant to be bleached, or clothing that should only be exposed to non-chlorine bleach. If you choose to use bleach, it’s important to look at your clothing’s fabric care label to see if there is a bleach symbol, and what exactly that symbol says. 

Dry Cleaning Laundry Symbols

Solvent Symbols

Dry-Clean Cycle Symbols

If a clothing tag has a “Dry clean only” symbol on, it means exactly that. Washing this type of clothing in a machine will damage it. “Professionally dry clean” means that the dry cleaning process must include these instructions amongst others: using a certain solvent, reducing the cleaning time, and adding or eliminating steam to press the garment. Although these instructions are better suited to your dry cleaner, they are also useful for you to know.

Drying Laundry Symbols

Tumble-Drying Method Symbols

Tumble-Drying Cycle Symbols

Tumble-Drying Temperature Symbols

Non-Machine Drying Symbols

Drying is an especially vital part of keeping your clothes fitting well. Oftentimes well-fitted clothing gets ruined and no longer fits because of an incorrect drying method used. Understanding drying symbols can help your favourite clothing fit better for longer.

Ironing Laundry Symbols

Ironing Temperature Symbols

Some fabrics, like cotton and linen, are meant to be ironed. Others, like delicates made with synthetics, can easily get damaged if ironed. Wool and silk fall into the category of clothing that can be ironed, as long as no steam is used. To make life easier, many modern iron brands include temperature settings for popular fabrics. Even if you do have a modern iron, take note of the ironing symbols on your clothing labels and follow the instructions carefully.

When it comes to instructions for detergents, laundry labels don’t have any because modern washing machines can use cold water to get most laundry clean. Most laundry detergents contain enzymes that can clean in temperatures as low as 15,5℃. Cold water is enough for most clothes, towels, blankets, and other machine-washable laundry, but make sure to read the label for certainty. 

Taking care of your clothes is not only dependent on where and how you wear them, but also the approach you take in cleaning them. Take a few seconds to read the laundry symbols on your clothing to see and feel the difference everyday. 

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