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The laundry symbols guide

How to read the laundry symbols on your clothes labels

Whether you’re a fashionista into the latest trends and finest fabrics, or you have a large family with lots of laundry, it isn’t always easy to care for your clothes properly. Some are delicate, others can withstand a steam station, while others mustn’t even come into contact with a steam iron, and it’s your clothes labels that will help you to avoid mistakes..

The laundry symbols guide 2Care for your clothes by learning how to read the labels

With regards to washing, every clothes label carries the symbol of a little bowl of water, showing the maximum temperature at which it can be washed in a machine. When an item of clothing needs to be hand-washed, this is also indicated. Clothing manufacturers are increasingly using symbols to specify how to dry an item. These not only tell you whether or not you can dry your clothes in a dryer, but also what temperature you should use. A square with a circle inside it indicates that the item is suitable for tumble drying, while one with a cross through it means it is not.

For ironing, clothes labels have an iron symbol with one or more dots, depending on the required iron temperature. One dot is for fragile materials such as nylon, that should be ironed at 200°F, whilst three dots apply to cotton or linen items that can withstand a very hot iron (390°F). A little iron with a cross through it means that you mustn’t iron this item of clothing.

Finally, a triangle or crossed-out triangle tells you whether or not you can use bleach. As for dry cleaning, a circle means it’s OK, a crossed-out circle means it is not.