What are Washing Symbols…?
Washing symbols, or Laundry symbols as they are also known, are pictograms found on tags attached to almost every item made of fabric. Clothing, curtains, cushion covers and bedding all have these labels. Even leather items like jackets and trousers carry these laundry symbols. Possible exceptions would be things like bags or shoes. These washing symbols are there to show you the best way to handle the laundry process for that particular item.
Yes… But what do the symbols mean?
Well, that would depend on where you live.
Washing symbols vary in different regions of the world. In this section we’ll concentrate on those used in the UK and Europe.
Basic Laundry Symbols
In the UK and Europe there are five different types of laundry symbol used. The basic shapes of these are shown above. However, each symbol has a different version depending on the laundry process required for that peticular item.
The list below contains the most common washing symbols found, along with a breif discription of their meaning.
This washing symbol means the item is machine washable.
Machine washable ~ Maximum wash temperature 40 degrees centigrade. (may be higher or lower than 40°c.)
1 bar below – Machine washable ~ Wash on a synthetic cycle.
2 bars below – Machine washable ~ Requires delicate wash cycle.
Item should be Hand Washed at a warm temperature.
Not to be washed with water.(requires Dry-cleaning).
Washing Symbols for Bleach
The use of bleach in the wash is acceptable.
The use of chlorine bleach is acceptable.
DO NOT use bleach.
Items showing this symbol can be tumble dried.
Tumble dry on a Low heat setting only.
Tumble dry on a Medium heat setting only.
DO NOT tumble dry items with this symbol.
Drip drying is recommended for this item.
Item requires Line drying or Hanging.
For items with this laundry symbol it is recommended that you lay them flat to dry.
1 dot – Cool Iron. (upto 110°c) – Generally used for acrylics, acetates and nylons.
2 dots – Warm Iron. (upto 150°c) – Generally used for polyester mixes, and wool.
3 dots – Hot Iron. (upto 200°c) – Generally used for linens and cottons.
DO NOT Iron items with this symbol. Ironing may cause serious damage to the fabric. E.g. Melt it!
Item is suitable for Dry-Cleaning.
The ‘A’ symbol indicates that Any solvent may be used during the dry-cleaning process.
An ‘F’ indicates that solvents R113 & Hydrocarbon should be used for dry cleaning.
The ‘P’ indicates that any solvent except trichloroethylene may be used.
DO NOT Dry-clean items with this symbol. The solvents used during the dry claening process may cause damage to the fabric.