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How To Read Clothes Care Label

By Simon Wong

Many people wash their clothes without taking a look at the care labels. Some of them try to read the label before they wash the clothes, but they do not really understand what the symbols mean. If you wish to keep your clothes clean, bright and new, you must learn how to read those care label properly.

Take a look at your clothes and you will find a care label or tag. There are several symbols on the tag that tell you how you should wash your clothes. Basically, the symbols can be grouped into 9 categories. They are machine wash cycle, water temperature, tumble dry cycle, heat setting, special instructions, bleach symbols, iron-dry or steam, dry-clean normal cycle and special dry clean instructions. This article will introduce some of them to you.

Machine wash cycle is the most common one to appear on the care label. It looks like a cup that fills will some water or liquid. If there is only a cup fills with some water, it means regular or normal cycle with regular agitation and spin speed may be used. It you two more lines under the cup, it means you should choose a gentle or delicate washer setting. If there is a hand in the water, it means you should hand wash your clothes. If there is a cross on the cup, it means the clothes cannot be washed.

The second type of symbols to know is tumble dry cycle. For some very delicate clothes, even with the delicate settings, the tumble dry function may still cause damages to the clothes. The set of square symbols tells you about how you should treat your clothes for the tumble dry cycle. A square on the care label means the clothes can be machine dry. Normal setting is indicated by a circle inside the square. Other than the circle, you may find 1 or 2 more lines under the square. These two symbols signify the wrinkle resistant and delicate settings respectively. Intuitively, a cross on the normal cycle symbol means do not tumble dry.

Ironing symbols are the easiest to recognize as they are shown with an iron-like picture. The plain or basic iron symbol means the clothes are suitable for ironing. If there is 1 little dot inside the basic iron symbol, you may use low temperature settings. If there are 2 dots, you may use medium temperature settings. If there are 3 dots, you may use high temperature settings. A cross on the iron symbol means no ironing should be performed on the clothes. If the cross is on the steam coming out from the iron symbol, it means you may iron without steam.

The final set of symbol I wish to introduce to you is the bleaching symbols. Bleaching symbols are represented in triangles. A plain triangle means you can use any bleach if it is needed. If you find lines inside the triangles, it means you can only use non-chlorine bleach. If you find a black triangle with a big cross on it, it means no bleach should be applied to your clothes.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Wong, Simon "How To Read Clothes Care Label." How To Read Clothes Care Label. 3 Jul. 2010. 19 Aug 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Wong, S (2010, July 3). How To Read Clothes Care Label. Retrieved August 19, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Wong, Simon "How To Read Clothes Care Label"

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