Have you ever looked at the care label on a garment and felt overwhelmed by the laundry symbols? You’re not alone. These symbols can be confusing, but understanding them is important to ensure your clothes are properly cared for. Properly washing, drying, and ironing clothes can help extend their lifespan and prevent damage.
This article will examine common laundry symbols and what they signify. We will also explore some common misconceptions people have about them and suggest tips on interpreting these codes correctly to ensure optimal fabric care. By reading this article, you can decode laundry symbols like a pro!
Wash Symbols: Understanding the different types of washing instructions
The most common symbol you’ll see is a tub with water inside it, indicating that the garment can be washed in water.
The small number inside a bucket or container tells you how hot or cold the water should be when washing your clothes. For example, 30°C means the maximum temperature for washing should be 30 degrees Celsius.
If there is a line under the bucket, you should use a gentle cycle for this type of fabric.
A hand inside the bucket indicates the garment can be hand washed.
Bleach Symbols: How to properly use bleach on your clothes
Bleach is a powerful cleaning agent that can help keep your clothes looking bright and fresh. However, misusing bleach can damage or ruin your clothes. Understanding the different laundry symbols associated with bleach is essential for using it properly.
If there are no lines through the triangle, bleaching is allowed.
A common symbol associated with bleach is a triangle with two diagonal lines crossing through it. This symbol means the garment can be bleached with non-chlorine bleach if necessary.
Another symbol to look out for is a circle with an “X” through it, meaning that bleaching should not be used on the clothing item.
Dry Symbols: What you need to know before drying your clothes
The drying symbols on clothing tags provide essential information about the appropriate conditions under which the garment should be dried. It is essential to understand these symbols, as improper drying can lead to damage or shrinkage.
The most common symbol we come across is an open circle that indicates tumble dry, sometimes followed by a number representing heat levels.
A one-dot symbol signifies low heat, while two dots indicate medium heat, and three indicate high heat.
An ‘X’ over the tumble dry symbol means that you should avoid using a dryer altogether and instead hang-dry your clothes. This is particularly important for delicate fabrics such as silk, lace or wool.
Iron Symbols: Learning how to iron your garments safely and correctly
The first step towards mastering the art of ironing is to understand what different laundry symbols mean. These symbols are usually found on garment labels and indicate how much heat, steam, or pressure each item can withstand.
For instance, a symbol with three dots inside a square means using a high-temperature setting when ironing the garment.
On the other hand, a symbol with two dots inside a square indicates that you should use medium temperature settings.
If only one dot is in the square, you should use low-temperature settings when ironing.
Finally, if you see a symbol with an iron crossed out, it means the garment cannot be ironed.
Dry Cleaning Symbols: When to take your clothes to the dry cleaners
The most common symbol used for dry cleaning is a circle with a letter inside, usually “P” or “F.” “P” stands for perchloroethylene, which is the most commonly used solvent in dry cleaning. “F” stands for petroleum solvent, which is less commonly used but still effective at removing stains. If you see either of these symbols on your clothing label, you should take it to a professional cleaner rather than attempting to wash it yourself.
Finally, a triangle with an ‘X’ through it, on the other hand, means that the garment cannot tolerate any solvent and should not be taken to the dry cleaners.
Understanding the different laundry symbols is crucial for properly caring for your clothes and avoiding damage. Whether it’s a machine wash symbol or a dry cleaning icon, each symbol has meaning and instructions. Remember that following the instruction on the label can help extend the life of your garments and keep them looking new for longer. So next time you’re doing laundry, take a closer look at those symbols and treat your clothes carefully. Your wardrobe (and wallet) will thank you!
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Erika Marie is a fashion and beauty writer as well as a hardcore vintage clothing enthusiast. In her free time, she can be found thrifting for hidden gems to add to her collection.