Laundry Labels Deciphered – UK Guide
If you’ve tried to decipher what the laundry symbols on your laundry mean, you might feel like you need a degree in Egyptian hieroglyphics. Don’t fear: Unlock the secrets of all those care labels hiding in your laundry basket with us.
These symbols tell you exactly how you should treat each piece of laundry, in order to maximise its life, and avoid damaging it. You might think you already know the meaning of all of these symbols, but you would be surprised to know there is often hidden meanings within each pictogram that remain a mystery to the majority of us.
The symbols are grouped into a number of different categories:
- Dry Cleaning
The washtub symbol is used to represent washing
- Do Not Wash
- Machine Wash
- Hand Wash
- Synthetics Wash
- Wool Wash
- Machine Wash at 30 degrees
- Machine Wash at 40 degrees
- Machine Wash at 50 degrees
- Machine Wash at 60 degrees
Under this particular category of washing labels, you’ll find symbols with numbers inside the tub, lines, or even a hand in a tub. The numbers within a tub show the maximum temperature at which it is best suited to wash the garment.
It does not mean you must wash the garment at this temperature – ideally the garment will be washed below this temperature.
When you find a line underneath the wash tub symbol it designates the level of agitation the garment is designed to withstand. If there are no lines, you can use the maximum setting to wash your item. So, should you find one or two lines it means that you should exercise more caution whilst washing the garment. One line is usually used to designate the garment is synthetic, and should be washed at a medium setting – that is, avoid using the heavy-duty setting.
A double line underneath the washtub symbol indicates the garment is made from wool, and when washed you should use caution to prevent damage – this is done by using the gentle settling.
If you find a washtub symbol with a hand inside the tub, it indicates the garment should not be washed in a machine, but instead be only washed by hand.
The triangle symbol designates bleaching
- Do not bleach
- Only non-chlorine bleach allowed
- Any bleach allowed
When your clothing becomes stained, you generally resort to using bleach to make it look new again. The triangle symbols on our laundry symbols guide us in our chlorine usage.
When you find an undecorated triangle symbol it means that you are permitted to use chlorine bleach. If you find that the triangle is adorned with lines through it, you should avoid using chlorine bleach and instead resort to non-chlorine bleach usage, such as oxygen bleach.
If you find a triangle symbol with a cross through it, you should not bleach the item.
The iron symbol tells us the best way to iron
- Cool Iron
- Warm Iron
- Hot Iron
- Do Not Iron
The iron symbol on our care labels simple tells us the best temperature at which we should iron our garment. You will find either one, two or three dots inside the iron symbol to indicate the desired temperature.
One dot represents that we should use the cool iron setting.
Two dots tell us that we can use the warm setting to iron the item.
Three dots tell us that we can use the hot iron setting.
The circle directs us in the best dry-cleaning methods to use
Within this circle you will find a number of different letters to indicate the best way to dry clean the garment. If you find a circle with the letter ‘P’ inside it, it indicates that the item should only be professionally dry cleaned.
If you find the letter ‘F’ within a circle, it also means that the item should be professionally dry-cleaned.
‘W’ within a circle designates a professional wet clean only.
If a circle with a cross is printed, one should not dry clean the garment.
The square surrounding a circle represents tumble drying
- Do Not Tumble Dry
- Hang To Dry
- Can be tumble dried
- Can be tumble dried on low heat
- Can be tumble dried on medium heat
- Can be tumble dried on high heat
After washing your garment, you’ll find this washing label guides you on how to best dry it, in a tumble drier.
If a square surrounds a circle, as printed above – your garment is built to withstand tumble drying.
If within the circle is printed two dots, you may use a high heat setting to tumble dry your garment.
If there is only one dot within the circle, you must only use a low heat setting.
If you find that there is a cross covering the symbol, it means do not tumble dry your garment.
A square without an accompanying circle designates different methods of drying apart from tumble drying.
A straight line through the middle of the square indicates that line drying should be used.
Vertical lines within the square indicate you should use the drip drying method to dry your clothing. A curve at the top means you should line dry the item, and two 30-degree lines denoting drying in the shade should be used.
With this laundry symbols guide, you can unravel the meanings behind all your garment labels. Following these simple instructions ensures that your laundry items will have a long and prosperous life, and that you will be able to wear them in years to come.