How to read the symbols on clothing labels so as not to damage them!
The labels tell us exactly how to treat each fabric for an optimal result. The symbols appear in the following order: washing, bleaching, drying (and dryer), ironing, dry cleaning. The label is therefore presented as a succession of 5 symbols that inform about the washing methods and general care of each garment. Attention, if the garment in question is made up of different types of fabric, follow the instructions concerning the most fragile part of the product.
Before telling you how to read clothing labels and explaining in detail the meaning of each symbol, here are some practical tips, useful for preserving the integrity of the garments for as long as possible!
The symbols on clothing labels relating to washing
As mentioned before, the symbols that appear on clothing labels follow this logic: washing, bleaching, drying (and dryer), ironing, dry cleaning. To begin, therefore, we will focus on washing, the first step to be overcome in order to always have perfect garments.
Here they are in sequence:
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Hand wash symbol
First of all, let's understand if it is possible to wash the garment in the washing machine or it is completely not recommended. How to do it? The symbols on the labels speak for themselves and, if you find the following, you will already know that the washing machine is a distant dream.
This symbol, as you can guess from the drawing, means hand wash only, rinse normally, wring gently. We are talking about a very delicate garment, which requires special attention, which is why we can only wash it by hand, perhaps in cold or lukewarm water to avoid damaging it.
Symbols for maximum washing temperatures
Next, let's break down the symbols based on temperature. Specifically, in the symbols that follow, the number indicates washing in the washing machine at the maximum temperature indicated.
Here are some indications regarding temperatures:
- 30 ° for delicate colors. Reduced mechanical action, normal rinse and normal spin.
- 40 ° for colored t-shirts and underwear with elastic. Reduced mechanical action, normal rinse and normal spin.
- 60 ° for colored sheets. Normal mechanical action, normal rinse and normal spin.
- 95 ° White sheets. Normal mechanical action, normal rinse and normal spin.
Symbols for program types
Still on the subject of washing, the dashes represent the symbolic part relating to the type of program to be used, so as not to end up with a wool sweater as small as a slip. Here are the symbols and their meaning below:
When you find dashes (or not) on labels, here's what they symbolize:
- No dash: cotton program (maximum speed). Normal mechanical action, normal rinse and spin.
- One dash: synthetic program (average speed). Reduced mechanical action, rinsing at decreasing temperature and reduced spinning.
- Two dashes: wool program (minimum speed).
The symbol with X means do not wash: in this case the garment must absolutely not be placed in water and it is preferable to proceed with a dry cleaning.
Symbols on clothing labels related to bleaching
Another very important topic, the second in order of appearance on the labels, is bleaching, so we have precise symbols that indicate whether or not it is possible to do so and which type. Here they are and to follow the meaning:
- Simple triangle: we can treat the garment with bleach or chlorine.
- Triangle with X: we cannot bleach the garment, neither with bleach nor with chlorine.
- Triangle with CL and X: we cannot bleach with a chlorine product.
- Triangle with two horizontal dashes: we can use oxygen-based bleach but without using chlorine.
The symbols on the clothes drying labels
Regarding drying, we must distinguish two options: how to dry the garment in the dryer or how to dry it normally if you do not have it, because also in this case the labels of the clothes give us precise indications.
Symbols on clothing labels for normal drying
If you do not have a dryer, no problem: in this case too, the symbols on the labels will provide you with useful information on how to arrange the garment to dry it (or if necessary to avoid spinning before drying). Here are the symbols relating to the "normal drying and their meanings follow:
- Square with a small semicircle at the top: hang after spinning
- Square with three dashes: hang without spinning
- Square with a horizontal dash - hang flat
- Square with two dashes in the left corner: hang in the shade
- Square with two dashes crossing: do not dry
- Square with inner circle and X: do not use the dryer.
The symbols on clothes labels related to the dryer
If, on the other hand, you also own a dryer, here are the symbols on the labels that tell us how to best use it and how to regulate the drying temperature. Here are the symbols and what they represent below:
- Square with circle without dots: you can use the dryer.
- Square with circle and 1 dot: temperature not too hot.
- Square with circle and 2 dots: medium hot temperature.
- Square with circle and 3 dots: quite warm temperature.
- Square with black circle: the temperature must be cold!
The symbols on clothing labels related to ironing
After washing our clothes, to make them perfect we just have to iron them in the most appropriate way, always if necessary or requested. So let's follow the instructions that our friends give us symbols to avoid disasters in the last part of our mission!
- Simple iron: ironing allowed.
- Iron with X: exactly the opposite, which is that we cannot iron that garment.
- Iron with 1 dot: the garment can be ironed at a maximum temperature of 110 °, preferably without steam.
- Iron with 2 dots: the garment can be ironed at a maximum temperature of 150 °.
- Iron with 3 dots: the garment can be ironed at a maximum temperature of 200 °.
- Iron with steam and X on top: do not use steam when ironing.
Dry cleaning symbols on clothing labels
These symbols, if present on the labels, represent the possible need for professional washing, to avoid any type of problem, both to preserve the garment and to preserve oneself
We are talking about dry cleaning with chemical agents, complex to use and manage. But here they are together with their meanings:
- Simple circle: dry cleaning with all types of solvent:
- Circle with A: similar to the first, ie dry cleaning with all types of solvent in use.
- Circle with P: the garment must be dry cleaned with solvents such as chlorates, perchlorethylene and mineral essences, R133 and R11.
- Circle with F: dry cleaning with hydrocarbons and trifluoro-trichloroethane.
- Circle with W: the garment must be wet washed.
- Circle with X above: dry cleaning not allowed.
Tips for washing clothes
In principle, and this applies to all garments, avoid excessively high temperatures which, even if allowed, affect the structure of the garment in the long run.
If allowed by the label, always opt for washing in the washing machine: new technologies allow us to have washing machines that are perfect for washing, which save us time and effort. Without forgetting that some garments or garments just cannot be washed in the washing machine!
Always remember that fabrics that dry in the sun will fel more easily and that bleach is still aggressive on fabrics, so it is better to prefer bleaching agents of another type. Even if it seems obvious to say it, for perfect clothes it is important that the washing machine is always well washed and clean!
Some details about the fabrics:
- wool shrinks if washed in too hot water and deforms if hung,
- cotton is easy to iron and must be washed separately when colored,
- silk cannot withstand either hot or centrifugal water and must be dry cleaned,
- wool, silk, fabrics that lose their color and garments that include metal and leather elements must never be left to soak.