How To Read Laundry Symbols And Take Care Of Your Clothes Properly

How To Read Laundry Symbols And Take Care Of Your Clothes Properly

The laundry symbols are international, meant to be equally unintelligible in every language. Actually, it is not as bad as that; the symbols are built up from common elements. Once you learn the basics, combinations are easy to understand.


The first class of elements are for tasks: bucket with water — washing, triangle — bleaching, square — drying (square with circle for clothes-dryer), flat iron (squished lowercase ‘a’) — ironing, and circle — dry cleaning.

The second class of elements (within task elements): temperature: ° — cold, °° — warm and °°° — hot. The third class of elements (placed under the task elements) indicate the amount of thrashing the clothes can withstand: no line — normal wash, one — permanent press, two = — gentle cycle. The X symbol means don’t.

For washing, a hand indicates hand wash.

For bleaching, diagonal lines mean non-chlorine bleach.

For clothes-dryers, a large black circle element — no heat just tumble dry, dot(s) in a open circle: ° — low, °° — medium or °°° — high setting.


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For other drying methods: a little curved line (catenary) at the top — solar-powered clothesline, three vertical lines — drip-dry, and a single horizontal line — dry on a flat surface.

An X across lines below an iron mean no steam.

If you can identify a square with a circle with one dot in it and a single line below it as “tumble dry, permanent press, low heat”, then you are an accomplished laundry-tag-ologist!