Laundry symbols

Row of washing machines at a laundrette.

Do you know what all the little symbols on your clothes mean, the laundry and ironing-related ones on the label? I don’t, but I’ve found a great resource that reminds me.

Some of the symbols are fairly easy to work out. The tub of water with a temperature and/or dot is easy to work out: that’s to do with washing. One dot is 30 deg C, two is 40 deg C, all the way up to a whopping 95 deg C (six dots). Ironing too is simple, it shows an image of an iron again with dots signifying the temperature.

Some of the symbols are not so easy to guess. Bleach is symbolised by a triangle (is that supposed to suggest a warning?); tumble drying by a circle within a square. Line dry looks like an envelope, drip dry looks like a top-down diagram of a three slot toaster! (I don’t recommend drying clothes over the toaster!) Dry cleaning instructions are symbolised by a circle. Some have letters within the circle, others have tangents indicating further instructions such as short cycle, low heat and no steam.

And of course, if the symbol is crossed out: DON’T DO IT! Which is a shame, because my trousers are still damp and I now know that the label recommends “Do Not Tumble Dry”.

Check out the Guide to Common Home Laundering and Drycleaning Symbols, which can also be downloaded in PDF format. There is also a good section on how to remove stains from clothing too. (Check me out with my domesticated blog posts!)

Published by

Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 46 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Latterly, web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall. Currently on sabbatical. I am a priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, and I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir.

One thought on “Laundry symbols”

  1. Great resource here! Not all actually read care tag labels. Others are too lazy to check it and they just throw everything in the washing machine, then it’s too late! Some shirts have shrunk, others bled. And only then will someone realise that it is important to read labels. When you are in doubt, just take your clothes to the dry cleaners.

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