Q:

What do washing symbols on clothes mean?

A:

The care symbols on clothes labels provide shorthand instructions for washing, bleaching, drying and dry cleaning the clothes. Clothing manufacturers attach the labels to indicate the best way to clean the item.

Washing symbols are washtub icons with none, one or more dots in the United States. No dots means normal machine washing. The hottest water and normal detergent can be used. One dot means machine wash on cold (up to 85 degrees Fahrenheit). Two dots mean machine wash on warm (up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit), and three or more dots mean machine wash on hot with varying maximum temperatures. For example, four dots in a washing symbol mean using water up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

A washing symbol with no dots and a line below the washtub icon indicates machine wash, permanent press. Two lines indicate machine wash, gentle or delicate. A washtub icon with a hand stands for hand wash. An X over the washtub icon means do not wash.

Bleaching symbols are triangles. A blank triangle means bleach when needed. A striped triangle is for non-chlorine bleach, and an X over a filled triangle means do not bleach.

Drying symbols are squares containing a circle. No dots in the circle is for tumble dry, normal. One dot is for tumble dry, normal with low heat, two dots is for medium heat, and three dots is for high heat. As with washing symbols, one line below the icon is for permanent press and two lines is for gentle drying. An X over a square means do not dry.

Dry cleaning icons are circles. A blank circle indicates the garment should be dry cleaned. A letter in the circle indicates the type of solvent the dry cleaner should use. An X over the circle means do not dry clean.


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