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Poster featuring common laundry care symbols.

What do the Washing Symbols on Clothing Labels Mean?


UK3-3.1_WashDepicted as a bucket filled with water, the Wash Symbol tells you-what temperature or machine setting you should use to wash the item of clothing.
UK3-3.19_Wash30C1Inside the ‘Normal Wash’ symbol, there will either be a temperature value or one to six dots signifying temperature ranges.
  • One Dot = 30ºC
  • Two Dots = 40ºC
  • Three Dots = 50ºC
  • Four Dots = 60ºC
  • Five Dots = 70ºC
  • Six Dots = 95ºC
 UK3-3.2_PermanentPressPermanent Press fabrics have been treated with chemicals to ensure they resist wrinkles and retain their original shape. If a piece of clothing is permanent press, it usually means that you shouldn’t iron it.
 UK3-3.3_GentleCycle1The gentle cycle is for delicate fibers like wool or silk, or for items of clothing that could be damaged by a vigorous washing (like sequined tops, tights, or Lycra).
 UK3-3.4_HandWash1For ‘Hand Wash’ clothing, do not use a washing machine. Instead wash garments in a sink or small tub, using your hands to ensure that the cleaning liquid is thoroughly rubbed into the material and subsequently rinsed out.
 UK3-3.5_DoNotWash1The Do Not Wash symbol is the standard wash symbol with a cross through it. If the garment care label instructs you not to wash the item, it will have to be dry cleaned after it gets dirty – see the section on Dry Cleaning Symbols below.


UK3-3.13_Iron1To make life easy, the ironing symbol is shaped like an old-fashioned iron.
 UK3-3.14.3_IronOnHigh1Ironing symbols also employ the same dot system for heat levels, which should be adjustable on your iron: three dots mean that the item can be ironed on high.
 UK3-3.14.2_IronOnMedium1Two dots mean that it can be ironed on medium.
 UK3-3.14.1_IronOnLow1One dot means that it can be ironed on low.


UK3-3.9_TumbleDry1The basic tumble dryer symbol is a square with a circle in the middle of it.
 UK3-3.10.1TumbleDryOnHigh1As with the washing symbols, the number of dots inside the circle will tell you the heat setting you should put your tumble dryer on to, as well as any specific program settings required: Three dots mean Tumble Dry High.
 UK3-3.11_DoNotTumbleDry1When an item is marked as ‘Do Not Tumble Dry’ with a cross through the drying symbol, leave this garment to drip-dry on a drying rack, in an airing cupboard, or outside on your washing line rather than putting it in the dryer.
 UK3-3.10.3_TumbleDryOnLow1One dot means Tumble Dry Low.
 UK3-3.12.1_TumbleDryPermanentPress1Again, a single line below the dryer symbol means that a Permanent Press setting should be used.
 UK3-3.12.2_TumbleDryDelicate1Double lines mean that the Delicate setting must be used.


UK3-3.6_Bleach1A triangle without anything in the middle means that any kind of bleach can be used on the clothing when needed.
 UK3-3.7_NoChlorineBleachA triangle filled with diagonal lines means that only non-chlorine bleaches should be used. Check the ingredients on your bleach to see if it contains chlorine.
 UK3-3.8_DoNotBleach1A solid black triangle with crossed lines means ‘Do Not Bleach’. You should not attempt to use any kind of bleach on this garment.


 UK3-3.15_DryClean1The Dry-Cleaning symbol is a circle.
 UK3-3.16_DryCleanOnly1For clothes that are dry clean only, the circle has a letter ‘P’ inside it.
 UK3-3.17_DryCleanNormal1The clothes that should be dry-cleaned under normal conditions will have a letter ‘F’ inside the circle.
 UK3-3.18_DoNotDryClean1A crossed-out circle means that you should not dry-clean the item.

Click on the link for more laundry care and washing tips. 


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