How To Read Symbols On Clothing Tags


Reading clothing tags is essential; many have lost a favorite clothing item or two to the laundry or the ironing machine. Reading clothing tags may seem a bit tough; the symbols appear like a different language altogether, but reading these symbols is vital as they tell you exactly how to tend to the particular clothing item. For example, other materials require different care; some are machine friendly; some require hand washing, delicate material such as cashmere ruins when ironed; all this information is on the clothing tags. All one needs to do is know how to read the symbols. 

Washing Symbols

Several washing symbols are on clothing tags; these help you decide which clothing is safe to wash in the machine. This tag also depicts which machine setting to use and specifies the water temperature to use while washing. 

Generally, the washing symbol has a bucket filled with water (not including the “do not wring” symbol). If the garment is machine-friendly, you’ll see numbers or dots given in the bucket symbol; these dots or numbers represent the water temperature you should use while washing the cloth in the machine. For example, a single dot means 30°C (meaning use cold water while washing), two dots is 40°C (meaning use warm water for washing), four dots indicate 60°C (meaning use hot water for washing). If you see a single line below the bucket symbol, it means using a synthetic setting while washing in the machine, whereas if two lines are beneath the bucket symbol, you should select the gentle or wool cycle.

If you see the hand wash symbol on your garment care label, wash the item by hand, with the water temperature at or below 40°C. You can also use your machine’s hand wash setting with the same temperature water. 

Bleaching Symbols

Before you reach out for your bleach bottle to keep your whites white, it might be best to take a quick look at the garments to care label to check whether the cloth is bleach friendly or not. Here are the various bleach symbols and their meaning:

    • An empty triangle represents that the clothing item is bleach-friendly. Therefore, you can safely use bleach when necessary. 
    • Diagonal lines within the triangle represent that you should use non-chlorine bleach.
    • If two lines cross out the triangle, this represents that you shouldn’t use bleach at all.  

Ironing Symbols

The iron symbol represents an iron, whereas the dots within the iron depict the maximum temperature at which you should set the iron. 

    • If the iron symbol on the clothing symbol has no dots, it means that you can iron the cloth at any temperature.
    • Usually, a single dot within the iron represents delicate materials such as silk and wool—a maximum temperature of 110°C.
    • Two dots within the iron symbol represent a maximum temperature of 150°C.
    • Three dots within the iron symbol mean that the highest of 200°C temperature. 
    • If you see a big cross on the iron symbol, the garment is not suitable for ironing.
    • Lastly, if the cross stands over two lines drawing from below the iron, it means that “steaming is not recommended.”

In Conclusion

A couple of other care symbols are on care symbols, but the ones above are the most commonly seen care symbols. Reading and adhering to clothing tags is crucial for the longevity of the garment. If you have some space on your laundry wall, it would be best to stick a paper representing all clothing tags on the wall.