Almost every piece of clothing will have a label somewhere inside it that tells you everything you need to know about its maintenance. Clothes can be quite clever, given the chance – they can tell you exactly how to care for them.  It includes how to wash it, how to iron it, how to tumble dry it and other tips needed to keep it in top condition. But to get this information you need to speak a special language. The language of wash and care symbols. A quick guide on the most important dry tumble symbols.

quick guide wash and care symbols

4 Tips how to wash your clothes

The first piece of information an item of clothing will tell you is how to wash it. This symbol uses a little tub to explain itself with a range of different symbols within the tub to denote the different washing requirements. These are:

• Cotton wash – just the tub with little waves for the water; this may also have a number within it that indicates the maximum wash temperature that the clothing can with stand.
• Synthetic wash – this is the tub with water and a single bar underneath; this means to use only a medium wash or mild washing conditions
• Wool wash – this is the tub and water with two bars underneath; this means that you need to use a minimum wash or very delicate washing conditions on this clothing
• Hand wash – this is the tub with a hand in it; it means that the clothes can’t be washed in the washing machine and need to be hand washed, usually at no more than 40 degrees C and be handled with care
• No wash – tub with a cross over it; this means don’t wash the item

quick guide wash symbols

Definition and explanation of tumble dry symbols

There are two sets of symbols that tell you about drying the clothing, one of which refers to those using a tumble dryer for the job and another for those that are dried naturally.

The tumble dryer symbol is a square with a circle within it and this means that the clothes can be tumble dried. If the circle has a single dot in the middle, this means use the dryer on a dry low or low heat setting. Two dots mean a dry high or high heat setting for the clothes.

Finally, if the square and circle have a cross through them, this means don’t tumble dry.
For other driving options, there are different symbols. For example, if clothing needs to be dried flat, there will be a square with a single line in it. For those that need to dry hanging up or on a line, then a square with a semi-circle on it is used. Finally, for drip drying clothes, usually for synthetic materials, a square with three lines in it is used.

tumble dry explanation symbols


Brief explanation of other important wash and care symbols

Ironing symbols are also quite simple to understand. A cool iron, not more than 110 degrees C, a single dot will be contained within the iron symbol. Two dots mean a temperature of no more than 150 degrees while three dots is for a hot iron, no more than 200 degrees. Finally, an iron with a cross over it means steam ironing is not allowed.

explanation symbols ironing

Two symbols are used to indicate certain treatments and if they are suitable. A triangle represents bleach and a cross through it means not to use bleach while diagonal stripes across it mean to use oxygen bleach rather than non-chlorine bleach. Finally, a circle means the clothes can be dry cleaned, a circle with a letter tells the cleaner any particular requirements needed and a cross over the circle means don’t dry clean.