Washing Instruction Symbols for Clothes

Most of us usually cut off the tag with washing instruction symbols for clothes, because it might for example tickle or look ugly on a scarf. Only a few, however, memorise the correct washing instructions, and many treat their clothes carelessly – which will later show in colours fading, stretching or shrinking.

Washing instruction tag on a garment, also known as a laundry tag or a care tag, tells about suitable cleaning and ironing methods, such as whether it’s machine or hand washable, or dry-clean only, and whether it can be dried in a tumble dryer or bleached. These instructions are always given for the whole garment, including for example buttons and other details.

The washing instructions should be followed, otherwise the garment may be affected in many different ways. For example, excessively hot temperatures can damage silk or cause linen to shrink, while cotton can endure rougher washing. So tags with washing instructions on clothes are not useless but, in fact, quite the contrary. By following those instructions, the clothes can be maintained in good condition and last longer.

General washing instructions

The most important instruction is to keep the tag with washing instructions. That will allow you to follow the instructions, prolonging the life cycle of your garment. 

Second most important thing is correct sorting. Clothes have to be sorted according to their colour, dirtiness and recommended washing temperature. A good basic rule to remember is to wash dark and light clothes separately.

You might also want to turn your clothes inside out before washing to prevent wearing of colours and prints or wash marks appearing. In addition, try to have your washing machine full to save water – and nature will thank you, too!

Check the water temperature carefully: excessively cold water might not be good, either, because the colours on patterned clothes might mix up.

Remember also to store clothes properly: either on hangers or neatly folded. Easily wrinkled materials should be put to hangers already for drying, which will help to avoid ironing them constantly.

Good to know about textiles

  • For daily wear choose textiles that can easily sustain regular wash and tumble drying, if necessary.
  • Choose washing products according to the clothes’ fabric: delicate materials require neutral pH.
  • Cotton and linen may shrink slightly after wash, depending on their making method.
  • Viscose garments should be folded back to their size after the wash, because they might shrink in length.
  • Use bleaching detergent with white cotton clothes to keep them white.
  • Do not dry silk clothes in the sun, because the sunlight might make the colours fade.

Laundry symbols

The washing instruction symbols for clothes, or laundry symbols, are standardised. A care tag would usually have five different symbols to indicate the preferred temperature for washing and ironing, as well as whether the garment can be bleached, tumble tried or dry-cleaned. In addition to that, there might also be some additional country-specific care symbols.

Washing or drying temperature indicated on the care tag should not be exceeded, otherwise the garment might get damaged. The temperature on the symbol is the highest recommended wash temperature.

A bar below the wash temperature symbol indicates that a delicate wash is recommended.

Delicate wash means that the washing machine should not be fully loaded, and a delicate cycle with more water and lower spin speed should be selected. Such materials as silk and wool, for example, require delicate wash.

It’s worth checking washing instructions for clothes already at the shop, because, for example, if a garment worn daily requires dry-cleaning, taking it to the dry-cleaner may appear troublesome in the long run. For daily wear it is recommended to choose clothes that are easy to care for, and can be washed in a fully loaded washing machine, if possible.

Below are the most common laundry symbols:

Do you need tips on how to take care of your clothes?

We try to always indicate the washing instructions for clothes in the product description, so that you could check what kind of care the garment will require before making a purchase decision.

However, if you have any questions about washing instructions for our clothes, feel free to contact our customer support team via verkkokauppa@aukia.fi.