What do the symbols on clothing labels mean?

The symbols on clothing labels are like little secrets that tell us how to take care of our clothes. Want to know what the symbols on clothing labels mean? Read on for our quick guide to uncover the secrets behind these symbols!


Why are the symbols on clothing labels important?

  • Provide washing instructions: The symbols on the labels are like little assistants for clothes, telling us how to wash them. For example, should we wash them in cold water or hot water? Is it suitable for hand washing or machine washing?
  • Avoid damage to clothes due to misoperation: Each piece of clothing has its own “temperament”, some may not like high temperatures, and some may not like drying. The symbols on the labels are to remind us to pay attention to which operations may cause damage to them.
  • Extend the service life of clothes: The correct washing and care methods can keep clothes in better condition, brighter colors, and more stable shapes. The symbols on the labels tell us how to do this.
  • Reflect the concept of environmental protection: Many clothing labels will have environmental protection symbols. These symbols tell us whether the clothing uses environmentally friendly materials or processes, and how we should be environmentally friendly when washing.


What do the symbols on clothing labels mean?

 When washing clothes, it is crucial to understand the laundry symbols below. Knowing how to wash and iron, and setting the correct temperature and wash cycle are important to achieve good laundry results and prevent damage to your clothes.

Washing symbols

  • Machine wash symbol:This is usually a basin or sink with a washing machine inside, so we can throw it into the washing machine with confidence.
  • Hand wash symbol:It consists of a washing tub plus a hand. This symbol means that it can only be washed by hand, not machine, and the maximum washing temperature does not exceed 40° Usually, this symbol is used for delicate clothing made of fabrics such as silk or linen.
  • Do not wash:This symbol directly reminds us not to try to wash this clothing with water. We can send it to a professional dry cleaner to clean it.
  • Dry clean only:Clothes that can only be dry cleaned must be sent to a dry cleaner to remove dirt or other stains.
  • Do not dry clean:When we see this symbol, we should understand that this clothing cannot be cleaned by dry cleaning. This may be because its material or details cannot withstand the chemical solvents in the dry cleaning process. Therefore, we can look for other suitable cleaning methods, such as hand washing, machine washing or gently wiping with a damp cloth.


Washing temperature symbol

  • Washing at the correct temperature:The icon with a specific number usually tells us the correct temperature for washing clothes. For example, if it says 30, we can wash clothes at a water temperature of 30℃ to prevent damage.
  • Washing in cold water: Usually it is represented by a dot in the barrel. This reminds us that we should use a lower water temperature for washing, usually at 30℃. Washing in cold water is the best choice for protecting clothing fibers and colors, especially for brightly colored, easily faded clothes and delicate, easily deformed fabrics such as silk and wool. Cold water can also reduce clothing shrinkage and maintain the shape of clothing.
  • Warm water washing:Usually 2 or 3 dots. This means that the clothes can be washed with medium-temperature water, usually between 40℃-50℃. Warm water washing can better remove stains and bacteria on clothes, and is suitable for most synthetic fibers and blended fabrics. Warm water will not overly irritate clothing fibers and ensure the washing effect.
  • Washing in hot water:Usually 3 or 4 dots. This means that the clothes can be washed with higher water temperatures, usually above 50℃. Hot water washing can more thoroughly remove stubborn stains and kill bacteria, and is suitable for washing heat-resistant clothing such as cotton and linen. However, we also need to pay attention that too high a temperature may cause the color of some clothing to fade or the fiber to be damaged, so it is only suitable for clothing that is clearly marked on the label as being suitable for hot water washing.
  • Disinfectant water temperature washing: usually 5 points. Indicates that a higher water temperature is required, usually above 70 degrees. During the washing process, higher temperature water is used to kill microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses to achieve the purpose of disinfection. This method is particularly suitable for clothing that requires a high degree of cleaning or disinfection, such as baby clothing, hospital uniforms, sports equipment, etc.


Universal drying symbols

  • Tumble drying allowed: When we see this symbol on the label of the clothes, it means that you can safely put the clothes in the tumble dryer for drying. However, even if there is this symbol, we should pay attention to whether there are other special instructions or temperature requirements on the label to avoid unnecessary damage to the clothes.
  • Do not tumble dry: This symbol clearly tells us that the clothes cannot be tumble dried. This may be because the material, structure or decorative parts of the clothes cannot withstand the high temperature or mechanical action during the drying process, otherwise the clothes may be deformed, shrunk, faded or damaged. Therefore, when you see this symbol, you should choose other drying methods, such as natural drying. This ensures that the clothes maintain their original shape and quality and extend their service life.
  • Hang to dry:When we see this symbol, we should hang the clothes on the hanger and make sure they are in a well-ventilated place away from direct sunlight (especially for clothes that are easy to fade). This ensures that the clothes can be dried in the best way while maintaining their original quality and appearance.
  • Dry flat :This symbol reminds us that we should lay the clothes flat on the clothes rack or soft towel. These clothes are usually made of natural fibers such as cotton, wool, silk, hemp or linen. Clothes usually need to be laid flat to dry to prevent the clothes from losing their shape.
  • Do not wring:This symbol is very important because many clothes, especially those made of delicate or easily deformed materials, may lose their shape, shrink or wrinkle if they are wrung out too hard. Therefore, when we see this symbol, we should not wring the clothes with our hands, but choose gentle ways to remove excess water, such as gently pressing or wrapping them in a towel and gently blotting.


Drying temperature symbols

  • Tumble dry:This symbol indicates that the item can be dried safely, generally at any temperature setting. However, be aware that too high a temperature may also cause the item to shrink.
  • Low heat: This symbol indicates that the item should be dried at a lower temperature to ensure that the item is not damaged or deformed by the high temperature. Low temperatures are usually suitable for items that require special care or are made of delicate materials, such as silk, wool, etc. .
  • Medium heat: This symbol indicates that the item can be dried at a medium temperature, which can effectively remove moisture from the item while avoiding damage caused by excessive temperatures. Medium temperatures are suitable for most common materials, such as cotton, polyester, etc.
  • High heat: This symbol indicates that the item can withstand higher drying temperatures, which is suitable for materials that require a more thorough drying effect or have a higher heat resistance.
  • No heat/air drying:Items that are safe to dry but are marked with the No heat/air drying symbol should be placed in the dryer and not dried with heat.


Bleach symbol

  • Bleaching allowed : This symbol indicates that the clothes can be bleached without damaging the fabric or causing other adverse effects. But it should be noted that not all bleaches are suitable for all clothes, and some clothes may only be suitable for oxygen bleaching or non-chlorine bleach. Therefore, we need to follow the instructions on the clothing label and the bleach instructions.
  • Do not bleach: This symbol indicates that bleach cannot be used to avoid damaging the color, texture or decoration of the clothes. We need to choose a gentle washing method suitable for the clothes.
  • Use non-chlorine bleach:This symbol means that the clothes should be cleaned with non-chlorine bleach. But we need to note that even if non-chlorine bleach can be used on clothes, the correct usage method and concentration should be followed to avoid over-treatment or damage to the clothes.



Through this guide to label symbols, do you know what the symbols on clothing labels mean? Don’t underestimate those small symbols, they are indeed our good helpers! Next time before washing clothes, you might as well “communicate” with them more and see what kind of care they need, so that our clothes can accompany us longer!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Update cookies preferences
Scroll to Top