What do these washing symbols mean?

When it comes to caring for our clothes, understanding the symbols found on garment labels is vital. These small, seemingly cryptic icons provide valuable instructions for washing, drying, ironing, and other related care procedures. In this blog post, we aim to demystify these care icons and shed light on their meanings, helping you make better decisions to prolong the lifespan of your clothing while keeping them in optimal condition.


Washing Symbols:

Machine Wash

The symbol depicts a tub filled with water. The number inside it indicates the maximum temperature for washing. For example, 30°C indicates a cold or delicate wash, while 40°C is for a standard warm wash.

Hand Wash

This symbol signifies that a garment is too delicate for machine washing. The presence of the hand inside the tub icon indicates hand washing is required. Be gentle and opt for a mild detergent while following the other instructions provided.

Do Not Wash

This symbol warns against water exposure. Items with this icon are typically dry clean only or should be treated with alternative cleaning methods.


Drying Symbols

Tumble Dry:

The symbol shows a circle inside a square and represents the use of a tumble dryer. The dots or lines inside the circle indicate the heat level suitable for the garment. One dot signifies low heat, two dots denote medium heat, and three dots suggest high heat.

Line Dry:

This symbol depicts a horizontal line with a loop at the end, indicating that the garment should be air-dried by being hung on a clothesline or hanger.

Dry Flat:

This icon shows a square with a horizontal line through the middle, suggesting that the garment should be dried on a flat surface, such as a towel, away from direct heat or sunlight.

Ironing Symbols


The symbol resembles an iron and indicates whether it is safe to use one. The dots inside the iron signify the appropriate ironing temperature: one dot for low heat, two dots for medium heat, and three dots for high heat.

Do Not Iron:

This icon cautions against ironing. The garment may be delicate or prone to damage from heat or pressure.


Additional Care Symbols


This symbol depicts a triangle. An empty triangle means it is safe to use chlorine bleach. On the contrary, a crossed-out triangle suggests avoiding bleach altogether, as it can damage the fabric.

Dry Cleaning:

The symbol usually appears as a circle inside an open or crossed-out square. An open square indicates the garment can be dry cleaned, while a crossed-out square indicates that dry cleaning should be avoided.


Other symbols may include those related to wringing, fabric sensitivity, or specific instructions like using a laundry net, avoiding spin-drying, or keeping away from direct sunlight.

Understanding care icons on clothing labels is crucial to maintaining the quality and longevity of your garments. By deciphering these symbols, you can effectively care for your clothes while avoiding common pitfalls that lead to shrinkage, fading, or damage. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the icons and follow the provided instructions to ensure your clothes remain in excellent condition for years to come. Happy laundering!