What the Symbols on Clothing Tags Mean

Many of us don’t pay attention to the many symbols on clothing tags, nor do we follow all of the manufacturer’s recommendations. These tiny signs seem meaningless to us, and we don’t want to spend time trying to figure them out. But they’re not at all meaningless. These symbols can help you prolong the life of your items and prevent them from quickly wearing out.

5-Minute Crafts made a list of the main symbols that can be found on clothing tags most often and translated them for you.

Washing

Washing symbols on clothing tags look like small buckets with a wavy line in them.

  • If the bucket is drawn empty, it means that the standard machine wash is allowed.
  • If there is one dot inside the bucket, it’s recommended to wash the item in cold water. In some cases, the dot can be replaced with the temperature, 85°F.
  • dots or 105°F inside the bucket means that you should wash the item in warm water.
  • 3 dots inside the bucket means that you should wash the item in hot water up to 120°F.

Note: The recommended washing temperature may be higher than 120°F. If so, the corresponding temperature will be indicated inside the icon.

  • line under the bucket indicates that a permanent press setting should be used for this garment.
  • If there are 2 lines, it’s worth choosing a delicate cycle.
  • If there is a hand inside the bucket, the manufacturer recommends hand washing.
  • The bucket crossed by 2 lines indicates that it’s not recommended to wash the item.

Ironing

  • The symbol of the iron on the tag of the garment indicates how you should iron it or whether you can iron it at all.
  • An iron with one dot inside means that you can iron the item at low temperatures with or without steam.
  • The iron with 2 dots recommends adhering to a medium temperature, and steaming is allowed.
  • 3 dots inside the iron mean that the item can be ironed at high temperatures, with or without steam.
  • If 2 lines cross below the iron icon, the item is allowed to be ironed but without steaming.
  • The iron crossed by 2 lines means that the item can’t be ironed.

Drying

The symbol on the item tag that stands for drying is a square. Usually, it has additional signs inside that specify the drying process.

  • circle within the square indicates that tumble drying is allowed.
  • One dot inside a circle in a square says that tumble drying should be conducted on low heat, 2 dots mean tumble drying on medium heat is allowed, and 3 dots indicate tumble drying on high heat.
  • A filled circle indicates that tumble drying is only possible with no heat.
  • line under the square with a circle inside says that you should use a permanent press on low heat.
  • 2 lines indicate the delicate cycle.
  • The square with a circle crossed by 2 lines means that tumble drying is not allowed.
  • The crossed square that doesn’t have a circle inside says that the item should not be dried.
  • A square with a curved line on top (that looks like an envelope) means that wringing is allowed, followed by drying the item on a clothesline.
  • 3 vertical lines inside the square mean that the item should be dried by hanging up after washing.
  • One horizontal line inside the square means that the item should be dried flat.
  • If the square has 2 lines in the upper left corner, it means that the item should be dried in shade.
  • The symbol that looks like a candy crossed with 2 lines says that the item should not be wrung.

Other symbols

  • circle on the tag means that the item is recommended for dry cleaning.
  • The crossed circle says that the item should not be dry cleaned.
  • triangle on the tag means that bleaching is allowed.
  • The crossed triangle says that the item should not be bleached.
  • If the triangle has 2 lines inside, it means that you should use chlorine-free bleach.
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