A Basic Guide To Laundry Symbols

When was the last time you really looked at the label on your clothes before you washed them? Hopefully it wasn't before you damaged it. When you go to read the label, you see a bunch of laundry symbols that you have to decipher. All the symbols specify what you should and shouldn't do with your garment. Below are the most common and basic symbols that illustrate how you should wash, dry, iron and bleach your clothes.


icon_procedure_wash_main   Machine wash


A care label with a tub and a wavy line representing water, is telling you how to wash the garment. The following instructions will show you if you should:

  • Machine wash
  • Machine wash gentle
  • Hand wash
  • Wash at 30/40/50/60° or below
  • Do not wash


icon_procedure_wash_main    Dry Clean


A cleaning symbol with a circle illustrates the dry cleaning method.

  • Dry clean
  • Do not dry clean


icon_procedure_wash_main    Tumble dry


A symbol with a circle within a square signifies how to dry your garment and instructions will usually tell you if you should:

  • Tumble dry low/ medium/ high/ no heat
  • Tumble dry gentle
  • Do not tumble dry


icon_procedure_wash_main    Ironing


The symbol for ironing is literally of an iron, and these signify what to do in terms of ironing and at what temperature to iron at:

  • Iron hot (3 dots)
  • Iron Medium (2 dots)
  • Iron cool/low (1 dot)
  • Do not iron
  • Steam


icon_procedure_wash_main    Bleach


If the care label has a triangle, it tells you whether or not to bleach your garment.

  • Bleach
  • Do not bleach



A few notes to remember:

  • A symbol that is telling you NOT to do something will have an X over the image.
  • Temperature guides will already have the temperature written OR dots to indicate whether to use low or warm temperatures (e.g. 1 dot= low and 3 dots= high).
  • If you have no time to be looking through your clothes care label, hand it over to a 24 hour dry cleaning and laundry service.