Essential Laundry Symbols You Have To Know

Is doing laundry causing your mind to spin constantly? Should I wash my jacket in warm water or cold water? Confused as to what the washing symbols on clothes labels actually mean? You’ve come to the right place! Despite their apparent complexity, laundry labels are actually pretty simple to comprehend. Here is our comprehensive explanation of what each sign means.

What do the washing labels on clothing labels mean?

This collection of washing symbols from the UK enables you to choose the appropriate setting and temperature for your washing machine as well as whether or not your clothes is safe to wash in it


Except for the “Do not wring” sign, it is typically pictured as a bucket filled with water. If the item can be washed in a machine, you’ll either notice dots or numbers inside the bucket symbol, indicating the suggested maximum temperature:

  • One dot indicates a temperature of 30 °C
  • Two dots indicate a temperature of 40 °C
  • Four dots indicate a temperature of 60 °C

If there is a line drawn underneath the bucket, it indicates that the item of clothing should be cleaned on the synthetic cycle.

If there are two lines, it indicates that the wool or mild cycle should be used.

Bleaching symbols on washing labels

It’s recommended to check the fabric care label on your clothing to see if it can withstand bleaching chemicals before you reach for your bottle of bleach to restore your whites like they used to.


When necessary, you can safely use bleach on your item of clothing if you notice an empty triangle. The use of non-chlorine bleach is indicated by the diagonal lines inside the triangle; however, if the triangle is crossed by two lines, no bleach should be used.

Drying guidelines on clothing labels

The laundry procedure includes drying in addition to washing and ironing. You can find a number of useful symbols on the fabric care label that will tell you the most effective way to dry your clothes without causing any damage to the fabric, preventing your garment from shrinking or becoming misshapen throughout the drying process.


The presence of a square with a circle inside signifies that the item can be tumble dried safely, and the number of dots inside the tumble dry symbol designates the appropriate temperature setting—one dot indicates low heat, two dots, medium heat, and three dots, high heat. Any heat can be used to tumble dry your items if there is no dot. Use the “Permanent Press” setting if there is a bar beneath the dryer symbol; if there are two bars, use the “Delicate” setting. Don’t tumble dry your clothing if the sign is crossed over; let it dry naturally instead. Three vertical lines within a square indicate drip drying, one horizontal line through the center denotes flat drying, and a drooping line denotes hanging to dry.

Ironing symbols on fabric labels

The maximum temperature that should be used to iron the clothing is indicated by an iron with dots inside.

photos source: ARIEL

If there are no dots on the iron, any temperature can be used to iron your item of clothing. The one-dot ironing symbol is typically used on delicate fabrics like wool and silk, the two-dot symbol on synthetics, and the three-dot mark on clothes made of linen and cotton. A cross-over sign indicates that the item is unsuitable for ironing, while the image of two lines emerging from the iron’s bottom with a cross-over indicates that steaming is not allowed.


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