What Do Laundry Symbols Mean?


The laundry symbols that appear on clothing tags, or care labels, describe how to properly care for a garment. These pictograms illustrate the proper way to clean, dry and press a garment to avoid damaging it.

There are six categories of pictograms that can appear on a garment tag. The first category is “Wash.”

This symbol depicts if the garment should be machine washed, handwashed or not washed at all. It can also show at what temperature to wash the garment and which setting should be used on the washer.

The next category is “Bleach.” This symbol shows whether the item should be laundering using bleach, non-chlorine bleach or no bleach at all.

The third category is “Dry.” This pictogram describes how to dry the garment after it has been washed. There are many different drying methods, including tumble drying, line drying, drip drying, flat drying and shade drying. This symbol also describes how much heat to use when tumble drying and which setting to select on the dryer.

The next two symbols are “Wring” and “Iron.” The "Wring" pictogram describes whether or not the item can be wrung out. The "Iron" pictogram shows if the garment can be ironed and at what heat. It also indicates if steam can be used on the item.

The sixth set of laundry symbols illustrates that the garment must be professionally cleaned. It also advises the professional cleaners which chemicals to use for dry cleaning or if the piece should be professionally wet-cleaned.