Understanding Common Care Labels On Your Garments

Understanding Common Care Labels On Your Garments

Care guidelines are simple solutions to increase the lifespan of the clothing you have purchased.

Care labels inform buyers on garment care and the recommended cleaning processes to apply to a specific mix of fabric, thread embellishment, and manufacturing techniques. Following the recommendations on the care labels will ensure that the look and fit of the apparel will be protected even after washing. Damage to clothing caused by improper washing procedures can result in a shorter lifecycle of the item and a ruined garment. As a result, most care labels on the garments are well presented and serve as a cleaning guideline for consumers across brands.

Clothing with simple care instructions is frequently favoured by customers over garments with extensive and complicated care instructions. However, over the years, various care labelling systems have been developed across the world. Some are overseen by government regulations, while others are universal standards followed by the industry in general.

At first sight, clothing care labels might seem confusing.

We aim to educate you about the care labels you see every day but may not recognise their meaning. Thus, through this blog, you'll be able to immediately recognise each symbol and what each symbol means the next time you have to wash, bleach, air dry, iron, or dry clean your garment.

Five internationally recognised care symbols:

Since 1963, the International Association for Textile Care Labelling (GINETEX) has governed care labels across the world. Belgium, Japan, France, Brazil, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Israel, Spain, Austria, and Switzerland, among many other countries, are GINETEX members.

The international care labelling system employs five fundamental symbols in the following order:

A suitable care label must have at least four, and occasionally five, symbols in the following order: washing, bleaching, ironing, dry-cleaning, followed by drying.

As per Ariel, below is the washing guide as per the labels.

Washing labels:

If the item is easily washable, you'll find dots or numbers inside the bucket symbol reflecting the suggested maximum temperature: one dot represents 30 °C (cold water), two dots 40 °C (warm water), and four dots 60 °C (warm water). If there is just one line painted beneath the bucket, your items should be cleaned on the synthetic cycle, while two lines reflect the delicate or wool wash cycle. If you see the hand wash sign on the fabric care label of your clothing, wash it by hand at 40 °C or below, or use your washing machine's hand wash programme.

Bleaching symbol:

If there is an empty triangle, it signifies you can use bleach on the clothing as needed. The use of non-chlorine bleach is indicated by diagonal stripes inside the triangle. However, if the triangle is cancelled out by two lines, you should not use bleach at all. 

How to dry your clothes?

To keep your clothing from shrinking or getting lumpy when drying, look for a variety of useful symbols on the care tag that indicate the best method to dry your garments without damaging the fabric. A square with a circle within indicates that the item may be tumble dried safely, and the number of dots inside the tumble dry sign specifies the temperature setting.

Ironing guidelines:

 If there are no dots on the iron, that implies you may iron your garment at any temperature. The one-dot ironing symbol is often seen on delicate materials such as wool and silk; the two-dot symbol on synthetics; and the three-dot mark on linen and cotton clothes. A cross over the sign indicates that the clothing is not suited for ironing, but the picture of two lines springing out from the bottom of the iron with a cross over it indicates that steaming is not recommended.

Dry cleaning symbols:

Some items are better suited to being handled by an expert, which is where dry cleaning comes in. A circle indicates that the item is acceptable for dry cleaning, whereas letters advise the dry cleaner on the necessary technique.


Click here to download Ariel's washing guide for your reference. 

 *Banner image courtesy: Coats.com 

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