Ever spot those curious pictographs on fabric-care tags attached to your clothing and wonder what they mean? Wonder no more. Use our interpretive guide:
Symbol Written instructions Notes
Normal Any water temp, any detergent
Cold Max water temp:
Warm Max water temp:
Hot Max water temp:
Note: Additional hot-temperature symbols include up to 6 dots (200°F/95°C max).
Machine wash: Permanent press
Machine wash: Gentle or delicate
Do not wash Look for dry cleaning instructions
Note: Dots and underlines are sometimes used in combination with other symbols.
Bleach (if needed) Any bleach OK
Non-chlorine bleach (if needed) Only color-safe bleach OK
Do not bleach
Note: Several special-situation symbols for dry cleaning are not included in this list.
Tumble dry: Normal
Tumble dry: Normal, low heat
Tumble dry: Normal, medium heat
Tumble dry: Normal, high heat
Tumble dry: Normal, no heat
Tumble dry: Permanent press
Tumble dry: Gentle
Do not tumble dry
Do not dry
Dry in shade
Do not wring
Iron: Any temp (with or without steam)
Iron: Low (with or without steam)
Iron: Medium (with or without steam)
Iron: High (with or without steam)
Do not steam
Do not iron
The following examples are common symbol combinations you might see displayed on care-instruction tags. We interpret each group:
Translation: Machine-wash in warm water on gentle cycle (note the 2 underlines beneath the wash basin; they indicate that the gentle cycle should be used); tumble dry low on gentle cycle (2 underlines again); non-chlorine bleach OK if needed; may be ironed on low heat (with or without steam); do not dry clean.
Translation: Hand-wash in any water temperature; line dry; do not dry clean; no bleach; do not iron.
Translation: Machine-wash in hot water; any bleach OK if needed; tumble dry on medium heat; may be ironed on medium heat (with or without steam); do not dry clean.