The Ultimate Guide to Wash Care Labels
9th September 2022
We’re curious, how many times have you checked the wash care label in your clothing and lingerie? We’re not here to shame! We’ve all been there. You try your best to decipher the mysterious symbols on the wash care label but with no luck you throw it in the washing machine, press start and hope for the best. But we’re here to help. We’ve pulled together the ultimate guide to wash care labels. Not only will this stop any washing mishaps, but it will also help to keep your lingerie, clothing and nightwear looking and feeling fabulous for longer!
What are wash care labels?
Designed to tell you everything you need to know to look after your garments, wash care labels have been around for decades. From the water temperate, washing method and drying method wash care labels provide a helpful, accurate guide that often gets overlooked. With over 40 official wash care symbols in the UK, you’ll be amazed at just how much information these little symbols convey!
If your clothing or lingerie is washable it will be represented by a wash basin symbol, with either a number or dots inside the basin. The dots indicate the maximum washing temperature. Handy right? If you see a single dot inside, this indicates the garment should be washed cold at 30°C. Two dots mean a warm wash at 40°C. Three dots show a warm/hot wash at 50°C, and so on up to 70°C (five dots). Dots are more commonly seen on garments that are bought outside the UK.
The washing method of your garment often depends on what fabric it’s made from. You would want to wash your everyday t-shirt on the same cycle as your beautiful delicate lingerie. That would be unforgiveable! Just as the temperature symbol with washing method symbol is represented by a wash basin. The most common washing method symbols you’ll come across are ‘Do Not Wash’, ‘Machine Wash’ and ‘Hand Wash’. The other two symbols ‘Permanent Press Cycle’ which reduces wrinkle in your clothing and ‘Gentle Cycle’ often for delicate clothing refer to a setting on your washing machine.
Whenever you see a square symbol on a wash care label, it refers to the drying method. The most popular symbols within the drying method are ‘Do Not Tumble Dry’ and ‘Tumble Dry’. Although these are the most common, it is important to know the other symbols within the drying method. To make sure your lingerie and clothing look and feel fabulous for as long as possible, we recommend preferable line drying and drying on a flat surface out of direct sunlight.
The iron symbol on a wash care label is pretty noticeable, however it’s important to note if the symbol includes dots. Much like the washing temperature symbols, you will find dots in the iron symbols that relate to the temperature. A single dot means ‘Iron at Low Heat’ up to 110°C, two dots indicate a ‘Medium’ setting up to 150°C and three dots illustrate a ‘Hot’ setting that can go all the way up to 200°C. You’ll see the steam symbols illustrated above, however these are less common in the UK.
A circle symbol on the wash care label indicated professional care. The only symbol you need to be aware of is the ‘Dry Clean’ symbol. The professionals take care of the rest! Just in case you were wondering if a symbol includes a letter, this lets the dry cleaner know what chemicals they should use or avoid during the cleaning process.
Last but no means least, the triangle sign indicates bleach safety. Believe it or not, bleach is a great way to get rid of stubborn stains on your clothes. However, it could quite easily cause discolouration to your garments if you aren’t supposed to use bleach. These symbols also indicate what type of bleach can be used.
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