Fabric Care Symbols

272 reviews with an average rating of 4 out of 5 stars
A closeup image of a fabric care tag attached to a garment

Ever spot those curious pictographs on the care tags attached to your clothing and wonder what they mean? REI's interpretive guide explains all:

Washing

Symbol     Written Instructions Notes
Machine wash normal symbol     Machine wash:
Normal
Any water temp, any detergent
Machine wash cold symbol Or Machine wash cold symbol Machine wash:
Cold
Max water temp:
85°F (30°C)
Machine wash warm symbol Or Machine wash warm symbol Machine wash:
Warm
Max water temp:
105°F (40°C)
Machine wash hot symbol Or Machine wash hot symbol Machine wash:
Hot
Max water temp:
120°F (50°C)

Note: Additional hot-temperature symbols include up to 6 dots (200°F/95°C max).

Machine wash permanent press symbol Machine wash: Permanent press  
Machine wash gentle symbol Machine wash: Gentle or delicate  
Hand wash symbol Hand wash  
Do  not wash symbol Do not wash Look for dry cleaning instructions

Note: Dots and underlines are sometimes used in combination with other symbols.

Bleach if needed symbol Bleach (if needed) Any bleach OK
Non-chlorine bleach if needed symbol Non-chlorine bleach (if needed) Only color-safe bleach OK
Do not bleach symbol Do not bleach  

Dry Cleaning

Dry clean symbol Dry clean
Do not dry clean symbol Do not dry clean

Note: Several special-situation symbols for dry cleaning are not included in this list.

Drying

Tumble dry normal symbol Tumble dry: Normal
Tumble dry normal low heat symbol Tumble dry: Normal, low heat
Tumble dry normal medium heat symbol Tumble dry: Normal, medium heat
Tumble dry normal high heat symbol Tumble dry: Normal, high heat
Tumble dry normal no heat symbol Tumble dry: Normal, no heat
Tumble dry normal permanent press symbol Tumble dry: Permanent press
Tumble dry gentle symbol Tumble dry: Gentle
Do not tumble dry symbol Do not tumble dry
Do not dry symbol Do not dry
Line dry symbol Line dry
Drip dry symbol Drip dry
Dry flat symbol Dry flat
Dry in shade symbol Dry in shade
Do not wring symbol Do not wring

Ironing

Iron any temp with or without steam symbol Iron: Any temp (with or without steam)
Iron low with or without steam symbol Iron: Low (with or without steam)
Iron medium with or without steam symbol Iron: Medium (with or without steam)
Iron high with or without steam symbol Iron: High (with or without steam)
Do not steam symbol Do not steam
Do  not iron symbol Do not iron

Examples

The following examples are common symbol combinations you might see displayed on care-instruction tags. We interpret each group:

 

Combination of 5 laundry symbols

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.

 

Combination of 5 laundry symbols

Translation: Hand-wash in any water temperature; line dry; do not dry clean; no bleach; do not iron.

 

Combination of 5 laundry symbols

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.


How helpful was this article? Click a star to rate.