Clothing Care Labels and Symbol

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A laundry symbol, also called a care symbol is a pictogram which represents a method of washing, for example drying, dry-cleaning and ironing clothing. Such symbols are written on labels knownn as Care Label, attached to clothing to indicate how a particular item should best be cleaned. There are different standards for Care Labels for the different countries/regions of the world. In some standards, pictogram coexist with or are complemented by written instructions.

Treatment indicated by the symbols is “the maximum permitted treatment” and is not required or recommended. GINETEX states that “milder forms of treatment and lower temperatures than those indicated on the label are always permitted.”

For example, if a symbol indicates washing in hot water and tumble drying, washing in cold water and drying on a clothes lines are also acceptable.

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The Canadian system was formerly the most colorful one, using three colours: green for “Go ahead”, yellow for “Be careful” and red for “Stop”. This system has abandoned with the decision to move to a common North American scheme.

General

The Care Label describes the allowable treatment of the garment without damaging the textile. Whether this treatment is necessary or sufficient, is not stated. A milder than specified treatment is always acceptable. The symbols are protected and their use is required to comply with the license conditions. Incorrect labeling is prohibited. A bar below each symbol calls for a gender treatment than usual and a double bar for a very gentle treatment.

Washing

A stylized washtub is shown, and the number in the tub means the maximum was temperature (degrees Celsius). A bar under the tub signifies a gentler treatment in the machine. A double bar signifies very gentle handling. A hand in the tub signifies that only (gentle) hand washing (not above 40oC) is allowed. A cross through washtub means that the textile may  not be washed under normal household conditions.

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