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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

How to Decipher those Care Label Symbols

Before I start researching how, I often want to first know why.  For instance, why did someone decide to create symbols to put on a tag inside your clothes instead of just writing ‘machine wash cold water, tumble dry low heat until dry, immediately hang or fold’?  Here’s how the story goes: in the 1950’s, several textile conferences were held which resulted in the creation of GINETEX, the International Association for Textile Care Labeling, and they ultimately chose to use a symbol form of communication to avoid any confusion given that there are over 6,000 languages floating around the world. 

While that makes complete sense to me, I work in the garment care industry and even I don’t have all the symbols memorized.  And why should you have any of these memorized?  Unless you want to carry a chart around with you, you should know the basics to help you as you pick out new clothes, and these are the 5 you should recognize.


Each one has variances to them.  For instance, under wash there are subcategories with numbers or dots for temperature, an X for don’t machine wash, and a hand meaning hand wash.  But if you know these 5 basic symbols, you’ll be able to decipher if something is hand wash only, dry clean only, or cannot be ironed.  Sometimes the amount of care a garment needs can be a deciding factor as to whether you make the purchase or not.

More importantly, once you get a garment home, you need to know how to care for it properly, if you want to get more than just one use out of it.  This is the very reason why I have the following guide posted in my laundry room:

http://www.textileaffairs.com/docs/acsguide-050608.pdf

This guide has saved me from ruining more than one garment, and we hope you find it helpful too.  Of course, if there is ever something you are uncertain of, please feel free to stop by or call one of our locations.  Our garment care professionals are trained to understand these symbols and to provide the best care for all your wears. 

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