International Textile Care Labeling Code [Images]

Last updated on March 16th, 2024 at 05:42 am

Introduction

It is obvious that you take care of your favorite t-shirt, jeans, or underwear. How long your favorite clothing items last and shine depends on how you care for them. But many of us are tired of ruining our favorite clothes because we can’t make sense of the cryptic symbols on the care labels.

Garment Care Label shows washing, drying and ironing care instructions.

Understanding care labels is essential to ensuring that your garments receive the right treatment to maintain their quality and longevity. In this article, we will break down the meaning behind each symbol and provide practical tips on how to care for different fabrics, from delicate silk to sturdy denim.

Definitions

Care Label: A permanent label containing regular care information and instructions, that is attached in such a manner that it will not become separated from the product and will remain legible during the useful life of the product.

Care Instructions: A series of directions that describe practices which, should refurbish a product without adverse effects, and that warn against any part of the directions which one could reasonably be expected to use that may harm the item.

Care symbol: A pictorial symbol that gives directions for refurbishing a textile product.

Purpose of Textile Care Labels

Care labels are essential for us because they show vital information on how to maintain clothing and textiles effectively. These labels serve as a guide, providing instructions on washing, drying, ironing, and even dry-cleaning specific garments. By following these instructions, we can extend the life of our clothing and avoid unconscious damage.

The primary purpose of care labels is to educate us on the appropriate care methods for different types of fabrics and garments. Each fabric has its own unique characteristics. Such as sensitivity to heat or the risk of shrinking. By providing clear care instructions, these care labels allow us to make decisions about how to care for our clothing and save our products.

An Overview

The Care Labeling Code is a methodical system widely adopted across the world. It ensures consistency and clarity in textile care instructions. This code was created through the collaborative efforts of various organizations. They focused on consumer satisfaction and industry standards.

International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is the main organization which plays a vital role in the development and alimentation of the care codes. The ISO supervise for establishing global standards that aid international trade and consumer safety. Their involvement ensures that the Care Labeling Code is recognized and utilized worldwide.

Additionally, other organizations, including the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC) and the International Association for Soaps, Detergents, and Maintenance Products (A.I.S.E.), also contribute to the creation and implementation of the code. This multi-organizational effort ensures that the Care Labeling Code is comprehensive and reflects the best practices in the textile and fashion industries.

Elements of the Care Labels

The Care Labeling Code utilizes a set of symbols that convey specific care instructions. The symbols must be listed in the following order: washing, bleaches, drying, ironing, professional care (dry / wet cleaning). These symbols simplify the information, making it easily understandable regardless of language or cultural barriers. Let’s take a closer look at the common symbols used in the code and their interpretations:

Elements of the Care Labels

Washing Symbol: This symbol represents washing instructions for the garment. It may include variations such as the appropriate water temperature or recommended cycles.

Bleaching Symbol: The bleaching symbol indicates whether the garment should be bleached or not. It shows bleach when needed, only non-chlorine bleach when needed or do not bleach.

Drying Symbol: The drying symbol indicates how to dry the garment. It could suggest tumble drying, line or flat drying, or even avoiding the dryer altogether.

Ironing Symbol: This symbol signifies the ironing guidelines for the garment. It conveys the necessary temperature settings and whether steam should be used.

Dry Cleaning Symbol: The dry-cleaning symbol indicates whether the garment should be professionally dry cleaned.

Standard Care Label Instructions and what instructions mean

Here is the standard care label instructions and actual meaning:

Machine wash: Use any type of home-type washing machine. When no temperature is given, e.g., warm or cold, hot water up to 150°F (66°C) can be regularly used.

The numbers inside the symbol suggest the ideal water temperature, with a higher number representing a higher temperature.

AATCC washing symbolMachine wash, delicate or gentle, cold [should not exceed 30°C (65-85°F)]
AATCC washing symbol warm.Machine wash, permanent press, warm [should not exceed 40°C (105°F)]
AATCC washing symbol hotMachine wash normal, hot [should not exceed 50°C (120°F)]
Hand wash, coldHand wash, cold [should not exceed 30°C (65-85°F)]

Machine-wash cold: Set initial water temperature control same as cold water tap up to 86°F (30°C).

Machine-wash warm: Set initial water temperatures control between 87° to 112°F (31° to 44°C) (hand comfortable).

Machine-wash hot: Set initial water temperature control at 112-145°F (45-63°C).

Delicate cycle or gentle cycle: Machine is set for slow agitation and reduced time.

Durable or permanent-press cycle: Machine is set for cold down rinse or cold rinse before reduced spinning.

Hand wash: Garment maybe laundered through the use of water, detergent or soap, and gentle hand manipulation. It recommends using a gentle detergent and avoiding any harsh scrubbing or twisting.

Wash separately: Separately.

With like colors: With colors of similar hue and intensity.

Washing SymbolSet maximum washing temperature 950 C. Wash in the normal process.
Washing Symbol 95MSet maximum washing temperature 950 C. Wash in the mild process.
Washing Symbol 70 Set maximum washing temperature 700 C. Wash in the normal process.
Washing symbol at 60 degreeSet maximum washing temperature 600 C. Wash in the normal process.
Washing symbol at 60 degree mildSet maximum washing temperature 600 C. Wash in the mild process.
Washing symbol at 50 degree isoSet maximum washing temperature 500 C. Wash in the normal process.
Washing symbol at 50 degree mildSet maximum washing temperature 500 C. Wash in the mild process.
Washing symbol at 40 degreeSet maximum washing temperature 400 C. Wash in the normal process.
Washing symbol at 40 degree mildSet maximum washing temperature 400 C. Wash in the mild process.
Washing symbol at 40 degree very mild.Set maximum washing temperature 400 C. Wash in the very mild process.
Washing symbol at 30 degree Set maximum washing temperature 300 C. Wash in the normal process.
Washing symbol at 30 degree mild.Set maximum washing temperature 300 C. Wash in the mild process.
Washing symbol at 30 degree very mildSet maximum washing temperature 300 C. Wash in the very mild process.
Washing symbol hand wash in ISOHand wash, Maximum temperature 400 C.
Do not wash symbolNo need to wash the garment.

Bleach when needed: Any household laundry bleach may be used when necessary.

Only non-chlorine bleach when needed: Use non-chlorine bleach only. Chlorine bleach may not be used.

Do not bleach: No bleach may be used. The garment is not colorfast or structurally able to withstand any bleach.

Bleaching symbolAny oxidizing bleaching agent allowed.
Only non-chlorine bleach symbol.Only oxidative or non-chlorine bleach allowed.
Do not bleach symbolDo not bleach or no bleach

Tumble dry: Use machine dryer. When no temperature is given, machine drying at a hot setting maybe regularly used.

Tumble dry symbol.Tumble dry, normal (any heat setting).

Tumble dry low: Set dryer at low heat.

Tumble dry normal symbolTumble dry, normal, low heat setting.

Tumble dry medium: Set dryer at medium heat.

Tumble dry medium symbolTumble dry, normal, medium heat setting.

Durable press or permanent press: Set dryer at permanent press setting.

Tumble dry permanent pressTumble dry, permanent press, low heat setting.

No heat: Set dryer to operate without heat.

Tumble dry no heat.Tumble dry, normal, no heat or air only setting.

Remove promptly: When items are dry, remove immediately to prevent wrinkling.

Drip dry: Drip dry suggests that the water will drip off the clothes as they hang or lie flat, and they will dry on their own.

Drip dry symbolHang dripping wet with or without hand shaping or smoothing.

Line dry: After spinning in the washer, squeezing through wringer or squeezing by hand, hang damp from line or bar in or out of doors.

Line dry symbolLine dry or hang to dry your clothing.

Dry flat: Dry flat means the item is allowed to maintain its original shape and structure while drying.

Dry flat icon.Lay down horizontally for drying.

Iron if needed: Regular iron may be needed and may be performed at any temperature and with or without steam is acceptable.

The dots inside the symbol specify the appropriate iron temperature, with more dots representing higher temperatures.

Low iron symbol.Iron when needed at 110°C (230°F), low setting, dry or steam.
Medium iron symbol.Iron when needed at 150°C (300°F), medium setting, dry or steam.
High Iron Symbol. Iron when needed at 200°C (390°F), high setting, dry or steam.

Low heat iron or cool iron: Regular ironing, steam or dry may be performed at low temperature setting (230°F, 100°C).

Medium heat iron or warm iron: Regular ironing, steam or dry may be performed at medium temperature setting (300°F, 150°C).

High heat iron or hot iron: Regular ironing, stream or dry may be performed at high temperature setting (390°F 200°C).

No steam or do not steam: Steam in any form may not be used, but regular dry ironing at indicated temperature setting is acceptable.

No steam iron symbol.Do not steam when ironing your clothing.

Steam press or steam iron: Use iron at steam setting and at the indicated temperature.

Iron damp: Moisten articles before ironing.

Do not iron: Item may not be smoothed or finished with an iron.

Do not iron symbol.Do not iron your clothing item.
Ironing symbol at 200 degree.Iron at maximum sole plate temperature of 200° C.
Ironing symbol at 150 degree. Iron at maximum sole plate temperature of 150° C.
Ironing symbol at 110 degree.Iron at maximum sole plate temperature of 110° C.
Do not iron symbol.Do not iron.

Dry clean: Dry clean, any solvent, any cycle, any moisture, any heat. The process may include use of organic solvents such petroleum, fluorocarbon, or perchloroethylene, moisture addition up to 75% relative humidity, hot tumble drying up to 160°F (71°C) and restoration by steam press or steam-air finishing.

Dry cleaning symbol.Dry clean, any solvent can be used.
Dry clean reduced moisture symbol.Dry clean, any solvent, reduced moisture condition.
Dry clean no steam symbol.Dry clean, any solvent, no steam condition.
Dry clean low heat symbol.Dry clean, petroleum solvent only, low heat.
Do not dry clean symbol. Garment may not be commercially dry cleaned.

Dry clean, reduced moisture: Decreased relative humidity.

Steam only: Employ no contact pressing when steaming.

No steam or do not steam: Do not use steam in pressing and finishing.

Dry clean, low heat: Reduced drying temperature.

Do not dry clean: Garment may not be commercially dry-cleaned.

Leather clean or suede leather clean: Have to be cleaned only by professional cleaner who has special leather care methods.

Professional dry cleaning symbol.Professional dry-cleaning in tetrachloroethene, normal process.
Professional dry cleaning mild symbol.Professional dry-cleaning in tetrachloroethene, mild process.
Professional dry cleaning hydrocarbon symbol.Professional dry-cleaning in hydrocarbons (distillation temperature between 150° C and 210° C, flash point between 38° C and 70° C), normal process.
Professional dry cleaning hydrocarbon mild  symbol.Professional dry-cleaning in hydrocarbons (distillation temperature between 150° C and 210° C, flash point between 38° C and 70° C), mild process.
Do not dry clean symbol.Do not dry-clean.

Additional Statements for Care Instructions

Washing: Turn garment inside out (to avoid noticeable appearance change), wash separately or with like colors, dry clean separately or with like colors, wash once before wearing, do not wring or twist (Used for hand washable garments that include embellishments or are easily distorted), remove accessories/belt before washing, to be cleaned by a leather’s specialist (applicable for leather items).

Bleaching: Do not bleach (fabric is unsafe to chlorine and non-chlorine bleaches), only non-chlorine bleach when needed (fabric is safe to non-chlorine bleach).

Drying: With clean tennis balls (down and feather filled items), do not wring or twist, dry in shade, line dry or hang dry in the shade.

Ironing: Do not iron on print, do not iron embellishments, iron on reverse (raised fiber or pile fabrics), do not iron decoration (screen printed garments).

Guide on Care Labelling System

It’s very important for consumers to know about the care symbols to ensure proper care of their garments. Here is the infographic for clearance.

Garment care labelling guide.

Tips for Consumers

To effectively utilize and interpret garment care labels, here are a few practical tips for consumers:

  • Always read and follow the care instructions indicated on the label.
  • When in doubt, seek professional advice.
  • Separate garments based on their care instructions to avoid any potential damage.
  • Treat stains promptly following the guidelines provided to prevent permanent damage.
  • Avoid overcrowding the washing machine or dryer to ensure proper cleaning and drying.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the International Textile Care Labeling Code plays a pivotal role in ensuring that consumers have access to clear and consistent care instructions for their clothing and textiles. By utilizing standardized symbols, this code eliminates language and cultural barriers. It also ensures that, consumers worldwide can effectively understand and interpret care labels.

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He is Abu Sayed, the founder of the blog site Textile Apex. He is a Textile Engineer having eight years plus practical experience in the Textile and Clothing industries. With a deep love for fashion and a keen eye for detail, he combines his creative flair with extensive knowledge to offer insightful and engaging content to his readers.
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2 thoughts on “International Textile Care Labeling Code [Images]

  1. Thanks for posting. I really enjoyed reading it, especially because it addressed my problem. It helped me a lot and I hope it will help others too.

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