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Decoding Laundry Tag Symbols

As you prepare to wash and dry a new piece of clothing, you probably diligently check the tag for their care instructions, and while you know what ‘cold wash’ or ‘hang dry’ means, you probably don’t know what all the little symbols that often accompany these instructions on the tag mean. If you’ve always been curious about what those little laundry symbols mean, then read ahead towards decoding laundry symbols.

decoding laundry

Wash at room temperature.

Decoding Laundry Symbols with 2ULaundry

One of the most common symbols you’ll see on a clothing tag is the wash symbol.

  • The washtub shape tells you how to wash your clothing. One dot signifies that it should be washed in cold water, two dots in warm water, and three dots in hot water.
  • The lines that you sometimes see under the washtub indicate what cycle to use. With two lines you’ll want to use a gentle cycle, and if you only see one line you should use the permanent press cycle.

Machine tumble dry on gentle.

Another common symbol you’ll often see on your clothing tags is the dry symbol.

  • This square lets you know the best way to dry your items without over-drying and damaging them. A square with a circle inside means machine dry. Circle only means dry clean.
  • If you see three vertical lines, you’ll want to hang your clothes to dry rather than use the dryer.
  • If you see a curved line, you should line-dry your item.
  • A horizontal line indicates that you should dry the item on a flat surface to avoid stretching or damaging it.
  • Most often you’ll probably see a circle in the square which indicates that you should tumble dry the item. If you see one dot you should do so on low heat, two dots and you should do so on medium heat, and three dots you should do so on high heat.
  • If you see lines underneath the square, you should know that those indicate which tumble dry cycle to use: one signifies permanent press and two signifies gentle.

Iron on high heat.

After drying your clothes you might wonder the best way to iron them. Luckily, there is a symbol that will tell you just that.

  • The “how to iron” symbol is an iron with dots to indicate the heat setting to use: one dot for low, two dots for medium, and three dots for high.
  • If you see an “X” across the iron you shouldn’t iron the item at all while an “X” across a jet of steam means simply means you should avoid steaming the item as you iron.

With our guide on decoding laundry symbols, you should feel comfortable and confident reading any clothing tag that comes your way. And remember, when in doubt, be sure to read the tag (both words and symbols) in its entirety before you proceed with washing, drying, and ironing your item.