Care Labels: What Do They Mean?

Following the care labels in your clothing is the best way to keep garments in good condition and lasting longer. Without the symbols on care labels we wouldn’t know how to wash, dry or iron any of our clothes.

To make getting to know all of the care symbols a little easier, we’ve listed them below along with their descriptions. There’s also a free care symbol guide to download – perfect to hang next to your washing machine or tumble dryer at home. We also have some retro designer posters to choose from, too: Drying and Ironing, Professional Cleaning, Washing and Bleaching.

You can also take our ‘Know Your Labels #InsideOut’ quiz to put your care labels knowledge to the test!

Do not tumble dry

Articles unsuitable for tumble drying.

Natural drying - Drip flat drying in the shade

The symbol containing horizontal or vertical line ( s ) in the square indicate the natural drying process, line drying, drip line drying, flat drying, drip flat drying.

Natural drying - Flat drying in the shade.

The symbol containing horizontal or vertical line ( s ) in the square indicate the natural drying process, line drying, drip line drying, flat drying, drip flat drying.

Natural drying - Drip line drying in the shade.

The symbol containing horizontal or vertical line ( s ) in the square indicate the natural drying process, line drying, drip line drying, flat drying, drip flat drying.

Natural drying - Line drying in the shade

The symbol containing horizontal or vertical line ( s ) in the square indicate the natural drying process, line drying, drip line drying, flat drying, drip flat drying.

Natural drying - Drip flat drying

The symbol containing horizontal or vertical line ( s ) in the square indicate the natural drying process, line drying, drip line drying, flat drying, drip flat drying.

Natural drying - Flat drying

The symbol containing horizontal or vertical line ( s ) in the square indicate the natural drying process, line drying, drip line drying, flat drying, drip flat drying.

Natural drying - Drip line drying.

The symbol containing horizontal or vertical line ( s ) in the square indicate the natural drying process, line drying, drip line drying, flat drying, drip flat drying.

Natural drying - Line drying

The symbol containing horizontal or vertical line ( s ) in the square indicate the natural drying process, line drying, drip line drying, flat drying, drip flat drying.

Tumble drying - Mild drying processes

Caution is appropriate when tumble drying. Select mild process with reduced thermal action (temperature, duration of treatment).

Tumble drying - Normal drying processes

Drying in the tumble dryer is possible under normal load without limitations.

Do not bleach

The triangle with a diagonal cross (St. Andrews Cross) indicates that bleaching is not allowed. Use only bleach-free detergent.

Only oxygen bleach allowed

The triangle with two oblique lines indicates that oxygen bleach (contained in universal detergents) is permitted but not chlorine bleach.

Any bleach allowed

The empty triangle is the symbol for chlorine and oxygen bleach.

Do not wash

Articles marked in this way must not be washed. They may be sensitive to any kind of wet treatment or be unsuitable for washing in a domestic washing machine because of their size.

Hand wash

Hand wash at a water temperature between 30° C and a maximum of 40° C, depending on the particular article. First dissolve a fine detergent in plenty of water. Allow the textiles to float in the solution and agitate carefully. Do not rub, pull and wring out. Then rinse the textiles well, press the superfluous water out carefully and pull into shape. Treat coloured and sensitive pieces rapidly and do not leave lying in the wet state.

30°C very mild fine wash

Articles made, e.g. of machine-washable wool. This washing cycle ensures a much reduced mechanical treatment. Select an appropriate washing program. Reduce the quantity of laundry substantially.

30°C mild fine wash

For articles, e.g. in modal, viscose, polyacryl, polyester and polyamide. Reduce the quantity of laundry. Select an appropriate washing program. Avoid spinning or do spin for short periods only to minimise the risk of creasing.

30°C fine wash

Washing cycle, e.g. for dark coloured articles in cotton, polyester, mixed fabrics etc. Select an appropriate washing program.

40°C very mild wash

For articles e.g. in machine-washable wool. This washing cycle ensures a much reduced mechanical treatment. Reduce the quantity of laundry substantially. The drum should be not more than on-third full. Select an appropriate washing program.