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!

40°C mild wash

Fine laundry, e.g. in modal, viscose, synthetic fibres (polyacryl, polyester and polyamide). Reduce the quantity of laundry. Select a suitable washing program. Prewash only heavily soiled textiles. Avoid spinning or do spin for short periods only to minimise the risk of creasing.

40°C coloured wash

Washing cycle e.g. for dark coloured articles made of cotton, polyester, mixed fabrics etc.

50°C coloured wash

Coloured articles which must not be washed at boiling temperature e.g. made of cotton, modal, polyester and mixed fabrics. Energy-saving method.

50°C coloured wash “Easy care”

“Easy care” coloured wash: reduce the quantity of laundry. The drum must not be more than two-thirds full. Set the appropriate washing program (careful wash). Prewash only if the textiles are heavily soiled. Avoid spinning or do spin for short periods only to minimise the risk of creasing. Energy-saving method.

60°C coloured wash “Easy care”

“Easy care” coloured wash: reduce the quantity of laundry. The drum must not be more than two-thirds full. Set the appropriate washing program (careful wash). Prewash only if the textiles are heavily soiled. Avoid spinning or do spin for short periods only to minimise the risk of creasing.

60°C coloured wash

Coloured articles which must not be washed at boiling temperature e.g. made of cotton, modal, polyester and mixed fabrics.

70°C boil wash

Articles e.g. in cotton or linen, white, suitable for boiling, dyed or printed. Fill the drum completely. Set an appropriate washing program (normal washing cycle). Pretreat stubborn stains. Energy-saving method.

95°C boil wash

Articles e.g. in cotton or linen, white, suitable for boiling, dyed or printed. Fill the drum completely. Set an appropriate washing program (normal washing cycle). Pretreat stubborn stains.

Do not wet-clean

No professional wet-cleaning allowed.

Very mild professional wet-cleaning

Wet cleaning techniques for very sensitive textiles with much reduced mechanical action.

Mild professional wet-cleaning

Wet cleaning technique for sensitive textiles with reduced mechanical action.

Professional wet-cleaning

Normal wet cleaning methods with no restrictions.

Do not dry-clean

No professional dry-cleaning allowed. Do not use stain removers which contain solvents.

Dry-cleaning in: hydrocarbons: Mild

Mild cleaning process with stringent limitation of added humidity and/or mechanical action and/or temperature. Commercial stain removers on a solvent base may not be used.

Dry-cleaning in: hydrocarbons

Normal cleaning process with no limitations. Commercial stain removers on a solvent base may not be used.

Dry-cleaning in: perchloroethylene, hydrocarbons: mild

Mild cleaning process with stringent limitation of added humidity and/or...

Dry-cleaning in: perchloroethylene, hydrocarbons

Normal cleaning process with no restrictions. Commercial stain removers on a solvent base may be used with...

Hot Iron

Iron at maximum sole plate temperature of 200 °C. Corresponding to the “Cotton/linen” setting; iron whilst damp; treat and if necessary moisten; shiny or pressure-sensitive pieces should be ironed with press cloth or ironed inside out. A steam iron may be used.

Iron at moderate temperature

Iron at maximum sole plate temperature of 150 °C. Corresponding to the “wool/silk/polyester/viscose” setting: iron under a moderately moist intermediate cloth. A steam iron can be used. Avoid heavy pressure.

Iron at low temperature

Iron at maximum sole plate temperature of 110 °C. Corresponding to the “Polyacryl, polyamide (nylon), acetate” setting: if necessary, shiny or pressure-sensitive pieces should be ironed with a press cloth or inside out. Caution when using steam irons (as a rule, work without steam).