A Guide to Laundry Symbols A Guide to Laundry Symbols

A Guide to Laundry Symbols

Have you ever wondered what all of the symbols on the tags of your favorite garments and fabrics mean? It seems like there is one for every possible scenario. Here is a comprehensive guide to what each of these mean so you can get to know your wash cycles just a little bit better. Here’s to never shrinking your favorite tops again!


Wash Symbol for LaundryWash Symbol with Temperature Dot

Wash Symbol

It looks like a bucket filled with water, the Wash Symbol tells you what temperature or machine setting you should use to wash the item of clothing. Easy enough to follow once you know, the Wash Symbol typically has a dot or series of dots to reference the temperature the garment can stand.

One Dot = 30ºC, 86ºF
Two Dots = 40ºC, 104ºF
Three Dots = 50ºC, 122ºF
Four Dots = 60ºC, 140ºF
Five Dots = 70ºC, 158ºF
Six Dots = 95ºC, 203ºF


Permanent Press Laundry Icon

Permanent Press

The Permanent Press symbol has one line beneath the standard Wash Symbol. Permanent Press fabrics have been treated with chemicals to ensure they resist wrinkles and retain their original shape. If a piece of clothing is permanent press, it usually means that you shouldn’t iron it.


Gentle Cycle Launrdy Icon

Gentle Cycle

The Gentle Cycle Symbol has two lines beneath the standard Wash Symbol. The Gentle Cycle is for delicate fibers like wool or silk, or for items of clothing that could be damaged by a vigorous washing (like your favorite sequined top, or your favorite pair or perfectly fitted tights).


Hand Wash Laundry Symbol

Hand Wash

The Hand Wash Symbol is the standard Wash Symbol with a hand at the top. For ‘Hand Wash’ clothing, do not use the washing machine. Instead was garments in a sink or small tub, using your hands to ensure that the cleaning liquid is thoroughly rubbed into the material and subsequently rinsed out. Check your cleaning liquid ahead of time to ensure it is suitable for hand washing. Milder detergents have been specifically designed for hand wash use, and they are typically safer for your clothes and hands.


Do Not Wash Laundry Icon

Do Not Wash

The Do Not Wash symbol is the standard Wash Symbol with a cross through it. If the label instructs you not to was the item, it will have to be dry cleaned after it gets dirty. See the Dry Cleaning Guidelines below.



Bleach Laundry Icon


A triangle without anything in the middle means that any kind of bleach can be used on the clothing when needed.


Non-Chlorine Bleach Laundry Icon

Non-Chlorine Bleach Only

A triangle filled with diagonal lines means that only non-chlorine bleaches should be used. Check the ingredients on your bleach to see if it contains chlorine.


Do Not Bleach Laundry Icon

Do Not Bleach

A solid black triangle with crossed lines means Do Not Bleach and you should not attempt to use any kind of bleach on this garment.



Tumble Dry Laundry IconTumble Dry High Laundry Icon

Tumble Dry

The basic Tumble Dryer Symbol is a square with a circle in the middle of it. As with the washing symbols, the number of dots inside the circle will tell you the heat setting you should put your tumble dryer on to, as well as any specific program requirements.

One Dot = Tumble Dry Low
Two Dots = Tumble Dry Medium
Three Dots = Tumble Dry High


Do Not Tumble Dry Laundry Icon

Do Not Tumble Dry

When an item is marked as Do Not Tumble Dry, the Tumble Dryer Symbol will have a cross through it. Leave this garment to drip dry on a drying rack or outside on a line rather than putting it in the dryer.


Tumble Dry Permanent Press Laundry Icon

Tumble Dry, Permanent Press

A single line below the Tumble Dryer Symbol means that the Permanent Press setting must be used.


Tumble Dry Delicate Laundry Icon

Tumble Dry, Delicate Setting

Double lines below the Tumble Dryer Symbol means that the Delicate setting must be used.



Iron Symbol for LaundryIron Symbol with Temperature


To make life easy, they have shaped the Ironing Symbol to resemble an old fashioned iron. The Ironing Symbol can have a dot or series of dots to reference the temperature the garment can stand. This is the same dot system for heat levels as the Wash Symbol uses and can be easily adjustable on your iron.

One Dot = Low Heat
Two Dots = Medium Heat
Three Dots = High Heat



 Dry Clean Laundry Icon

Dry Clean

The Dry Clean Symbol is a circle.


Do Not Dry Clean Laundry Icon

Do Not Dry Clean

A crossed out circle means that you should not dry clean the item.


Dry Clean Only Laundry Icon

Dry Clean Only

For clothes that are dry clean only, the circle has a letter ‘P’ inside it.


Do Not Dry Clean Laundry Icon

Dry Clean Normal

For clothes that should be dry-cleaned under normal conditions, the circle will have a letter ‘F’ inside it.


This article was originally featured on Cleanipedia.
See it here:
 Laundry Symbols – what do they mean?


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