Good to know: this is what the laundry symbols on care labels mean

laundry symbols
Do you know what all laundry symbols mean?

Every item of clothing has a label sewn into it to explain how it should be laundered. We know what most symbols mean, or think we know, but sometimes there are symbols that make us scratch our heads. We explain what laundry symbols mean, so you’ll never have to be confused again.

We have compiled a list.


First, a bit of history. In the late 1950s, a European association for textile care labelling was formed. That is why especially in Europe laundry symbols are similar or the same. With our worldwide market, the symbols have gone international, so in most countries you will see the same or similar symbols. However, there is still confusion about what they mean exactly. No worries, we’ll explain.

Washing machine

laundry symbolsThis symbol means that you can wash the clothing item in your washing machine.

laundry symbolsThe number in the bucket means the maximum temperature. Don’t wash it any hotter, as it might shrink or lose its colour.

laundry symbolsThe line under the bucket means you have to use a slow spin cycle. The item is probably fragile and can’t withstand a fast cycle. Make sure the programme on your washing machine is slow!

laundry symbolsThe hand in the bucket means you can only wash the clothing manually or, if your washing machine has this feature, on the hand wash setting in your machine.

laundry symbolsIf the bucket is crossed out, it means you cannot wash the clothing item. Bring it to a dry cleaner’s to have it professionally cleaned or steam it at home.


laundry symbolsThe symbol that looks like a pig’s snout means you can dry your clothing in the dryer on a normal spin cycle.

laundry symbolsThis symbol with only one dot means you can put it in the dryer, but only on low heat. Also, make sure the programme is short!

laundry symbolsAs the cross indicates, this means you cannot put this item in the dryer. Let it dry on a drying rack or a clothes line.


laundry symbols One dot in the iron means you can iron the item, but the settings cannot be warmer than 110 degrees Celcius.

laundry symbolsTwo dots mean that the maximum temperature is 150 degrees Celcius.

laundry symbolsThree dots indicate a maximum temperature of 200 degrees Celcius.


laundry symbolsA triangle containing the letters ‘CI’ or ‘CL’ means you can bleach the item with chlorine

laundry symbolsA crossed out triangle means stay away with bleach!

Read more: Wow: Try adding a ball of aluminium foil to your dryer when doing laundry! This is amazing!

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Source: Wikipedia | Images: Jbaowner, wikimedia Commens