The simple part about washing your clothes can often be picking the laundry products, the hard part about it, is understanding how to actually wash them. AspenClean has been around long enough to know that the most common washing mistake is not reading the label first or perhaps you’ve read it but you don’t fully understand what it means..
Well don’t worry, we’re here to help! We know that reading laundry symbols can be like reading another language, so we’ve put together all laundry symbols and their meaning so that you can wash your clothes like never before.
Read on for our essential laundry symbols guide and expert tips.
Do you know what Laundry Symbols are and where to find them?
Laundry symbols were designed to help increase the lifespan of our clothes and can be found on the labels of your clothes and fabrics. As laundry is done all around the world, the industry created five basic washing instruction symbols to make it easier for everyone to follow. Once you master these five basic shapes you will become a laundry professional in no time!
So before we get started, make sure to double check your fabric labels for instructions because each fabric will have a different instruction and we all know that when we get stains on our clothes we want to act quickly to remove it.
HOW TO WASH: Learning the washing machine symbols
First up is our washing machine cycle and water temperature symbols, and probably the most important symbols you need to follow. Alicia, our president and co-CEO of AspenClean, warns that if you don't follow the care instructions, you could cause damage to your clothes. "For example, what might happen if you put a dry-clean-only garment in a washing machine? The garment may shrink - not just a little, but significantly“.
It is important to know the right symbols for the different washing cycles and temperatures. For instance, as seen in our guide below, the wash temperature is marked in degrees Celsius or by the number of dots in the washtub, depending on the country you live in. For example, 30° represents a cold wash, 40° represents a warm wash while 50° represents a hot wash. On the other hand, the more dots in the washtub, the hotter the temperature of your wash.
Meanwhile, the wash cycle is indicated by a washtub with horizontal lines underneath it, with each line representing a different cycle.
- No lines = Normal wash cycle
- One line = Machine wash, permanent press cycle
- Two lines = Gentle cycle
- Three lines = Very delicate cycle
AspenClean Tip: Permanent Press Cycle is a great way to protect your clothes that are prone to wrinkling, shrinking or color-fading.
Following instructions is important right? Well this applies to laundry detergent too. As well as knowing how to wash your clothes, it is important to know how much laundry detergent to use with each wash.
The following descriptions can be used as a general guide to laundry load sizes:
- A small load size will fill the washer drum by a third and weigh less than six pounds.
- A medium or regular load of washing will half fill a drum and weigh about six pounds.
- A large load will fill the drum three-quarters and weigh about eleven pounds
AspenClean Tip: Extra care should be taken not to overfill any type of washing machine as the clothes need room to get clean. Simply, leave a gap between the clothes and the top of your machine.
HOW TO Dry Clean: Learning the dry cleaning symbols
Dry cleaning at home isn’t for everyone and chances are if it's an expensive piece of clothing you’ll want to leave it with the dry cleaner professionals but the good news is that most garments labelled as “dry-clean” only can in fact be cleaned at home - once you follow the instructions and understand the symbols that is. So if you’re willing to take the chance we’ve outlined below the meaning behind each symbol.
- Letter inside the circle = shows which chemical the cry cleaner can use on the fabric
- Bars beside circle = determine the amount of care each item of fabric needs
- “X” over circle = means you must not dry clean the item
HOW TO DRY: Learning the tumble dryer symbols
Let me ask you, have you ever ignored the label and dried clothes you shouldn’t have and ended up shrinking them? The answer is more than likely yes!
I’m sure we’ve all been guilty (myself included!) of throwing clothes into the dryer for a few minutes, thinking they’ll be fine - when actually they won’t. The good news is that most tumble drying problems aren't because of the fabrics but because of the drying technique, meaning they can easily be fixed by following the drying symbols.
Everything you need to know about drying can be found in the square symbol on your fabrics. Similar to the washtub symbol, the number of dots represent the temperature of the cycle.
- One dot = low temperature
- Two dots = medium temperature
- Three dots = high temperature
AspenClean Tip: Regularly clean your tumble dryer lint traps and vents to increase the lifespan of your dryer. We recommend cleaning your lint traps after every use to help dry your clothes more quickly (keeping energy bills low) and to prevent fires, while cleaning your vents once a year.
HOW TO IRON: Learning the ironing symbols
Last but not least is the iron-shaped symbol. With offices and workplaces back open it’s time to start remembering what those ironing symbols mean. As we know some clothes can be ironed while others can't, so it's important to read the label - before you end up burning a hole in one of your favorite tops!
Similar to the washtub and dryer symbols, the number of dots signifies the different temperatures you should be using when ironing different types of fabrics.
- No dots = any temperature can be used
- One dot = low temperature (generally used on silk or wool fabrics)
- Two dots = medium temperature (synthetics)
- Three dots = high temperature (linen or cotton fabrics)
AspenClean Tip: Keep your iron clean to prevent a build up of brown stains or residue. We recommend gently wiping down your iron after each use, using a damp microfiber cloth - once your iron has cooled down of course!