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Laundry Symbols: How to Read a Care Tag

Written by Stephen Hunt


Reading a laundry tag seems easy, but do you know what all the symbols mean? Understanding those care tag symbols are important for preserving and taking care of your garment, otherwise the fabric, elastic, and other materials might degrade with improper care.

The most common laundry symbols can be broken down into five different categories; Washing, Bleaching, Drying, Ironing, and Dry Cleaning. You can find the details for each of those laundry care categories below!


laundry symbol washingWhen you see an icon that looks like a washtub, that’s where you will find information about the type of washing you should be doing. 

laundry symbol washing on low temperatureWhen there is a number in the water portion of that “tub”, that’s the temperature in Celsius that you should be washing your garment. It could also be a dot, so one black dot would be the coldest washing, two black dots 10 degrees warmer, three black dots another 10 degrees warmer, etc etc. This number typically goes from 30 to 60 (degrees). 
laundry symbol hand washingAn icon with a hand in the washtub means just that - the garment should be hand washed only!
laundry symbol do not washBut if there is an X through the symbol (or any laundry symbol), it means do not do it. In this case, do not wash!



laundry symbol bleachA triangle is the laundry care symbol for bleach. You can have chlorine bleach (which is a triangle with the letters CL in it) or non-chlorine bleach. 
laundry symbol bleach when necessaryThis is the symbol for non-chlorine bleach. Always use bleach sparingly, regardless of the presence of the symbol. 
laundry symbol do not bleachBut you should never bleach a garment if you see a laundry symbol that has an X through the triangle. 



laundry symbol tumble dryThis one is another easy laundry symbol to understand. The tumble dry symbol looks like a simplified clothes dryer.
laundry symbol tumble dry low heatWhen there is a dot in the center of the clothes dryer, tumble dry on a low temperature. However, if there is a second dot then you can tumble dry on the regular setting. Three dots means high.  
laundry symbol do not tumble dryOnce again, an X through the symbol means do not tumble dry your garment.

**There are also symbols for natural drying, such as drying on a clothesline, drip dry, etc. These symbols are less common, but pretty self explanatory (for example, to dry on a clothesline, it’s a box with a picture of a drooping clothesline).



laundry symbol ironIf you see a symbol with an icon that looks like an iron, that will give you the information you need for ironing. 
laundry symbol iron on low heatOnce again, the dots indicate the temperature. One dot instructs you to iron on a low temperature, two dots medium, three high. 
laundry symbol do not ironBut you can also see this symbol (an iron with an X through it), which means do not iron at all. 



laundry symbol for dry cleaningA circle indicates dry cleaning. If anything is in the circle, the dry cleaner will be able to identify it. However you should be aware of the do not cry clean symbol!

laundry symbol that means do no dry cleanAnd you guessed it - the laundry symbol that means "do not dry clean" is a circle with an X through it. 



At Hunt Underwear, we believe care tags should be easy to read. Here is a photo of the care tag on our underwear from the Classic Collection:laundry care label for underwear

Additionally, we have clear care instructions listed per product on the product pages when you click on the "Product Care" link next to the sizing information. If you follow these care instructions, your underwear will remain looking new for quite a long time!
underwear washing instructions


So there you have it! A simple guide on how to read laundry care tags. Understanding those laundry symbols are vital for the longevity of your garment, including underwearWhenever washing one of your garments, remember to refer to that particular garment’s care instructions for specifics on how to care for it. Different fabric blends, elastics, or dyes may require specific care, so never assume one piece will be the same as everything else in your wardrobe! If you follow proper laundry care, your clothes will continue to look great!