The “Do Not Dry Clean” sign on the label

You can’t wash. you can’t clean

Taking care of clothes does not always mean washing. Some items should not be washed. For example, a coat can be easily spoiled by washing it in a machine or by hand. Only dry cleaners are left. The dry cleaning symbol on the label is a circle, which tells you that the manufacturer recommends this kind of care for the garment. Accordingly the sign “dry cleaning is forbidden” is a crossed out circle. That’s all the housewife needs to know. The rest of the symbols in this category are for dry cleaners. But if you wonder what the letters in the circle mean, the table will satisfy your curiosity.

Symbol for cleaning
A icon – Any solvent can be used for dry cleaning
P icon – Dry cleaning;. use only carbon, ethylene chloride, monofluorotrichloromethane
F icon – Dry cleaning;. use white spirit, gasoline, trifluorotrichloromethane
W symbol – Aqua cleaning

Clothing label signs: deciphering

Many have been in a situation where at the end of the wash cycle thing came back well not quite as expected. And now your favorite piece of clothing has shrunk, faded, lost decor details, or been otherwise ruined. The only thing left is to send the sweater into exile to a summer cottage or “waste” the beloved leopard-print skirt for rags.

In order to avoid a repetition of this situation and make taking care of things competent and controlled process, it is worth to study the signs on the labels of clothing.

Deciphering the information on the tag will help determine if the new pants need to be delivered to the dry cleaner or if they can be thrown in the wash with the rest of the garment.

But what do the magic circles, triangles, and other squiggly dots on the small piece of fabric hemmed to the garment tell us?? A symbol dictionary will explain what the labels on clothing, so similar to mysterious pictographs, mean.

The trapezoidal icon of a container (basin) carries information about washing modes. The number inside the sign symbolizes the allowable temperature and the number of lines about the degree of mechanical action:

  • Washable
  • Gentle wash
  • Delicate washing
  • Wash at a specific temperature
  • Hand wash
  • No spin
  • Washing prohibited

The triangle icons tell us about the applicable bleaching methods. Deciphering the information inside the triangle will help you remove stains without affecting the color of the garment:

If there is a circle imprinted on the garment’s tag, it means professional dry cleaning cannot be avoided. Do not try to remove the resulting contamination with folk remedies, it is guaranteed to spoil the thing.

The letter symbols indicate the active ingredient in the solvent, the lines indicate acceptable levels of water and mechanical action:

Taking care of your clothes is as much about removing dirt as it is about applying the right ironing regime. The number of dots on the iron symbol tells you the maximum temperature allowed. By the number of dots, the temperature symbols are the same as those on the iron.

  • Can be ironed
  • Iron at a temperature not higher than 110 0 C
  • Ironing temperature up to 150 0°C
  • Can be ironed at high temperature up to 200 0 C
  • Do not steam
  • Do not iron

To dry or not to dry, that is the question? The strong embrace of the centrifuge and in-machine drying is not for every textile. The square triangle symbol tells you how to proceed correctly. Dots and dots on the label indicate the approved degree of mechanical and thermal abuse. The symbols on the tag are the same as those for washers and dryers:

  • Spin-dry spin cycle possible
  • Spin-dry spin cycle
  • Delicate spin-drying
  • May be dried at low temperatures
  • Can be tumble dried
  • High temperature tumble dry
  • No forced drying or spinning

The square symbol informs you of the position of the garment when drying and the suitability of drying in direct sunlight:

  • Allow to air-dry in an uncluttered position
  • Tumble-dry
  • Tumble-dry horizontally
  • Dry in the shade
  • Cannot be tumble dried (radiator, hair dryers)

A little attention to the signs on the labels, and there are no more shrunken cashmere sweaters, inevitably wrinkled linen pants, irrevocably spoiled by bleach bright dresses. And all because the clothes were washed exactly as they should have been and will delight their owner for a long time to come.

Hand wash with care, or what the hand-wash label means

Every time we wash a new garment, we carefully read the recommendations on the label sewn into the back.

Most items can be washed in a washing machine, as long as temperature conditions are met. But there are delicates that can only be washed by hand.

In today’s article, let’s talk about these materials and how to properly hand wash clothes with a handwash icon on the label so they can last as long as possible.

Dry cleaning (dry cleaning and aqua cleaning)

The circle marks the recommendation for professional dry cleaning. Let’s explain the letters and symbols:

  • Empty circle. dry cleaning is allowed.
  • Crossed out. prohibited.
  • Inside the letter “A”. cleaning with any solvent.
  • Inside the letter “P”. hydrocarbon, ethylene chloride, monoflorotrichloromethane procedures are allowed. The extra horizontal bar below the circle means a gentler mode with the same solvents.
  • Letter “F”. tetrachloroethylene and hydrocarbons are allowed. Additional feature. delicate treatment with the same solvents.

Don’t bother with the drycleaning symbols unless the circle is crossed out. A member of staff will figure out how to clean a delicate garment.

Table 2. Dry cleaning icons

Dry cleaning allowed
No dry cleaning
All solvents
Normal or gentle bleaching with substances approved for P
Normal or gentle bleaching with substances approved for F

Separately labeled “aqua cleaning”. You can identify these recommendations by the letter “W” inside the circle:

  • No additions. water cleaning is allowed.
  • No dry cleaning allowed if crossed out circle with a “W” or crossed in shaded circle.
  • One horizontal line under the circle. gentle aqua cleaning.
  • Double line. maximum delicate aqua cleaning mode.

Table 3. Icons for water cleaning

Allow professional dry cleaning
Gentle water-cleaning mode
Gentle as possible
No water-cleaning allowed

What it looks like in the photo and what it means?

There are several variations of icons, informing that machine washing of the product is prohibited.

The image of a basin with a lowered hand informs that only gentle washing by hand, without active twisting, at a water temperature not exceeding 30C is allowed:

The image of a basin of water crossed out with a cross is a signal that the garment may only be dry-cleaned:

clean, sign, label

Rectangle in a circle is a reminder that cleaning the item in a machine is forbidden:

Drying and spinning

Do not dry clean

If this icon is printed on the fabric tag, the garment must not be washed and dried under any circumstance. This is generally used in conjunction with the “no washing” symbol.

Drying as usual

Item can be dried in any manner, including in a dryer or washer/dryer. As with the basin signifying laundry, dots may be drawn in the circle. indicating the drying temperature (the lower it is, the longer the cycle), and the line under the sign denotes a delicate drying mode and spinning at low speeds.


Such a sign prohibits unscrewing and wringing the garment by hand or in a machine. It should be hung on hangers or spread out on a horizontal surface immediately after washing.

This sign indicates the need for a spin-dryer.

This one simply recommends tumble drying. Spin cases are machine-washable.

This one says that the fabric must be dried horizontally, or it will become deformed and stretched. This is the preferred method of drying knitwear and wool.

Drying in the sun

This is the symbol forbidding drying in direct sunlight. Clothes with this label should only be dried in the shade. Usually it is white fabric that turns yellowish under sunlight, and brightly colored clothing that can burn out.

Pressing and drying

The rules depend on the type of fabric. For example, silk loses its shape when automatic spin drying, and cotton risks shrinking in the machine. Do not get confused with the recommendations on care will help you signs on the label. They will also tell you how to properly dry and spin your clothes.

Allowed to spin and dry in a washing machine. Automatic spin spinning would not hurt such clothes, so leave it on.

Not allowed to spin and dry in machine. During washing, it is better to turn off the spin mode, and before drying you need to remove excess water from things by hand.

Can be dried. If this icon is printed on the label, you can dry your clothes in a washing machine, and you need not worry that they will lose their attractiveness.

Explaining Laundry Care Symbols

Do not tumble dry. To be used in conjunction with the “No Washing” label.

Dry without spinning. Delicate garments can lose their shape, so take them out of the machine before spinning and leave to dry naturally, spread out.

Recommended drying temperature. One point. dry at low temperature (up to 40 ° C), two. at medium temperature (up to 60 ° C), three. at high temperature (above 60 ° C).

No direct sunlight allowed. These items should be dried indoors. They risk losing their color in the sun.

Dry in the shade. This badge is analogous to the previous one. It also requires that the item being dried be kept out of the sun.

Conventional dry cleaning

Dry cleaning with any organic solvent

Dry cleaning with special agents only

Conventional dry cleaning using tetrachloroethylene and all solvents listed for the “F” symbol

Delicate dry cleaning with specific agents

Delicate dry cleaning with limited addition of water and careful use of solvents indicated for “P” symbol, as well as control of mechanical action and drying temperature, self-cleaning is forbidden

Dry cleaning with hydrocarbon solvents only

Conventional dry cleaning using hydrocarbon, gasoline, and trifluorotrichormethane only

Delicate dry cleaning with hydrocarbon solvents only

Delicate dry cleaning with limited addition of water and careful use of solvents indicated for symbol “F”, as well as control of mechanical action and drying temperature, self-cleaning is forbidden

Ordinary wet professional cleaning (aqua cleaning)

Conventional water-cleaning and drying according to IEC 456

Delicate professional wet cleaning

Delicate water-cleaning with restrictions on the mechanical mode and drying mode, taking into account the peculiarities of the fabric, 505% relative shrinkage

Particularly delicate professional wet cleaning

Very delicate water-based cleaning with limited mechanical and product-specific drying modes and relative shrinkage of 252.5%

Short dry cleaning cycle

Clothes can be cleaned in an abbreviated cycle. The symbol can be used in conjunction with a letter

Dry cleaning at low humidity

Allow for low humidity. The symbol may be used in conjunction with the letter

Low temperature dry cleaning

Clothes can be cleaned in a moderate temperature regime. The symbol can be used in conjunction with a letter

Dry clean without steaming

Do not use steam in the final stage of cleaning. The symbol can be used in conjunction with a letter

Dry cleaning is forbidden

The garment must not be subjected to dry cleaning, removing stains with a solvent is prohibited

Garment tags: garment care symbols

Try to wash only items for which the same washing regime is suitable together, and look for the labels on the clothes: this will not only save a lot of time and nerves, but it will also maintain the accurate appearance, shape and durability of your clothes for a long time! Choosing the right detergent is just as important. In the Tide product range, you will always find a detergent that suits your needs. We’ll help you understand the most common signs and symbols on your clothes and help you choose the right detergent.

Key Clothing Care Symbols

Professional cleaning

These are the most common symbols on the labels. Here’s how to explain them in more detail.

Additional symbols

Delicate mode.
Extremely delicate mode.
Low temperature mode Medium temperature mode High temperature mode

Washing machine load no more than 2/3 of the maximum, reduced number of spins per minute, reduced spin cycle, hand spin gently, do not twist. Washing machine load not more than 1/3 of the maximum, minimum spin speed per minute, minimum spin cycle, no manual spins.

Labels for Washing Clothes

A number on the symbol indicates the maximum wash water temperature allowed.

Hand wash with t not more than 40C. Do not rub. Spin delicately, no spinning.
Wash in a washing machine at a maximum temperature of 30°C.
Do not wash

The Tide detergent range has a special detergent for hand washing. Tide laundry detergent is suitable for hand and machine washing and washes stains at a low temperature.

Tide Color Automatic machine detergent is specially formulated for colors, keeping the colours of your clothes brighter for longer and getting rid of stains on the first wash, even at 30 degrees Celsius. You can choose either Tide Color or Tide Color with Lenor fragrance. Don’t forget to add fabric conditioner to the wash, which gives extra care to the fabric.


Do not bleach.
Can bleach with any oxidizing bleach.
Can only bleach with oxygen/nonchlorine bleaches.

Before you put your clothes to the test with bleach, try the Tide gel for whites and colors which quickly dissolves in water and penetrates deep into the stains, protecting the fabric structure and color. It excels from the first wash and leaves no residue on clothes, leaving them delightfully fresh and soft. If you can’t decide, we recommend our Tide PODS All-in-One Alpine Freshness capsules. Perfectly adjusted dosage, universal formula you no longer need to worry about finding the right product and calculating the quantity, it does all the work for you!

Can be tumble dried in the washing machine

Machine drying is permitted.
Tumble dry on medium temperature.
Tumblast drying at low temperatures is permitted.
Do not tumble dry.

Natural drying

May be tumble dried.
Can be tumble dried in an upright position.
To be dried flat and spread out on the horizontal plane.
Can be tumble-dried on a flat surface without a spin.
Stand upright in the shade.
Can be tumble dried in the shade.
Tumble-dry in the shade on a flat surface.
Shade-dry on a flat surface in a non-spin position.

Professional cleaning

Professional cleaning can be dry or wet. The letters on the symbols stand for the following:


Iron at maximum 110°C.
Iron at a maximum temperature of 150°C.
Iron at maximum 200°C.
Do not iron.
Do not steam.

Please note that Tide detergents are designed to help you in every situation and will always keep your clothes as clean as new in the everyday wash, but for particularly delicate fabrics we recommend the use of care products from the Ariel range.

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