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Decoding Laundry Symbols for Better Laundry Care

Laundry can be messy, especially with various types of fabrics requiring different care. Washing your clothes in the wrong water temperature or with the wrong dryer settings can lead to discoloration, shrinking, or even permanent damage. Following the care instructions provided on the garment tag is important to keep your clothes looking their best wash after wash. But with so many different symbols it can be hard to decipher the best way to care for your items. To help make it easier we have compiled a list of some of the most common laundry care symbols.

Common Washing Symbols

Various washing symbols are used to indicate whether a garment should be washed by hand, in a washing machine, or dry cleaned. While wash symbols are generally depicted as a cup with a wavy line above it that represents water, did you know that some symbols even indicate the appropriate water temperature or which machine setting to use? These particulars may seem small, but they are very important so it’s worth noting the details. For example, a single underline represents the permanent press setting while a double underline represents the delicate setting. Items that require a specific water temperature will include the numeric temperature in Celsius inside the cup. In addition to using the correct machine settings, it is important to note when fabrics require special care such as hand washing or dry cleaning, so be sure to keep an eye out for those symbols as well.

Similar to washing symbols, drying instructions are generally noted by a square with various details to indicate the best drying options. A circle within the square means it is safe to tumble dry the item, while a solid dot within the square represents normal dry with no heat. Since some fabrics are best left to air dry it is important to keep an eye out for the hang dry symbol which is indicated by a curved line at the top of the square, and the dry flat symbol which is indicated by a straight line in the center of the square. Delicate fabrics may also include other important care details such as a do not wring symbol or a do not tumble dry symbol.

In addition to properly washing and drying, some fabrics need additional care steps to look their best. Some common care symbols include recommendations to bleach, iron, or dry clean. Bleach guidelines are generally indicated by a triangle with additional details to note whether chlorine bleach is recommended or to be avoided. The iron symbol is used to indicate whether or not fabric should be ironed and if steam is needed. Finally, the dry clean only symbol is noted with an open circle.

Although there are various other symbols that you may come across on your laundry tags, we hope this guide will make it easier for you to recognize the most common symbols and recommended care details. Taking the time to check your laundry tags can help you learn how to properly care for your clothing, prevent damage, and ultimately save you time and money in the long run.

Happy washing!

Find your perfect laundry solution

For over sixty years, Automatic Leasing has been happily helping our customers find their perfect laundry solutions. We partner with property managers, apartment communities, housing authorities, colleges/universities, and health care/retirement groups based in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Maryland. We provide the highest quality washer and dryer systems for multi-family apartments, condos, laundry rooms, hotels, and college/university student facilities. At Automatic Leasing, we will help you increase revenue with our top of the line equipment as well as provide you with preventative maintenance and exceptional responsive service. We care about your laundry needs.

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