Care Labels Essential Guide

Read our Essential Guide to Care Labels to find out all you need to know about Laundry and Washing Symbols. To download a PDF version of this guide click here.

Care Labels Essential Guide to Laundry and Washing Symbols

Care Labels

We prepared our definitive guide to Care Labels and Laundry and Washing Symbols with our partners in BÜFA.

One of Europe’s leading manufacturers of dry cleaning, laundry and wet cleaning products. Founded over 100 years ago, BÜFA now supply many of the leading dry cleaners and commercial laundries across Europe.

Washing Symbols on Care Labels

Only wash textiles at the maximum temperature shown in °C on the care label. Exceeding this maximum temperature may cause unnecessary wear and tear or shrinkage of fabrics.

Use a mild wash process for a textile with a bar underneath the wash tub symbol.

This means that a mild detergent should be used such as Feny Fein Washing Powder or Feny Feny Delicates Liquid Detergent. A mild detergent is gentle on fibres and also gentle on colours. As a result does not cause wear and tear or colour lift. 

Use a very mild process to wash textiles, such as woollens, where there is a double bar underneath the wash tub symbol.

Only handwash textiles where the symbol is a hand in a wash tub. This is because the mechanical action of a washing machine may cause wear and tear on delicate fibres.

A cross over the wash tub means that the item is not suitable for any type of washing, because of the high risk of damage to delicate fibres. In such cases please check if the care label indicates if the garment is suitable for dry cleaning or wet cleaning.

Bleaching Symbols

On Care Labels the Bleach Symbols indicate if it is ok to add bleach to the wash in order to remove stains from a textile.

A cross over the triangle is a warning not to add any type of bleach because of the risk of it damaging fibres.

Use an oxidising bleach, such as Saponmatic Hygiene Washing Powder, to clean textiles when there is a triangle symbol. This is because an oxidising bleach is more gentle on fibres and will not cause colour runs on the textile. 

Wash textiles with two lines in the triangle symbol with oxidising bleach only. Never use chlorine bleach because it will damage fibres and also possibly cause colour lift.

Tumble Drying Symbols

Set the temperature of a tumble dryer depending on the number of dots inside the circle symbol on the care label.

Only tumble dry textiles at a lower temperature when there is one dot inside the circle symbol.

Tumble dry textiles at normal temperature when there is two dots inside the circle symbol.

Do not tumble dry any clothes when there is a cross over the tumble dry symbol.

Ironing Symbols

The dots on the ironing symbol indicate the temperature to set the iron.

Set the iron temperature to a maximum as follows:

One dot 110°C

Two dots 150°C

Three dots 200°C

Do not iron any fabrics where there is a cross over the iron symbol on the care label.

Professional Textile Care Symbols on Care Labels

Only dry clean garments using perchlorethylene when there is a P inside a circle on the care label.

Use hydrocarbon solvents to clean garments with an F inside a circle symbol.

Do not dry clean clothes or textiles when there is a cross over the circle symbol.

Wet clean textiles when there is a W inside a circle on the care label.

Conversely, never wet clean an item of clothing or textile when there is a cross over the W symbol on a care label.

Natural Drying Symbols

Dry garments by hanging them up either indoors or outdoors in accordance with natural drying symbols. For example, dry textiles flat or hung on a line depending on the symbol.