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You Will Accidentally Ruin Your Favorite Clothes Unless You Learn These Laundry Symbols

If you don’t know these laundry symbols, you could end up shrinking your jeans and bleeding the color from your favorite dress.

You already know you shouldn’t toss a white shirt into the laundry with your colorful clothing, but do you know anything else about proper laundry etiquette? If the symbols on your shirt tags look like gibberish to you, then you might want to think about learning the definition of each sketch.

To make life easier on you, here are the meanings behind the different laundry symbols so you don’t end up ruining clothing you paid good money for:

Wash

When you see this symbol, it means the article of clothing is safe to machine wash. You can place it inside of your washer without worrying about ruining the fabric.

Wash at or below 30°C

When you see this symbol, make sure you wash at or below 30 degrees Celcius, which is equivalent to 86 degrees Farenheit.

Wash at or below 40°C

When you see this symbol, make sure you wash at or below 40 degrees Celcius, which is equivalent to 104 degrees Farenheit.

Wash at or below 50°C

When you see this symbol, make sure you wash at or below 50 degrees Celcius, which is equivalent to 122 degrees Farenheit.

Wash at or below 60°C

When you see this symbol, make sure you wash at or below 60 degrees Celcius, which is equivalent to 140 degrees Farenheit.

Hand wash

This symbol means you should hand wash the item inside of your sink or a bathtub instead of tossing it inside of your washer. It is too delicate to be put into a cycle.

Do not wash

This symbol means you should not clean a certain item of clothing yourself. You should take it to get dry cleaned by professionals.

Tumble dry

This symbol means the item of clothing can be safely placed inside of the dryer. It won’t get torn or fade from being bounced around.

Tumble dry at low temperature

This symbol means you are allowed to place the item inside of your dryer. However, you should make sure you adjust the settings to keep the temperature low. Otherwise, you could damage the item.

Tumble dry at medium temperature

This symbol means you should place the item in the dryer. However, you should not exceed a heat of 65 degrees Celcius (149 degrees Farenheit).

Tumble dry at high temperature

This symbol means you are safe to place the item in the dryer. However, you should not exceed a heat of 75 degrees Celcius (167 degrees Farenheit).

Do not tumble dry

This symbol means you should avoid placing the item in the dryer. You should let it air dry instead by placing it on a clothesline or across a tabletop.

Dry

This symbol is the basis for all of the ‘drying’ symbols. What is contained inside of the square determines how you are meant to dry a certain product.

Dry in shade

You might see this symbol placed between the symbols for line dry, drip dry, or dry flat. It means you should keep the item out of the burning heat of the sun as it dries.

Line dry

When you see this symbol, you should hang up your item while it dries instead of placing it inside of the dryer.

Line dry in shade

This symbol means you should hang your clothing somewhere in the shade, out of reach of the sun.

Dry flat

This symbol means you should extract excess water and then place the item on a flat surface to dry. This will avoid wrinkles.

Dry flat in shade

This symbol means you should place the item on a flat surface while it dries — but make sure it is not in direct sunlight.

Drip dry

This symbol means you should hang up the clothing while it is still soaking wet so it can drip dry.

Drip dry in shade

This symbol means you should drip dry an article of clothing — but while keeping it out of the sunlight.

Iron

This symbol means an article of clothing is allowed to be ironed by a commercial iron you keep inside of your home.

Iron on low heat

This symbol means you can iron with or without steam at a low temperature. Do not exceed 110 degrees Celcius, which is equivalent to 230 degrees Farenheit.

Iron on medium heat

This symbol means you can iron with or without steam at a medium temperature. Do not exceed 150 degrees Celcius, which is equivalent to 302 degrees Farenheit.

Iron on high heat

This symbol means you can iron with or without steam at a high temperature. Do not exceed 200 degrees Celcius, which is equivalent to 392 degrees Farenheit.

Do not iron

This symbol means you should not iron the article of clothing or press the article of clothing. Doing so could destroy the delicate fabric.

Bleach

This symbol means you are allowed to use any type of bleach when it is needed. It does not matter whether it contains chlorine or not.

Non-chlorine bleach

This symbol means you are allowed to use bleach on the product — as long as the bleach does not contain chlorine.

Chlorine bleach allowed

This symbol means the item of clothing will not be ruined by bleach containing chlorine.

Do not bleach

These two symbols both mean the same thing. You should never, under and circumstances, use bleach on the product.

Professional dry cleaning

This symbol means you should not wash and dry the clothing inside of a commercial washer and dryer which uses water. You should take it to the dry cleaners instead.

Do not dry clean

This symbol means you should never take the product to the dry cleaners.

Dry clean, any solvent except tetrachloroethylene

This symbol means you are safe to dry clean the product with any type of solvent except for tetrachloroethylene, a chemical that is also sometimes known astetrachloroethene or perchloroethylene.

Gentle cleaning with PCE

This symbol means you can clean your product with PCE, which is shorthand for tetrachloroethylene.

Very gentle cleaning with PCE

This symbol means you can clean with tetrachloroethylene very gently. You just have to be careful because the chemical can cause color bleeding.

Dry clean, hydrocarbon solvent only (HCS)

This symbol means a product should be dry cleaned with a hydrocarbon solvent such as benzene, kerosene, or xylene.

 Gentle cleaning with hydrocarbon solvents

This symbol means a product should be dry cleaned — but only on a gentle setting.

Very gentle cleaning with hydrocarbon solvents

This symbol means a product should be dry cleaned — but only on a very gentle setting.

Professional wet cleaning

Wet cleaning avoids the use of chemical solvents. This method is better for the environment. It also reduces the chances of a garment shrinking or facing damage.

Gentle wet cleaning

This symbol means a product should be wet cleaned with a computer controlled gentle setting. 

Very gentle wet cleaning

This symbol means a product should be wet cleaned with a computer controlled very gentle setting

Do not wet clean

This symbol means a product should not be wet cleaned. It should be dry cleaned instead.

Summary

This is a chart containing all of the information you need to know moving forward. Now you can rest easily knowing you are never going to ruin your clothing. You are going to get your money’s worth. TC mark