Confused by Clothing Care Labels?

care labelThis year for Christmas new clothes were on everyone’s list. As I was getting them ready to be washed I looked at the care label and found that some of them only had pictures rather than written directions for washing.  Some of the symbols were easy to interpret but with others I didn’t have any idea what they were telling me!

Here is what I found out when I did some investigating on clothing labels. In 1971 the Federal Trade Commission issued the Care Labeling Rule.  This rule said that manufacturers must have a tag in their clothing with at least one safe cleaning method.  Beginning July 1, 1997, manufacturers could use certain care symbols in place of the words on these care labels.  The symbols and their written meaning were required for the next eighteen months.  After January 1998 either written or symbols must be provided by the manufacturer but they don’t have to put both on.

So if you have an item to wash and the label only shows symbols print this helpful chart and keep it in your laundry area for your reference. If you have any questions about laundry and stain removal give us a call at AnswerLine.  We would love to help you!


Beth Marrs

I graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Adult Home Economics Education. I love to cook and entertain and spend time with my family.

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2 thoughts on “Confused by Clothing Care Labels?

  1. thank you for this chart! I noticed this also and couldn’t remember or didn’t feel comfortable interpreting what I thought the symbols meant. I can usually guess based on fabric content, but I don’t want to ruin a garment.

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