Ever looked at the label on your clothes and wondered if someone accidentally changed the font to wingdings? Us at Zinc Laundry, know washing symbols can be confusing at the best of times so have compiled a guide to help you.


Triangles: Bleaching symbols

Bleaching symbols that appear on your clothes label

If you see a symbol with a triangle, this means that the instructions relate to whether your item can be bleached.

  • A triangle means that your item can safely be bleached using a cold, dilute solution of bleach.
  • If the triangle has a cross through it, this means that your item cannot be bleached.
  • If the triangle has two stripes running through, this means that your item can safely be bleached using a non-chlorine, colour safe bleach.


Circles: dry cleaning symbols

Dry Cleaning symbols for Dry Cleaning that appear on your clothes

Any symbols containing circles relate to whether your item can be dry cleaned and if so, under what conditions.

A circle means that your item can go through dry cleaning.

  • If there is a P, A or F inside the circle, this means that your item can be dry cleaned and it shows the dry cleaner what type of chemical they should use to clean your item.
  • A circle with a cross through it means that your item cannot be dry cleaned.
  • Your item can be dry cleaned on a short cycle if there is a symbol present showing a circle with a line to the left.
  • A symbol with a circle and a line to the right means that your item must be dry cleaned using a low heat setting.


Squares: drying symbols

Drying symbols that appear on your clothes label

If you thought that you can only go wrong when using a tumble dryer to dry your clothes then listen up! Make sure you pay attention to square symbols on your garments as these give instructions on how to safely dry your clothes, naturally. Because, yes, you can ruin your lovely new jumper by drying it wrong! Who knew?

  • A symbol showing a square with a semi-circle at the top means that the item can safely be hung outside on a washing line to dry.
  • A square containing three vertical lines means that your items need to be drip-dried on a rack indoors.
  • A single horizontal line within a square symbolises that the item needs to be dried laid out and kept flat, as to keep its original shape.


Hand wash symbol

Hand washing symbol that appears on your clothes label

This one is pretty self-explanatory…

  • A symbol showing a hand dunking into a container of water means that your garment needs to be hand washed.

However, many washing machines have a hand wash setting. You will need to look in the manual for your washing machine to see if you can do this.


An iron: ironing symbols

Ironing symbols that appear on your clothes label

It could at first seem confusing that there are six ironing symbols, however, when you discover that the dots on the iron-on some of the symbols relate to the heat settings on an actual iron, it makes a bit more sense.

An iron with no dots can be ironed at any temperature.

One dot is for the most delicate items (silk, wool) and so need to be ironed on the lowest temperature.

  • Two dots is a little hotter (for synthetics).
  • Three dots symbolise how linen and cotton can be ironed.
  • A symbol showing an iron with a cross through means that the item is not suitable for ironing, at any temperature.
  • A symbol with an iron, a cross and 3 lines shooting from the bottom of the iron means that your item must be dry ironed.


Synthetics and cotton symbols

Synthetic and Cotton symbols that appear on your clothes label

Symbols with a tub give instructions about synthetics and varieties of cotton.

  • The lines underneath the tub refer to rinsing and spinning with one bar meaning the spin speed should be reduced and two bars meaning the clothing needs a mild wash action but spinning and rinsing can be carried out as normal.
  • If there are no bars, the item can be spun and rinsed as normal.
  • A cross through the tub indicates the item cannot be washing, therefore likely will need to be part of your dry cleaning.


A tub containing a number: washing temperature symbols

Washing temperature symbols that appear on your clothes label 

You’ll only see one of these icons along with another symbol that indicates your clothes are machine washable. The number within the tub is indicating the maximum temperature which your item can be safely washed on, this ranges from 30 to 95 degrees.

Some people decide to opt for a lower temperature than instructed by the label in the hopes of conserving energy. However, a lower temperature may not always remove stains and so it is best to stick to the instructions on the label.


Tumble drying symbols

Tumble drying symbols that appear on your clothes label

Using a tumble dryer is a simple way to speed up the washing and drying process. Make sure you’re aware of the meaning of tumble-drying symbols so you don’t shrink your best jeans!

A circle inside of a square means that your item is safe for tumble drying.

  • The dots inside a circle inside a square indicate temperature, where: 1 is for low heat, 2 for medium and 3 for high heat.
  • If there is a cross over the symbol then you shouldn’t tumble dry the item.

Last but not least…


Wringing symbols

Wringing Symbols that appear on your clothes label

A common mistake many people make is wringing out their clothing when they shouldn’t. By twisting the fabric, you could damage your items.

There are two wringing symbols:

  • A symbol that appears to show an item being wrung means that you can safely wring out your item before drying.
  • A symbol showing a cross through an item being wrung indicates that you shouldn’t wring out the item.

It’s that simple!

If have no idea how to clean clothes or work a dry cleaning machine then give a call on 01925 413154 and speak to us about how we can help.