Decoding Laundry Symbols

The A+ Images, Inc. Guide to Decoding Laundry Symbols

This is your complete guide to decoding laundry symbols.  How many times have you received a new garment and wondered how to wash it correctly?  Sometimes, the manufacturer uses words to describe the proper washing directions.  This is convenient but uses up a lot of space on the tag.  Additionally, it is normally only shown in one or two languages.

Many manufacturers use symbols in place of words to save space and be understandable in any language.  You may have seen these symbols on your garment tags but did not understand them.  We created this guide to assist you in decoding laundry symbols.  Take a look at the images below to see what each of the symbols mean.  They are organized by section.  Alternatively, you can print off this guide in PDF format and hang it by your laundry equipment for easy reference!

machine wash cold gentle cycleIt is important to know that manufacturers combine these symbols to save space.  For example, combing the “machine wash” logo with the “wash cold” logo and the “delicate gentle cycle” would look like Exhibit A.

Important Information

Another important thing to mention is that when a manufacturer makes these directions, they are normally for the blank garment itself.  Different decorating methods may require different washing directions.  Always check with the decorator for special washing directions for your specific garment.  Following their guidelines will help extend the life of both the garment and the print.

For example, you may receive a black cotton shirt with a tag that says it can be machine washed and tumbled dried.  However, it if is decorated with rhinestones, it should be hand-washed and hang/drip dried.


Friendly Warning

Finally, even if a tag mentions it is okay to iron a garment, never iron the decoration!  Many printing processes use heat to bond the decoration to the shirt. Touching a hot iron to the design could severely (and permanently) damage the print.  Always remember to follow the proper washing instructions for your shirts to make them last as long as possible!

decoding laundry symbols