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Understanding Your Laundry: What Each Symbol Means

We know that doing the laundry is probably not on top of everyone’s list of favourite things to do, but whether we like it or not, it is an essential part of living in the modern home. You might or might not know that there are universal laundry tags on each item of clothing you own. In this short and sweet article, we highlight what those symbols are and what they mean, and we will even offer you a few pro tips you can follow the next time you get doing the laundry in your home.

Understanding the Different Symbols



A washtub with 30C or one dot –do not wash at a greater temperature than 30 degrees Celsius 

A washtub with 40C or two dots -do not wash at a greater temperature than 40 degrees Celsius

A washtub with 50C or three dots -do not wash at a greater temperature than 50 degrees Celsius 

A washtub with 60C or four dots -do not wash at a greater temperature than 60 degrees Celsius 

A washtub with 70C or five dots -do not wash at a greater temperature than 70 degrees Celsius 

A washtub with 95C or six dots -do not wash at a greater temperature than 95 degrees Celsius 

A circle –dry cleaning only 

Circle with a line through it –do not dry clean 

A washtub –can be washed in a machine, spun, and rinsed as normal – you will find that most clothes will have this symbol 

A washtub with a cross through it –do not wash 

A washtub with one line under it –you can wash it in a machine, but you can only spin it at a reduced speed

A washtub with two lines under it –can be washed in a machine but only on delicate clothing wash.


A circle outline within a square –can be tumble dried 

A circle outline inside a square with a cross through it –do not tumble dry 

A circle outline within a square with one dot –tumble dry on a low heat 

A circle outline within a square with two dots –tumble dry at a medium heat

A circle outline within a square with three dots –tumble dry at a high heat 

A circle that is filled in within a square –you can tumble dry, but with no heat


Simple Iron outline image –can be ironed at any temperature with steam 

An iron with a cross through it –cannot be ironed 

An iron outline with one dot –can be ironed but only to a maximum temperature of 110 degrees Celsius

An iron outline with two dots –can be ironed but only to a maximum of 150 degrees Celsius 

An iron outline with three dots –can be ironed but only to a maximum of 200 degrees Celsius

7 Top Laundry Tips

When it comes to doing your laundry, there are endless tips that we could provide, after all, we do have a massive selection of washing machines, washer dryers, and tumble dryers in each of our stores and online, so we have to know our stuff. But that aside, below are 7 top tips that we think will help make doing the washing, the drying, or even the ironing a whole lot easier. So you can thank us later.

  1. If you don’t have any dryer sheets, use tin foil. The whole point of a dryer sheet is to catch any static that might build up during the drying process, if you take some tin foil, roll it into a ball and chuck it into your dryer, it will have the exact same effect.
  2. Did you know that if you wash bright clothes with a teaspoon of salt, it can prevent colors from fading? Not only that, but if you wash your clothes inside out, it can help preserve the colours' lifespan too.
  3. Have you ever shrunk your favourite clothes by accident? Well, placing your shrunken clothes into some lukewarm water with a little baby shampoo will help relax the tense fibres, and, therefore, ‘un-shrink’ your clothes for you. Definitely worth a try.
  4. Looking to save some money on electricity during this cost of living crisis? Well, if you add a dry towel into the dryer alongside your wet clothes, it will actually help to absorb the moisture quicker, and as a result, you won’t have to keep the dryer on for as long.
  5. If you wear your jeans or chinos more than once between washes, then it can actually be a good idea to freeze them. (Yes, you read that correctly). Before you exit the article, hear us out. What do bacteria hate? Anything that is too hot or too cold. Freezing your chinos or jeans in between wears will actually kill off bacteria or keep bacteria from building up. So you won’t have to worry about odours. Just make sure that you defrost them in time, or you won’t be able to wear them.
  6. Most people believe that if they use more detergent, it will keep their clothes cleaner and fresher. The truth, however, is a little different. Overdoing it on detergent can create an overload of suds that trap soil, allowing it to redeposit on your clothes once the suds pop. So by using even   half of the detergent you normally do can have a far more positive effect on your clothes.
  7. Of course, clothes can only be at their cleanest if your appliance is at its cleanest. With that in mind, remember to clean your washing machine every once in a while, so that it runs smoothly. To do this, set your machine to the hottest temperature at the highest load setting, add some white vinegar and baking powder. Then open the lid or pause the cycle and let the mixture sit for an hour. Scrub any parts, such as the lid, with a toothbrush to remove build-up. After an hour, let the cycle complete and run a second cycle on hot to remove any residue left behind. It might seem like a laborious task, but trust us, your clothes will come out cleaner than ever.

Laundry Symbols FAQs

What are laundry symbols?

As a general rule, a laundry symbol is a pictogram or small image representing a method of washing, drying, dry-cleaning, or ironing clothes. These symbols are typically written on labels, known mainly as care labels

What is a care label?

A care label is a small white label attached to a piece of clothing showing how to best clean the clothing product. A range of different symbols could appear on a care label. Have a read of the article above to decipher what they mean.

Are laundry symbols universal?

Yes, whilst there might be a couple of small differences between American and European symbols, most symbols are universal, so regardless of where you are in the world, many of the above symbols will likely mean the same thing to you. 

Laundry Symbols