Our Essential Guide to Wash Care Symbols

    This guide explains what the washing and clothing care symbols on your garment labels say about how you should wash, dry, iron and bleach your clothes – taking you through all the essential steps of taking care of your wardrobe.


    The following wash care symbols cover how your garment should be cleaned. The number within the washtub is the maximum wash temperature.

    Cotton Wash: Maximum wash.

    Synthetics Wash (mild treatment): Medium wash (mild washing conditions).

    Wool Wash (very mild treatment): Minimum wash (delicate washing conditions).

    Hand Wash Only: Do not machine wash. wash by hand, maximum temperature 40°C, handle with care.


    Once you’ve washed your clothes, it’s just as important to dry them properly. The following wash care symbols explain whether it is safe to use a tumble dryer after washing your garment, and if so, which setting is appropriate.

    Tumble dry high: High heat setting.

    Tumble dry low: Low heat setting.

    Do not tumble dry.


    Once your clothes are dry, ironing becomes a priority: these wash care symbols explain how (and whether) your clothes should be ironed.

    Hot iron: Maximum sole-plate temperature of 200°C.

    Warm iron: Maximum sole-plate temperature of 150°C.

    Cool iron: Maximum sole-plate temperature of 110°C, steam-ironing may be a risk.

    Do not iron.


    If your whites are looking a bit drab and grey, you should check for these wash care symbols before attempting to use bleach. It is also important to check the label of your product to ensure you use it properly and take the necessary safety precautions.

    Any bleach allowed: Chlorine based bleaching allowed, only cold and dilute solution.

    Only oxygen bleach/non-chlorine bleach allowed.

    Do not bleach.

    Dry Clean

    Finally, some special garments are better off being taken care of by a professional; these wash care symbols cover whether your clothing should be dry cleaned.

    May be dry cleaned.

    May be dry cleaned: This letter tells the dry cleaner what process is required.

    Do not dry clean or remove stains with solvents.

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