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The Science of Fabric Care: Understanding Washing Symbols

Have you ever looked at the care label of your favorite shirt and felt utterly confused by the symbols and instructions? You’re not alone. The laundry care symbols found on clothing tags can seem like hieroglyphics to the uninitiated. However, they hold the key to keeping your garments in tip-top shape. In this blog post, we’ll decipher these symbols and help you understand the science of fabric care.

1. Washing Symbols

  • Machine Wash: A symbol of a washing machine indicates you can safely machine wash the item.
  • Hand Wash: A hand in the tub means the garment should be gently hand washed.
  • Temperature: A number within the symbol indicates the maximum water temperature for washing. One bar means cold, two bars mean warm, and three bars mean hot.
  • Delicate Cycle: A hand in the tub with a bar underneath suggests the item should be hand washed and treated delicately.
  • Do Not Wash: A cross over the tub means the garment should not be washed.

2. Bleaching Symbols

  • Bleach: A triangle indicates whether or not you can use bleach. A filled triangle means you can use bleach, while a cross means no bleach.
  • Non-Chlorine Bleach: A triangle with two slanted lines means you can use non-chlorine bleach.

3. Drying Symbols

  • Tumble Dry: A circle in a square symbolizes a clothes dryer. Dots inside the circle indicate the heat level. One dot means low heat, two dots mean medium heat, and three dots mean high heat.
  • Line Dry: A horizontal line indicates that the item should be hung on a clothesline.
  • Flat Dry: A square with a horizontal line inside it tells you to lay the item flat to dry.
  • Dry Clean: A circle means the garment should be dry cleaned. The letter inside the circle indicates the type of solvent that should be used.

4. Ironing Symbols

  • Iron: An iron symbol provides instructions on ironing. The dots within the symbol represent heat levels: one dot for low heat, two dots for medium heat, and three dots for high heat.
  • Steam: Lines coming out of the iron suggest that steam can be used during ironing.
  • Do Not Iron: A cross over the iron symbol means you should not iron the garment.

5. Additional Symbols

  • Dry Flat: A square with a horizontal line inside means you should lay the item flat to dry.
  • Dry in the Shade: A symbol of a shaded clothesline indicates you should avoid direct sunlight when drying.
  • Do Not Wring: A symbol of a hand wringing out an item tells you not to wring out the garment.

Understanding these laundry care symbols can help you prolong the life of your clothes and keep them looking their best. Always check the care label before washing, and you’ll be on your way to mastering the art of fabric care.

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