Understanding Garments Care Labels and Care Symbols

Understanding Garments Care Labels and Care Symbols

Md. Tanvirul Haque Bhuiyan
Dept. of Apparel Manufacturing,
National Institute of Textile Engineering & Research (NITER), Savar, Dhaka.
Email : mukutex@gmail.com
Facebook : Tanvirul Haque Mukut


 


Care Label:
Care label is a component or trimming of garment which contains some internationally recognized symbols that indicate the care instructions of the garment. These symbols are called care label codes.

History:
The care label was introduced in Europe about 1950. It’s a voluntary service so it was not regulated by any authority. It originated in The Netherlands and then spread to France and the other European countries as a voluntary service to the consumers offered by the textile and apparel industry. The care labeling code was protected by an international trademark, to control the correct application. The ownership of this international trademark belongs GINETEX, this International Association for Textile Care Labeling, has developed symbolic care labeling system in 1975.
   Care label of international brand ‘LEVI’S’
Care label of Bangladeshi brand ‘CATS EYE’
International Standard:
ISO 3758 1991 provides a code of reference for the use of these symbols. The GINETEX care labeling system consists of five basic symbols for washing, bleaching, ironing, drying, dry cleaning and an extra symbol for wring. The symbols and their descriptions are shown in the following.

Washing:
Symbol
Care Instructions
Meaning of Symbols
     
Machine Wash (normal)
Garment can be washed using hot water, detergent, agitation, and any machine designed for garments washing.
Machine Wash (cold)
Maximum temperature 30°C or 85°F
Rinsing normal
Spinning reduced
Machine Wash (warm)
Maximum temperature 40°C or 100°F
Rinsing normal
Spinning normal
Machine Wash (hot)
Maximum temperature 50°C or 120°F
Rinsing normal
Spinning normal
Machine Wash (hot)
Maximum temperature 60°C or 140°F
Rinsing normal
Spinning normal
Machine Wash (hot)
Maximum temperature 70°C or 160°F
Rinsing normal
Spinning normal
Machine Wash (hot)
Maximum temperature 95°C or 200°F
Rinsing normal
Spinning normal
     
Machine Wash (permanent press)
Garment is machine washed only on the setting designed to preserve permanent press with cold rinse prior to reduced spin.
    
Machine Wash (gentle or delicate)
Garment is machine washed only on the setting designed for gentle agitation and reduced time for delicate items.
 
Hand Wash
Garment is washed through the use of water, detergent and hand manipulation.
Do not wash
Garment can’t be safely washed by any process. Dry cleaning is applied.
 
Bleaching:
Symbol
Care Instructions
Meaning of Symbols
    
Bleaching is allowed
Any commercially available bleaching agent can be used.
   
Only chlorine bleaching is allowed
Only chlorine bleaching agent can be used.
    
Only non-chlorine bleaching is allowed
Only non-chlorine, color-safe bleaching agent can be used.
  
Bleaching is not allowed
 Bleaching agent can’t be used.. The garment is not colorfast or structurally able to withstand any bleach.
 
Drying:
Symbol
Care Instructions
Meaning of Symbols
     
Tumble dry (normal)
Machine dryer is used at the hottest available temperature setting.
     
Tumble dry (normal , low heat)
Machine dryer is used at a low heat setting.
     
Tumble dry (normal , medium heat)
Machine dryer is used at a medium heat setting.
     
Tumble dry (normal , high heat)
Machine dryer is used at a high heat setting.
     
Tumble dry (normal , no heat)
Machine dryer is used at no heat or air only setting.
    
Tumble dry (permanent press)
Machine dryer is used at the permanent press setting.
    
Tumble dry (gentle)
Machine dryer is used at the gentle setting.
  
Do not tumble dry
Machine dryer is not used. Usually accompanied by an alternate drying method symbol
  
Do not dry
Machine dryer is not used. Usually accompanied by an alternate drying method symbol
    
Line dry
Hang wet garment from bar, in or out doors. We use this in our country, it means hanging our dresses in rooftop for drying.
     
Drip dry
Hang dripping wet garment from bar, in or out doors, without hand shaping or smoothing.
    
Dry flat
Lay out horizontally for drying.
    
Dry in shade
Can’t dry in direct sunlight.
 
Ironing:
Symbol
Care Instructions
Meaning of Symbols
   
Iron in any temperature (steam or dry)
Ironing is required and can be performed at any available temperature with or without steam.
   
Iron (low)
Regular ironing, steam or dry, is performed at low setting (110°C, 230°F).
   
Iron (medium)
Regular ironing, steam or dry, is performed at medium setting (150°C, 300°F).
   
Iron (high)
Regular ironing, steam or dry, is performed at high setting (200°C, 390°F).
    
Do not steam
Steam ironing will harm garment, but regular dry ironing at indicated temperature setting is acceptable.
   
Do not iron
Ironing is not allowed. Garment can’t be smoothed or finished with an iron.
 
Dry Cleaning:
Symbol
Care Instructions
Meaning of Symbols
     
Dry clean
Dry cleaning in any solvent, any cycle any moisture, any heat.
     
Dry clean (any solvent)
Dry cleaning in any solvent. Usually used with other restrictions on proper dry cleaning procedure.
     
Dry clean (any solvent, except trichloroethylene)
Any dry cleaning solvent except trichloroethylene can be safely used. Usually para-chloro-ethylene, white spirit of solvent-113 is used.
     
Dry clean (petroleum solvent )
Dry cleaning is done using only petroleum solvent. Usually used with other restrictions. White spirit of solvent-113 is used.
    
Dry clean (reduced moisture)
Can be used with A, P, F solvent restriction.
    
Dry clean (short cycle)
Can be used with A, P, F solvent restriction.
     
Dry clean (no steam)
Can be used with A, P, F solvent restriction.
     
Dry clean (low heat)
Can be used with A, P, F solvent restriction.
   
Do not dry clean
Dry cleaning is not allowed.
 
Wring:
Symbol
Care Instructions
Meaning of Symbols
  
Do not wring
Wring is not allowed.
 
Notes:
  1. System of dots indicating that temperature range is same for all procedures.
  2. If there is no bleaching symbol mentioned, it means any type of bleach is allowed.
  3. GINETEX states that "milder forms of treatment and lower temperatures than those indicated on the label are always permitted."
  4. A cross on any of the symbol means that the treatment shall not be used and a bar under the symbols indicates milder treatment is required.
References:
  • http://www.iso.org
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laundry_symbol
  • http://www.epa.gov/dfe/pubs/garment/apparel/10krues.pdf
  • http://www.care-labelling.co.uk/whatsymbolsmean.html
  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/05/european-fabric-care-symbols_n_1255441.html 
 

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