How to Read Clothing Labels: The Basics

Reading Clothing Labels

When you’re in a hurry to clean your clothes, you may not always read the labels on the items you’re tossing into the washing machine. Unfortunately, if you fail to read and follow labels on clothing, you can ruin your favorite items beyond repair. Taking the time to read the cleaning instructions on clothing labels is worth the extra moments as it avoids the hassle of damaged, shrunken, or rumpled items. Reading through and following label instructions helps you know exactly what to do on laundry day.

Machine Wash

This label is one of the most common for cleaning your clothing, but there are often further instructions about temperature and drying that you need to follow. Washing machines have various settings that allow you to adjust the water temperature in the different cycles. When a label doesn’t specify temperature, remember that hot water is tougher on fabrics than cold and can lead to shrinking. Hot water is sometimes necessary for tough stains, but it’s important to make sure the temperature won’t damage the fabric while removing the stain. If you’re unsure about proper stain removal, take the item to a professional cleaner. Following the machine wash, you can dry the item in the dryer (if the label says it’s okay) or hang it to dry naturally. Air-drying takes longer than machine drying but can be better for certain items of clothing.

Hand Wash

Delicates often have the hand wash label because the agitation and changing temperatures of the washing machine can cause damage. When you see the hand wash label, clean your clothing by filling a clean tub, sink, or washbasin with cold water and adding a few drops of your preferred mild detergent. Place the hand wash item in the water, knead gently for a few minutes, and then rinse until the soap is out of the garment. Lay the item flat to dry to ensure it retains its shape and fit. Remember that even though hand washing works for delicate items, it’s not the same as dry cleaning and shouldn’t be done on items with “dry clean only” labels.

Dry Clean Only

Dry cleaning clothing is one of the most gentle, effective, and efficient ways to clean your clothing items. While you can sometimes get away with tossing a hand wash item in the gentle cycle in your washing machine, there’s no setting on your appliance that can safely clean items with the dry clean only label. Dry clean only usually applies to items made of wool, silk, velvet, taffeta and other unique/exotic fabrics that can’t withstand the assault of water and agitation in a washing machine. When you don’t follow this label, you risk damaging your favorite, high-quality pieces of your wardrobe.

The better care you take of your clothing, the longer your clothing will last. Ensure that you always clean your clothing correctly by bringing your items to Embassy Cleaners for professional, experienced, gentle, and effective clothes cleaning services.

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