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Understanding Clothing Labels Symbols from Start to Finish

Understanding Clothing Labels Symbols from Start to Finish

Wouldn’t it be nice if life came with an instruction manual? Turns out, your clothing does! Nearly every article of clothing comes with an instruction manual for how to keep your clothes looking new, help it last a lifetime and prevent it from stretching out embroidered right into the tag. But knowing how to interpret washing labels when you are deciding how to wash clothes is almost like learning to read another language.

Washing Label Symbols 101

Machine Wash

Washing your clothes in a washing machine is fast and easy, but it is rarely straightforward. The symbols on your machine wash clothing may indicate the temperature of the water in which your garment should be washed, the speed at which your washer should be set and whether or not you can use bleach. Some of the more common symbols are as follows.

Machine washing an item on a gentle cycle is not the same as hand washing an item. The agitation in the machine can cause ripping, tearing or stretching in items that should be hand washed.

Many machine wash clothes are also accompanied by drying symbols. These symbols the dryer conditions that are safe to use on the clothing.

Hand Wash

Hand washing is recommended for thin or delicate fabrics like those used for lingerie or fabric that has been hand dyed. To hand wash a garment, you will need a gentle detergent and a large basin, sink or bathtub. Fill the sink with cool water and add a few drops of detergent. Place the clothing in the basin and submerge it, agitating it slightly with your hands. Then rinse the clothing with cold water and lay it flat or hang it to dry according to the label’s instructions. Hand wash symbols include:

Generally, clothing that requires hand washing should not be dried in the dryer. Instead, hand wash symbols are often accompanied by the following dryer symbols.

Dry Clean Only

Dry cleaning clothing is one of the most gentle and effective ways to clean clothing items that would otherwise be damaged by a washing machine. While you can sometimes get away with tossing a hand wash item in the washing machine if it has a “hand wash” setting, there is no way to safely clean items with a dry clean only label in your washing machine. Dry clean only items usually include clothing made from silk, taffeta, wool, or velvet. While some labels include a simple “Dry Clean Only” phrase, others may include a “Do Not Wash” symbol like this.

dry clean only

Still unsure how to wash clothes and what washing label symbols mean? Let Embassy Cleaners handle all of your clothing cleaning needs. From dry cleaning to laundering, we offer fast, dependable service with a delivery option that will help take the headache out of washing your clothes.

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Embassy is so far above other places I’ve used that I regret not discovering them sooner. Not only is the quality of their service exceptional (right down to the hangers they use), but they’re also environmentally conscious, and so friendly. The service is efficient and they communicate well when your items are ready for pickup. I can’t say enough good things about them.
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I’ve used Embassy Cleaners for the last eight years. They do a wonderful job. Expert cleaners of fine clothes and home furnishings and great tailors. Their service is excellent. They listen to all of my instructions and are extremely diligent.
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I get my dry cleaning picked up and dropped off, I love this service. Life is so busy and it’s good to be able to take my mind off certain things, like my laundry. Thanks to the whole team.
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Been using them for the 3 years I’ve been here. Never, EVER, had a single issue. In fact, they are the best laundry/dry cleaner my shirts and other items have ever seen. Impeccable.
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