Good to know: this is what the laundry symbols on care labels mean


Do you know what all laundry symbols mean?

Every item of clothing has a label sewn into it to explain how it should be laundered. We know what most symbols mean, or think we know, but sometimes there are symbols that make us scratch our heads. We explain what laundry symbols mean, so you’ll never have to be confused again.

We have compiled a list.


First, a bit of history. In the late 1950s, a European association for textile care labelling was formed. That is why especially in Europe laundry symbols are similar or the same. With our worldwide market, the symbols have gone international, so in most countries you will see the same or similar symbols. However, there is still confusion about what they mean exactly. No worries, we’ll explain.

Washing machine

This symbol means that you can wash the clothing item in your washing machine.

The number in the bucket means the maximum temperature. Don’t wash it any hotter, as it might shrink or lose its colour.

The line under the bucket means you have to use a slow spin cycle. The item is probably fragile and can’t withstand a fast cycle. Make sure the programme on your washing machine is slow!

The hand in the bucket means you can only wash the clothing manually or, if your washing machine has this feature, on the hand wash setting in your machine.

If the bucket is crossed out, it means you cannot wash the clothing item. Bring it to a dry cleaner’s to have it professionally cleaned or steam it at home.


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