Feature Image by Dan Gold

With all the things you have to do in a day, the last task you want to conquer is laundry. As if separating colors, pretreating stains, and then ironing and folding your clothes weren’t enough work, you also have to figure out all those confusing symbols on your clothing tags to determine the best way to wash and dry them. We get it, you have more important things on your mind. So, with the help of the experts at Tide, Clorox, and Whirlpool, we compiled everything you need to know to interpret those symbols.


The first symbol is normally a tub of water. This will tell you everything about washing including the water temperature and what cycle to choose on your machine. The hand wash symbol (hand in tub) and do not wash (‘X’ over tub) are pretty easy to remember, but the dots are where it gets tricky. Just think, the more dots, the more heat. One dot for cold water, two for medium, and three for hot water.


If you come across a circle, that’s dry-cleaning. If there’s an ‘X’ on your circle, don’t dry-clean it! Seeing lines under the tub? That’s about the cycle. Here you need to think: more lines, more care.


The square is the next symbol on your clothing care label. If you see a circle in a square, proceed as usual with the dryer. An ‘X’? Don’t put that in the dryer! Once again, if you see dots, remember the rule from the washing instruction: more dots, more heat. As for the lines, they still refer to the cycle you should choose. Come on, say it with us: more lines, more care!


Thinking of using bleach on your clothes? Look for a triangle to tell you what to do. One big ‘X’ means don’t use that bleach!


The little iron symbol is pretty self-explanatory; it’s about ironing. Once again, the big ‘X’ means don’t iron the item. More dots? You know the rule by now: more dots, more heat. The only new sign here is an ‘X’ under the iron. That’s telling you not to use steam on your garment.

xx, The FabFitFun Team