How to Read Laundry Symbols on Your Clothing Tags

Are you tired of shrinking your favorite sweaters or turning your light-colored clothes pink every time you do the laundry? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there! The good news is that the secret to decoding and achieving perfect laundry care lies in those tiny tags you find within your clothes. The laundry tag symbols are treasure troves of information, as long as you know how to read them. In this blog, our experts will teach you how to read the laundry symbols and share some handy laundromat tips to keep your clothes looking their best.

The Key to Proper Clothing Care

Those tiny labels are actually incredibly helpful in determining the best way to care for your clothes. The icons are standardized international symbols designed to provide specific care instructions that are understood universally. They’re divided into four primary categories:


  • Washtub = Washing 
  • Square = Drying
  • Iron = Ironing
  • Triangle = Bleaching


Below, we’ll break down each and how to care for your clothes based on these laundry tag symbols.

Washing Symbol

Arguably the most important symbol, washing symbols tell you at what temperature to wash your clothes and the type of washing cycles that are safe for your items. Usually, the temperature is indicated by the number of dots on the washing symbol, and the more dots that are listed, the hotter the temperature. Additionally, the lines underneath represent the different cycle options.

  • Washtub with no lines: Normal wash
  • Washtub with one line underneath: Permanent press cycle
  • Washtub with two lines underneath: Gentle cycle
  • Washtub with hand: Hand wash
  • Washtub with an X across: Do not wash
  • Twisted garment with an X across: Do not wring out the garment

Drying Symbol

Drying is the most delicate step in the laundry process. Yet, understanding the different drying symbols can help you avoid damaging your clothes. Drying symbols are represented by squares, but you’ll also want to pay attention to the circles inside the squares.

  • Square with a circle in the center: Normal dry cycle
  • Square with a circle in the center and an extra line underneath: Permanent press
  • Square with a circle in the center and two extra lines underneath: Delicate cycle
  • Square with an X going through it: Do not put them in the dryer
  • Square with a circle in the center and an X going through it: Do not tumble dry

Similar to washing symbols, drying ones also have dots indicating the type of heat. You will see:

  • Blacked-out circle: No heat/air
  • One dot: Low heat
  • Two dots: Medium heat
  • Three dots: High heat
  • 0 dots: Any heat

Ironing Symbol

The ironing symbol is easy to identify; it’s a picture of an iron. Just like the washing and drying symbols, you’ll see dots indicating the temperature:

  • Iron with one dot: Cool
  • Iron with two dots: Warm
  • Iron with three dots: Hot
  • Iron with an X over it: Do not iron
  • Iron with lines coming out from the bottom with an X over the lines: Do not steam

Bleaching Symbol

Bleaching symbols are the easiest to read and understand; they’re always represented by triangles. To know if it’s safe to bleach your clothes, follow these guidelines:

  • Empty triangle: You can bleach as you please
  • Striped triangle: Use only non-chlorine bleach
  • Filled triangle with an X: Do not use bleach

Laundromat Tips With Bakers Centre Laundry

Now that you understand those tricky laundry symbols, we can take a look at some tips to ensure your clothes always come out smelling and looking fresh:


  • Separate your clothes by color and fabric type
  • Use the correct amount of detergent
  • Wash your clothes in cold water
  • Use the gentle or delicate cycle
  • Air dry your clothes whenever possible

By understanding your laundry tag symbols and following these simple tips, you can maximize the lifespan of your clothes and ensure they always look their best. If you have any questions or need additional help, visit your favorite local laundromat, Bakers Centre Laundry!