Laundry Symbols for Clothing Care

Here is a quick guide to reading laundry symbols. Following the care guidelines given on clothing labels can save you from a laundry mishap, like ruining your beautiful new sweater.

These codes are the ones used by many clothing manufacturers and the ones you are most likely to encounter.

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The washing machine is represented by a wash bucket and the number of dots inside the bucket indicate the highest temperature you can safely use to wash your item of clothing. Sometimes the actual temperature (in centigrade) will be written instead of dots.

You can always safely wash at a lower temperature, but please be careful that some items of clothing do not go in the washing machine at all.

laundry symbols washing

Sometimes a further indication is given with the washing laundry symbols as follows:

laundry symbols wash pp

Synthetics - If there is a single line underneath the wash bucket, this indicates that you should wash the item in the synthetics or permanent press cycle of your washing machine which is normally a shorter and less intensive washing.

laundry symbols wash delicate

Delicate - If there are two lines underneath the wash bucket, then you should wash the item on the gentle cycle of your washing machine.

laundry symbols handwash

Handwashing - Indicated by a hand.


Whether or not you can safely use bleach on the item will be indicated by a triangle, according to the following code:

laundry labels bleach


The dryer is represented by a square with a circle inside of it. The number of dots inside of the circle indicate the temperature it is safe to dry your clothing item at. Just as with washing, you can always dry at a lower temperature and air drying is always an option over machine drying.

laundry symbols dryer

Dryer symbols may be further refined in the same way the washing machine symbol is. One line underneath the dryer symbol laundry symbols dryer pp indicates you should dry this item on a permanent press cycle of your dryer, and two lines laundry symbols dryer gentle on the gentle cycle.

You may even find the following laundry symbols on your clothing:

laundry symbols drying


Ironing recommendations are given using a symbol that looks like an iron. Once again dots are indicative of recommended temperatures for your iron. Many irons these days have their control dial coded with these same symbols, making your job easier.

laundry symbols ironing

Dry Cleaning

laundry symbols drycleaning

Dry cleaning recommendations are indicated by a circle. The letters and symbols that are included with this are indications for the dry cleaners to follow. [an error occurred while processing this directive]

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