Decoding Laundry Symbols: A Handy Guide to Proper Clothing Care

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Welcome to our latest blog post, where we’re set to unravel the mysteries of laundry symbols! As a trusted dry cleaning service, we understand how these cryptic icons can be a source of confusion for many. Laundry symbols, those small but significant graphics on clothing tags, are designed to guide you on how to properly care for your garments.

However, without a clear understanding, they can lead to mishaps in fabric care. In this post, we’ll provide you with a comprehensive guide to understanding these symbols, ensuring that your clothes get the care they deserve, whether you’re washing at home or bringing them to us for professional treatment. Let’s unravel the mystery of laundry symbols together and make laundry day a breeze!

Why Are There Standardized Laundry Care Symbols? 

With laundry being done worldwide, there’s a need to have standardized laundry care symbols to ensure everyone maintains proper clothing care. These symbols are simple pictograms that indicate manufacturers’ suggestions on the best washing, drying, dry-cleaning, and ironing techniques specific to a particular fabric. Although these are internationally recognized symbols, their form and use differ by region. 

Some regions use the pictograms alone, while others complement them with written instructions. They’re all meant to provide specific instructions on how to take care of your garments. 

Now, let’s dive into the commonly used laundry pictograms. 


Laundry symbols use specific pictograms that are easier to decode. There are five main laundry symbols that you should know about. These symbols come with additional icons to indicate various care methods. These include: 

  • Triangle: This symbolizes the bleaching effect on a cloth. A plain triangle indicates that you may bleach the garments as needed, while a cross symbol indicates you should not bleach the garment. Two lines through the triangle suggest that you should only use non-chlorine bleaches. 
  • Square with a circle symbol: This icon indicates that you can tumble dry the specific items. It comes in different varieties, with a plain circle in the square suggesting you can dry the garment in a dryer. If there’s an X running through the symbol, you should avoid putting the garment in a dryer. 
  • Iron: This is the most self-explanatory cloth-washing symbol. It also comes in various options, with a plane option suggesting using any temperature. Horizontal lines below the iron mean you can steam iron, while an X running through restricts ironing and steaming depending on the icon. 
  • Circle: A plane circle indicates that the garment is safe for dry cleaning, while one with a cross-cutting across the circle restricts this process. 
  • Basin: A stylized basin icon indicates that the garment is perfect for washing. It comes in different options. If the icon features a specific number. It means the maximum washing temperature, while a hand in the tub suggests it’s suitable for hand washing. An X cutting across the tub shows you should not wash. 

Dot Modifiers

Dots are used as modifiers across the main symbols described above. They come in three options, one, two, and three, indicating various heating temperatures. In an ironing symbol, one dot suggests low temperature, two dots for medium temperature, and three for high temperature. This modifier can also be found to indicate temperatures for tumble drying, indicated by a square shape with a circle inside. 

Bar Modifiers 

Bar modifiers indicate the speed for general agitation that you should maintain in a tumble wash and dry cleaning. They are usually placed below the actual symbol, with one bar indicating gentle agitation, two indicating medium agitation, and three showing vigorous agitation. 

Cross Symbol

A cross icon restricts users from a particular activity. This goes from ironing, bleaching, tumble-drying, dry-cleaning, and washing. 


The letters A, F, or P inside a circle on garment tags indicate the type of solvent a cleaner should use. A suggests that dry cleaners can use any solvent, F demonstrates that any solvent except Trichloroethylene can be used, while P limits the cleaner to petroleum solvents. 

Wringing Symbol 

A clear wringing symbol indicates that the garment is suitable for hand squeeze drying. However, you should refrain from wringing the garment if it has an X or cross over the symbol. 

Get Your Household Items Cleaned at OXXO Cleaners that Care 

Knowing what a specific laundry symbol means can go a long way in caring for your garments correctly. However, if they seem too much hard work to comprehend or adhere to, OXXO Cleaners that Care is here to help you. We can handle any household item you want cleaned, whether your clothes, bed sheets, blankets, towels, or those unusual items you think cannot be dry-cleaned. Visit one of our convenient locations near you for convenient and eco-friendly laundry services! 

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