Label Care Symbols and Stain Fighting

Label Care Symbols

The Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) Care Labeling Rule requires that all clothing sold in the United States have a label attached directing the proper care of the garment. If you follow care label, and the garment is damaged, the party who attached the label to the garment is responsible for the damage. What does that mean for you the consumer? It means you should read the label before you buy a piece of clothing. This way, you'll know what to expect when it's time to care for your clothing.

What every label must have

Each label must either have washing instructions or dry cleaning instructions. Washing instructions contains 4 parts, Wash, Bleach, Dry and Iron. Dry cleaning instructions contain just one symbol, dry clean. See the picture above for symbols that match the words. If a garment cant be washed or dry cleaned it may have another designation like 'Spot Clean Only'. Also, there must be a label on each garment indicating the content of the garment (i.e. 100% Wool). These do not have to be on the same tag although they frequently are found this way.

How to read the symbols

Each of the basic symbols has modifiers that give specific instructions. For instance, an iron symbol with three dots in the middle means you can iron at high temperature.


Stain Fighting

We all want to save time and money, and for some of us that means, we're going to try to eliminate a stain by ourselves.

I have to caution you about this because stains are the most common reason people give for having to discard a garment.

Your dry-cleaner is an expert on fabrics and stain removal. Bring your garment in as quickly as you possibly can so that it can be treated before the actual fibers of the garment become damaged. Even after a stain is removed, there will remain a mark because the fibers of the cloth have reacted chemically to the compound that created the stain in the first place.


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