Reading Different Wash and Care Signs on Clothes

How do the local dry cleaners come to know that your linen shirt is meant for gentle wash and sequined gowns should be dry cleaned? It is their experience and level of expertise that helps in making the decision. But another aspect that makes it easy for them to understand the washing directions is the wash and care signs mentioned on the clothes. If you check the label or tag attached to your newly bought clothes, you’ll find some signs on them. Ever wondered what these signs actually mean? In this article, you’ll come to know more about those wash and care signs.


Washtub or Bucket Filled with Water – Symbolizes machine wash in normal settings.

The number in the tub or bucket – The maximum temperature setting at which you should wash the clothes. These numbers generally vary from 20-50°C. Some tags have the temperature limit denoted as dots in the bucket. One dot for 20°C, two dots for 30°C, three for 40°C, and four dots for 50°C.

Hand in the tub – The hand in the tub or bucket symbolizes hand wash. This means that clothes with this sign on the tags shouldn’t be washed in washing machine.

Cross through the tub – This sign indicates that clothes shouldn’t be washed under normal household conditions.


Empty triangle – An empty triangle on the tags signifies bleaching clothes with chlorine or non-chlorine bleach. Two oblique lines in the triangle mean clothes should be bleached with non-chlorine bleaches only.

Cross through the triangle – This sign clearly symbolizes clothes shouldn’t be bleached at all.

Dry and Wet Cleaning

Empty circle or circular outline – If your clothes have this sign, understand that they should be given for professional dry cleaning.

Letter ‘F’ in the circle – This sign means that clothes can be dry cleaned but with hydrocarbon solvent (HCS) only.

Bar under HCS sign – A bar under this sign means dry clean gently, and two bars means very gentle dry cleaning.

Letter ‘P’ in the circle – This sign means that clothes can be dry cleaned but with any solvent except tetrachloroethylene. A bar under the sign means dry clean gently, and two bars means very gentle dry cleaning.

Cross through the empty circle – If your clothes have this tag, you should refrain from dry cleaning them.

Letter ‘W’ in the circle – This sign means that your clothes should be given for professional wet cleaning. A bar below the symbol signifies gentle wet cleaning, and two bars under the symbol means very gentle wet cleaning.

Cross through the shaded circle – This sign symbolizes do not wet clean.


Empty circle in an empty square – This sign symbolizes clothes can be tumble dried. One dot inside the circle signifies drying at reduced temperature, and two dots signify drying at normal temperature.

Cross through the tumble dry sign – If your clothes have this sign, you should avoid tumble drying them.


Iron symbol – An iron symbol on the tags of your clothes means that they can be ironed at home.

Dots inside the iron – The number of dots signifies highest temperature settings: one dot means 110°C, two dots mean 150°C and three means 200°C.

Iron with a cross – A cross through the iron signifies that clothes shouldn’t be ironed at all.

If you have any doubts related to these wash and care signs, or if you are looking for a professional wash and care assistance for your clothes, you can reach out to our local dry cleaners. Our experts wash and dry clean clothes keeping these wash care signs in mind.


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