Washing Codes

By Camilla Swart

Why would you spend time reading washing instructions?

The short answer is that you should, in order to preserve the life of the items you are washing!

The symbols on wash-care labels were developed to be universally understood and accepted. 

Decoding them makes it easy to launder that wonderful sweater you bought in London, or the silk blouse from Seoul.

Basically, they have been ‘broken down’ into 5 types of symbols – each one representing a part of the laundry process.

  • Washtub – washing – often indicates temp as degrees Celsius – e.g., 60⁰
  • Square – drying – how it should be dried.
  • Iron – iron settings to use, and whether you can iron
  • Triangle – bleaching – whether you can and which type of bleaches
  • Circle – dry cleaning your garment

See below for more the symbols

 Washing Symbols washing

 Drying Symbols  drying

Ironing Symbols  ironing

Bleaching Symbols  bleaching

Dry Cleaning Symbols dry cleaning

These above are the most frequently used symbols. 

Wash care labels are not randomly made, but are carefully created to ensure that the product is properly cared for.

It is incredibly important to read the wash care label and to apply the method for laundering that product.  This enables you to enjoy the use of that product optimally.


It is an idea to have the universal laundry symbols prominently displayed in your laundry area.  I thought of framing them as a ‘picture’ to hang on the inside of my laundry product cupboard. They need to be handy, because I certainly can’t remember what everything means when confronted by a wash care label – which is often quite small.

Reading wash care labels is like learning a new language!  With practise it becomes easy, as we remember the five categories of symbols – washing, drying, ironing, bleaching and dry cleaning.

At Linen Drawer we like to tell our customers whether our products can be machine washed and tumble-dried, so we print it on the outside packaging as well as on the wash care label sewn onto the product.

We do this for two reasons:

  • Helping you with the care process makes the process of buying our products easier.
  • Our products are made to last – taking care of them ensures that you don’t need to replace product frequently thereby ultimately lowering the environmental impact of manufacturing cotton products.

Should you require any help with laundering or stain removals please don’t hesitate to contact us. We pride ourselves on being somewhat expert in this area and are always willing to share our knowledge.

Contact us at info@linendrawer.co.za or phone us on +27 21 872 0108