What Do The Symbols Of The Washing Machine Mean?

What do the washing symbols we find on the clothing label mean? This article shows you the main symbols for washing in the washing machine and not clothes, fabrics, and shoes.


Washing in the washing machine or by hand?

Washing in the washing machine or by hand

Washing clothes and even washing shoes in the washing machine is a blessing that fell on homemakers (and for par condicio we also mention homemakers) in the twentieth century, and since then never again declined, indeed, if anything, washing machines, like any other appliance, have been increasingly perfected, to offer even better performance.

But to use the best washing machines on the market in the right way, you need to knowhow to correctly interpret the symbols on the labels of clothing, relating to the rules to follow for a wash that cleans the garments without ruining them.

When this is not done, in fact, the risk is to find felted wool jerseys, clothes with delicate faded colours, or even clothing, perhaps even expensive, ruined by smudges of colour lost by washing companions of different colours.

Let’s start by pointing out that not all clothes can be put in the washing machine. This is clearly indicated on the label by one of the following symbols:

  • a concave full of water barred by a cross with diagonal arms
  • a Conca, similarly filled with water, with the design of a hand.

The first figure indicates that the garment should not be washed normally because it needs special treatment to be carried out in the laundry room. The second figure instead means that it can be washed in water, in the house, as long as by hand.

When you can use the washing machine, there will be a concave full of water on the label. If this is the washing symbol, you will always find others associated with it that provide more detailed instructions:

  • a 2-digit number inside the Conca
  • a single horizontal line positioned below the Conca
  • a double horizontal line positioned under the Conca.

The double-digit number specifies the maximum washing temperature to stick to, such as 30, 40, or 50 degrees. Sometimes instead of the number alone, there is also a C, i.e. 30 C, 40 C, which clearly spells degrees Celsius.

The single line requires you to be careful; the fabric does not tolerate aggressive washing, so you need to set the washing machine to a delicate cycle. Even more, attention if the line appears double; in this case, a special cycle for delicate garments is mandatory.

It should be borne in mind that sometimes, instead of in degrees, the washing temperature is indicated by pellets, i.e.

  • a dot in the water-filled Conca
  • 2 pellets in the water-filled Conca
  • 3 pellets in the water-filled Conca.

A single ball means that washing in cold water or at most at 30 degrees is necessary. Two pellets specify to set the program of the washing machine at temperatures between 40 and 50 degrees. Finally, three pellets explain that hot water can be used, i.e. brought to a temperature equal to or greater than 60 degrees.


Symbols that indicate when to use bleach or not

Another symbol that is on the label is the triangular symbol. The indication, in this case, relates to the use of bleach.

The figure can be drawn as:

  • a simple triangle
  • , a triangle barred by a cross with diagonal arms
  • A triangle with 2 oblique strokes drawn inside.

The triangle specifies that bleach is allowed, but if the 2 oblique strokes are depicted, only the oxygen-based one, less aggressive than the chlorine-based one, can be used. When the drawing represents the triangle

barred from the cross, bleach should not be used, either chlorine-based or oxygen-based.


How to read the drying label

How to read the drying label

Continuing to read the label, we find the indications that specify the dryer’s use; a useful appliance now presents in many houses. The image of the dryer consists of a circle enclosed within a square. Or a circle enclosed within a square barred by a cross with diagonal arms.

The first symbol means that it is possible to use the dryer, while the second explains it is not. In the first case, it will also be specified which drying cycle is recommended to use, through the following 2 figures:

  • a circle inside a square with a single dot inside
  • a circle inside a square with 2 dots inside.

When only one ball is found, it is necessary to set a gentle cycle, vice versa; if there are 2 pellets, you can safely set the normal drying cycle.


Dry cleaning labels reserved for dyeing

Sometimes it may happen to notice, by examining the label, also the symbols related to dry cleaning treatments. These consist of a circle within which there is a letter.

You can find a circle with the letter F, W, P or a circle printed the letter W and barred by a diagonal arm cross in more detail. All letters indicate the types of detergents allowed.

  • The letter W indicates that water-based detergents are fine.
  • The letter F explains that the solvents.
  • That can be used are hydrocarbons, trifluoride or trichloroethane.
  • The letter P specifies that perchloroethylene (but not trillion) should be used.

Finally, the last symbol specifies that the garment must be washed exclusively dry because the fabric does not tolerate moisture. On the other hand, dry cleaning is not recommended on the label; the following symbol with a circle barred by a cross with diagonal arms will be shown.

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