Clothes Airers

How to Read a Clothes Tag

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Clothes Tag: A Complete Guide on How To Read Clothes Tag

Every piece of clothing you have is made from fabrics that require extra care. Have you ever purchased the garment you’ve been looking for, wore it, and carelessly tossed it in a washer with your other used clothes? You probably agree that most people unintentionally just skim through the confusing clothes tags and wash different fabrics together.

All fabrics require different care. All garments have a few specific ways of washing, drying, and ironing to prolong the life of the fabric and maintain its good qualities. They may look like just a bunch of symbols, but clothes tags are the manufacturer’s way of telling you how to take good care of your clothes.

What do the Symbols on the Tag Mean?

You may think of them as highly confusing, but clothes tags are there to help you take care of your loved clothes. If you’re worried about the worsening quality of your favorite piece of clothing and begin to see damages, you better start checking the clothes tag to see what you got wrong.

Clothes tag

Different symbols on the clothes tag mean different ways of how you should be washing, drying, and ironing your clothes. Symbols on clothes tags, therefore, are mainly divided into different categories.

Washing Symbols

Temperature and the washing cycle are essential in ensuring you’re taking care of your clothes the right way. The wrong temperature and washing cycle can damage your clothes aside from not cleaning your garments right.


Temperature requirements for washing garments can be represented as dots or numbers in a bucket with one dot, or 30 °C means you need to wash it in cold water, two dots or 40 °C or mean warm water, and three dots or 60°C stand for a hot wash.

Wash Symbols

A bucket is generally a depiction of how you should wash the garment. A crossed-out bucket means the specific clothing should not be washed. A circle means it should be dry cleaned only, and a crossed-out circle means it should not be dry cleaned.

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Spinning Symbols

The increasing number of bars seen under the bucket represents the reduction of spinning and washing required on the garment. No bars mean the clothes can be spun and rinsed regularly, 1 bar requires you to wash the clothes in a synthetic cycle, and two bars indicate that you need to put the garment through a gentle wash. If you see a hand on the bucket, you need to hand wash the clothing in water at 40°C or lower.

Drying Symbols

Generally represented as a square with a circle in the middle, drying symbols on the clothes tag will help you avoid pressing the wrong buttons on your dryer or putting your clothes in a dryer when they shouldn’t be tumble-dried.

Tumble Dry Symbol

A square with a circle in the middle means the item is safe to be tumble dried on any heat setting, while the number of dots represents the heat setting required for the garment. This symbol helps you avoid putting clothes requiring lower heat in a tumble-drying cycle on the hottest setting. The number of bars under the tumble dryer symbol requires you to use either the “Permanent Press” setting (one bar) or the “Delicate” setting (two bars). A crossed-over tumble dryer symbol, on the other hand, requires you not to use the tumble dryer.

Drip Drying or Air Drying Symbol

When clothes don’t have to be tumble-dried, you can see a square with vertical lines representing drip drying. A single horizontal line on the square indicates that you should flat dry the fabric, while a drooping line usually means you should hang it to dry.

When you don’t have the luxury of having to use a tumble dryer in your efforts to save space and even money, a heated clothes airer can be an optimal choice for your indoor drying needs. You can use the ABIS 3-Tier Electric Heated Clothes Airer for maximized drying capacity. Its portable and lightweight design means you can set it up everywhere you need it to save space. With a volume of only 1480 mm x 705 mm x 730 mm, it can cater to a drying capacity of 15 kg within its 20.5m drying space.

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Ironing Symbols

Ironing is an important part of keeping your clothes tidy and in good condition. It corrects any folds in the fabric before storage, making it look great before storing and wearing. However, some fabrics are delicate enough to suffer damage from ironing. Delicate fabric like wool needs to be handled with care when ironing. Some don’t require ironing at all.

Always check the clothes tag for the iron symbol to know the temperature required for each of your clothes. The number of dots dictates what temperature setting you should use. A single dot means you should iron the garment on a low setting, two dots stand for synthetics, and three dots for linen or cotton. A crossed-over iron symbol means you should not iron them at all.

Other Symbols you Should Know

Of course, there are many more symbols you should check aside from the usual symbols. When doing your laundry that needs bleaching, always check your clothes tag for the bleaching symbol, usually represented by a triangle. A crossed-over triangle means you are not allowed to bleach the garment. And diagonal lines across triangles mean you should use non-chlorine bleach.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why do I need to know how to read clothes tags?

    The clothes tags will tell you what care the fabric of your clothes require. By learning how to read clothes tags, you can make sure that you can do your laundry without losing the quality of your clothes through damage. 

  2. What clothes tag symbols should I look out for when taking care of my clothes during laundry?

    There are three main categories of symbols in the clothes tag you should look at for mainly:
    1. Washing Symbols (represented by a bucket symbol)
    2. Drying Symbols (squares with a circle in the middle of a square with either vertical, horizontal, or drooping lines)
    3. Ironing Symbols (iron shapes as the symbols)
    4. Other symbols such as triangles indicate the bleach usage for the clothes.

  3. How should I do my laundry properly?

    You should use and follow the washing, drying, and ironing requirements in the clothes tags since that’s how the manufacturers tell you how you should take care of their products. Separate the clothes during washing as indicated on the tags and follow the water temperature and machine/handwashing guides. You can follow the tags to see how you should do the drying and ironing parts next.


Knowing what the symbols on your clothes tags mean will help you keep the integrity of your clothes and save money. Ensure to check your clothes tags now to know which washing method and settings you should use for your loved clothes.

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