Since the 1950s, the intensive growth of trade in textiles has shown the necessity of creating an international code. A set of preliminary projects was developed and four basic symbols were submitted to carry out an international plan of the World Intellectual Property Organization based in Geneva.
A washtub meaning washing
Chlorination A triangle symbolising chlorination (using fluids with chlorine, such as Javel water)
An iron An iron symbolises ironing
Dry cleaning A circle symbolises dry cleaning
The fifth symbol, a dryer meaning a dryer, has been submitted a little later.
Labelling clothes with drawings indicates how to best take care of fabrics, pictograms give tips on the basic principles of washing, ironing, removing stains, dry cleaning and drying in a dryer.
Existing symbols can be complemented with additional instructions , when the information important for the consumer cannot be represented with a drawing (e.g. garment to be maintained by a specialist, wash separately, use powder without optical brightener etc...).
The symbols are used by many textile manufacturers in the form of labels sewn into garments and sometimes also on the packaging of laundering products or brochures attached to household appliances.
Codes to take care of textiles
WASHING - a washtub
A washtub It is a symbol indicating the first stage of preserving textiles: washing.
The numbers inside the washtub indicate the maximum washing temperature expressed in degrees Celsius.
A hand in the washtub means that you can hand wash the garment. An underlined washtub indicates special precautions to be taken.
BLEACHING - a triangle
Chlorination This symbol allows bleaching using various types of products, especially those based on chlorine (e.g. Javel water) or an oxidant.
DRYING IN A TUMBLE DRYER - a circle typed in a square
This symbol advises what temperature to set in the dryer: dryer 1 dot - moderate temperature
2 dots - no restrictions
IRONING - an iron
An iron This symbol shows, with its 1,2 or 3 dots, the maximum temperature of the iron.
DRY CLEANING - a circle
This symbol is directed primarily to those who are professionally involved in dry-cleaning.
The letters inside the circle: P, F or W indicate the type of dry cleaning and products tolerated by a given garment.
An underlined symbol indicates that special precautions must be taken.
PROHIBITED MEASURE - a Saint Andrew’s cross
A Saint Andrew’s cross A Saint Andrew's cross placed on a virgin symbol means that a given measure is prohibited.
* WARNING! The use of these textile maintenance symbols is used only on finished articles or accessories and not only as a reference to the fabrics they are composed of.
To avoid any unpleasant surprise, it is best to carefully observe labelling on the garments and thus enjoy your favourite clothes for a longer period of time.