Decoding the symbols on your clothing labels to help you choose the right care for your clothes

We have all noticed the clothing labels on our clothes and then promptly ignored them. Spending a little more time on these labels will show you that these clothing labels actually contain instructions on the right way to clean your clothes. Why do these exist and what do they mean? Some instructions may direct you to your regular dry cleaning service, while others offer details on how to care for your clothes yourself. Whether you’re doing your shoe laundry, or carpet cleaning, reading the instructions on the labels of these products is key.

There are 5 different types of symbols and instructions that can be found on your clothing labels.

  • Washing instructions
  • Bleaching instructions
  • Drying instructions
  • Ironing instructions
  • Dry cleaning instructions

Washing instructions

Depicted as a bucket of water, the washing instructions exist to tell you what temperature or machine setting you should use to wash this piece of clothing. If the bucket of water has one dot inside it then it should be washed with cold water, if it has two dots then it should be washed with warm water and if it has three dots then it should be washed with hot water. If the bucket of water has a single line under it then it needs to be washed on the permanent press setting. Two lines under the bucket stands for gentle cycle. With a hand in the bucket you should hand wash the clothes and a cross over the bucket stands for do not wash these clothes. This means that the clothing does not tolerate machine washes but can be included in your laundry pick-up and delivery by your trusted dry cleaners.

Drying instructions

A circle inside of a square symbolizes a clothes dryer. As is the case with machine washing, the number of dots inside the circle will let you know at what temperature the machine should be used. One dot stands for tumble dry low, two dots for tumble dry medium and three dots for tumble dry high. When you see the tumble dry label with lines across it, it denotes do not tumble dry. Just an empty square denotes that the cloth should be hung out to dry naturally.

Ironing instructions

The ironing symbol is shaped like an old-fashioned iron. It follows the same system. An iron with one dot stands for low heat, two dots for medium and three dots for high heat. A cross over an iron stands for do not iron.

Bleaching instructions

A triangle with nothing in the middle denotes that bleach can be used on these clothes. A triangle filled with diagonal lines on the inside denotes that only non-chlorine bleach can be used on these clothes. Do not use bleach if there is an x over a triangle as this symbol stands for do not bleach. Your dry cleaners will usually never bleach anything without your instructions so these garments are safe to send to dry cleaning services.

Dry cleaning instructions

The dry cleaning symbol is a circle. While a circle that has been crossed out stands for do not dry clean. Dry clean only clothes have the letter P inside the circle. When this is the case, you can always use your Spin N Press laundry app to get your laundry picked up and delivered back, looking as good as new!

Armed with this guide you now know what these symbols stand for. Knowing what to do and understanding the right treatment for your clothes is quite different. To get one of the best dry cleaning, shoe cleaning, carpet cleaning and ironing services in Mumbai just install the Spin N Press app for free pick-up and delivery and be assured that you have experts on the job.


Spin N Press offers you Premium Dry Cleaning, Ironing & Shoe Cleaning services. We are dedicated to serving your washing, Dry Cleaning & Ironing needs keeping in mind three distinct principles: Quality, Pricing & Schedules.

View Full Profile



  • android icon
  • apple store icon