Care labels are care instructions on garments. Symbols are written on care labels, attached to clothing to indicate how a particular item should best be cleaned. Textile and apparel labels can help you consider alternative choices and make better buying decisions if you take time to read them. Permanent Care Labels (PCL) use symbols to explain how to care for wearing apparel and home sewing fabrics, so consumers need to learn the basic symbols.

In this page

  1. Introduction
  2. Qualifications of Good Care Labels
  3. Types of care labeling system


Caring for garments in proper way is so important that some regulations have been enacted requiring garment manufacturers to provide information about how to care for the garment. This information or care symbol must be attached to the garment and must be readable upon purchase. Such symbols are written on care labels, attached to clothing to indicate how a particular item should best be cleaned. A Laundry care symbol is a standardized symbol which indicates best cleaning procedures to be used for that particular combination of fabric, thread, decoration and construction techniques representing a method of washing, beaching, drying, ironing or dry-cleaning process of a garment.

Repeated cleaning treatment and correct care process can assure cleaner and fresher clothes, good appearance, longer life and most important, fit and quality of garment. Damage to garments from incorrect cleaning methods can lead to complaints and costly customer return.

Qualifications of Good Care Labels

Care LabelAt present various care labeling systems are followed worldwide. Whatever the system may be, it should follow basic principles as below.

  • The care labels should not be visible from outside and should not be inconvenient to the wearer
  • The symbols and letters on the labels shall be legible throughout useful life of garment
  • All the symbols used in the care labeling system should be placed directly on the article or on a label which shall be affixed in a permanent manner to the article.
  • Care labels should be made of suitable material with resistance to the care treatment indicated in the label at least equal to that of the article on which they are placed.
  • The care instruction symbols are applicable to whole of the garment including trimmings, zippers, linings buttons, embroidery or decorative embellishment.

Types of care labeling system

Care LabelAt present, there is no universal garment care symbol system. The ASTM symbols are accepted in NAFTA countries. ISO/GINETEX symbols are accepted in most of Europe, Asia, Australia and Japan has their own symbol system. Care labels are not mandatory in all countries. Following systems have been established as either a governmental regulation or an international standard.

  • Laundering : is a process intended to remove soil or stains by washing with an aqueous detergent solution and possibly bleach and normally including subsequent rinsing, extracting drying.
  • Chlorine bleach : is a process carried out in an aqueous medium, during or after washing processes, requiring the use of chlorine based bleaching agent for the propose of removing stains and improving whiteness.
  • Non-chlorine bleach : that does not release the hypochlorite ion in solution, for example sodium perborate, sodium per carbonate, etc.
  • Dry-cleaning : is process for cleaning textile articles by means of organic solvents like petroleum, per-chloro-ethylene, and fluorocarbon. This process consists or cleaning rinsing, spinning and drying.
  • Tumble drying : is a process carried out on a textile article after washing, with the intention of removing residual water by treatment with hot air in a rotating drum.
  • Ironing : is a method or pressing using a heated hand iron sometimes together with moisture or steam, and a gliding motion.
  • Pressing : Are a process or smoothing and shaping by heat and pressure, with or without the presence of steam.
  • Bleach : a product for brightening and aiding the removal of soils and stains from textile materials by oxidation that is inclusive of bother chlorine and non-chlorine products.
  • Cleaning agent : a chemical compound or formulating of several compounds which loosens, disperses, dissolves, or emulsifies soil to facilitate removal by mechanical action.
  • Professional Care: Cleaning and maintenance procedures requiring the services of a person specially trained or skilled in their use.

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