December 4, 2014 | Tips & Style

Laundry Symbols: Wash and Dry

We thought that the best way to finish off our mini series on laundry symbols would be with some of the most common symbols you’re going to come across on a day-to-day basis. We mean, of course, the symbols for washing and drying.

If you’re curious about our last laundry symbol post, check out “What is wet cleaning?

Every week, most Torontonians haul their laundry out of hampers and into laundry rooms or laundromats all over the city where they then, hopefully, sort them into colours and whites. This is a great place to start, but how often do you pay attention to the more specific washing and drying instructions given on that tiny clothing care tag?  Even if the item doesn’t require extra special attention, such as dry-cleaning or wet cleaning, there’s a chance it still needs a little bit of TLC.

Let’s take a look at some of these cryptic messages that stand between you and proper clothing care.


Do any of these symbols look familiar? We’d bet that almost every piece of clothing in your closet has at least one or two of these symbols sewn into the tag. And while you’ve probably figured out the difference between the regular “wash” symbol and the “handwash” one, much in the same way that you know what the big “X” through the dryer symbols means, did you know that all of those dots and lines actually mean something important?

They do – and they are actually incredibly simple to figure out! Here are two tips to help you learn what your clothes need in order to stay in their tip-top shape:

  1. Dots refer to temperature; the more dots you see, the higher the temperature can be. As you can see in the chart for dryer symbols below, no dots means that any temperature will be fine – what an accommodating piece of clothing you have! Just one huge black dot means that no heat should be used.
  2. Lines refer to strength; the more lines you see, the more delicate of a cycle you should use. This is applicable for both the washer and the dryer.

Note: Often people wonder whether the hand wash recommendation really means business. Do you have to wash those items in the sink with your own two hands or can you actually put them in the machine? Well, hand wash means wash as delicately and gently as possible, so if you want to, you can wash that item in the sink or if you have a newer machine, there may even be a selection on there for hand washing. It would be the slowest cycle possible, alternating between agitating the clothes and letting them rest every few minutes.

Here are those rules in a truly easy-to-understand format!

You should be well on your way towards taking great care of your clothes, but if you still have questions or prefer to leave these things up to professionals, come see us! We’re clothing care specialists in the GTA dedicated to giving your clothes the best treatment possible. We also do our best to make life as easy as possible for you, which is why we offer clothing pickup and delivery at no extra charge!

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