laundry symbols

What should you pay attention to when purchasing clothing? What are common types of fabrics? (Part 2)

Do you know common laundry symbols and types of fabrics?


What should you pay attention to when buying clothes? You only look at the style and price when buying clothes and throwing them to washing machine after you get home without checking the laundry instruction? This article will teach you how to buy comfortable clothes, and tell you how to wash clothes to extend the life of clothes!


~ Part 2 ~


2. Check the laundry label to confirm the washing method

Wash label symbols are usually printed on clothing labels and provide advice on how to wash the clothing in the form of graphic symbols. Different countries or regions have different standards. Symbols indicate maximum clothing disposal limits, not recommended practices. For example, if a symbol indicates hot water washing and drying, cold water washing and drying on the clothesline are also acceptable. The following figure is a few common wash label symbols.


laundry symbols

<Common laundry symbols>



Common laundry symbols

First of all, we must understand some basic icons on the washing label:

  • Temperature indication: (‧), (‧‧), (‧‧‧) solid dots, divided into three levels, with 1, 2, and 3 dots representing the strength of the temperature; the more dots, the higher the temperature.
  • Bar mark: No horizontal bar, (-), (=) No horizontal bar indicates that the laundering can be done according to the standard process; if there are horizontal bars, they can be divided into two levels. Stronger or weaker. One horizontal bar: mild treatment with minimal agitation. Two horizontal bars: extremely gentle treatment with minimal agitation.
  • Prohibited sign: (╳) A cross, indicating that this action cannot be performed.
  • Numbers: 30, 50, 95 represent the upper limit of laundry temperature (maximum water temperature) in degrees Celsius (˚C).
  • Pattern of hands: The pattern of one hand indicates that hand washing is required, and when it is marked as hand washing, the maximum temperature (number) indicated on it should not exceed 40 degrees Celsius, and there should be no longer a horizontal bar.



Symbol of washing is a washtub with water ripples in it, and the following various icons are added beside the washtub to indicate the details that need to be paid attention to when washing.

Washing symbols


Professional cleaning

Sweaters or silk clothes are best sent to professional dry cleaners. The symbol is a hollow circle, indicating that the textile should be cleaned by professional cleaners, that is, professional dry cleaning or professional wet cleaning, together with other signs:


  • “W”: Indicates professional wet cleaning.
  • “P”: Indicates professional dry cleaning using tetrachloroethene and dry cleaning solvents listed in (F).
  • “F”: Indicates that it can be professionally dry cleaned, and use a dry cleaning solvent of hydrocarbons (distillation temperature between 150-210 degrees Celsius, flash point between 38-70 degrees Celsius).

Professional cleaning



“My clothes are stained with lipstick, can they be bleached?” At this point, it is necessary to see whether there is a symbol of bleaching on the washing label; bleaching is a hollow triangle mark, usually divided into 3 types: bleachable, non-bleachable, Conditionally bleachable. If there is a label not to bleach, don’t take the risk, so as not to let your beloved clothes be reimbursed!





When buying clothing, we’re often reminded: “This clothes can be washed by machine, but it cannot be dried otherwise it will shrink!” If you want to reconfirm whether it can be dried before laundering, you need to look at the symbols on the washing label. Let’s look down to see which drying method is suitable for your clothes~


  • Natural drying

The symbol is a hallow square with the following three line types:

(1) Straight line: Indicates that it needs to be hung; it is divided into 1 line and 2 (or 3) lines, which respectively indicate drying and drip drying.

(2) Horizontal line: It means that it needs to be spread evenly; it is divided into 1 line and 2 (or 3) lines, which represent drying and drip drying respectively.

(3) Oblique line: Indicates that it needs to be dried in shade.

Remarks: Drying means that it can be spin dried first after washing, and drip drying means that it can’t be spin dried or wrung out after washing.


Natural drying


  • Tumble Drying

A circle in a box represents the pattern of the dryer, indicating that it can be machine dried, and the solid dot means the maximum acceptable temperature. If you see a big prohibition sign (╳) on the tumble dry symbol, you must never throw your clothes into the dryer!

Remark: The normal drying temperature is 80°C (2 dots), and the lower temperature is 60°C (1 dot).


Tumble drying



If you see an icon of an iron (and not marked with an “X”), it means that your clothes are acceptable to be ironed. In addition, there is a temperature indicator in the middle (solid dots: ‧/‧‧/ ‧‧‧) indicates the maximum temperature used (110 degrees Celsius, 150 degrees Celsius, 200 degrees Celsius).




3. Identify the types of fabrics

Most clothes are either made of weaving or knitting. You can’t identify whether it’s woven or knitted from the care label, but it can be easily distinguished through the characteristics of the fabrics. Woven fabrics are relatively stiff and inelastic, and they’re mostly used to make shirts, suits, dresses, jeans, workwears, medical clothing, etc. Knitted fabrics have good elasticity and are suitable for large-scale stretching or activities. They’re mostly used to make sportswear, baby clothes, sweaters, swimwear, socks, bedspreads, etc.


The following is a brief introduction to woven or knitted fabrics.


  1) Woven fabric

Woven fabric is made according to the crisscross of the yarns. The longitudinal yarns on the fabric are called warp yarns, and the transverse yarns are called weft yarns. The warp and weft yarns in the fabric are interwoven into fabrics according to a certain rule (as shown in the figure below), which is called a woven fabric. Through the change of weaving method, or adding elastic yarn, the woven fabric can also achieve slight elasticity.

Woven fabrics

<Woven fabric/plain weave fabric>


In the early beginning, woven fabrics are produced using a shuttle loom, where the warp yarns are threaded through the healds (steel wires on the shuttle loom with small holes in the center). And then the weft yarn is driven into the cloth-fell where the upper and lower sets of warp yarns meet through a device to form woven fabrics with different textures. Shuttle loom weaving machine has been widely used since its invention. However, shuttle loom is big and heavy, and it needs to be projected back and forth during the production process, resulting in loud noise and slow speed during operation. Also, the output of shuttle loom machine is low and it’s difficult to handle fabrics with complex textures. Therefore, it’s been completely replaced by shuttleless loom machine nowadays.


Shuttleless loom machine improves the shortcomings of the traditional shuttle loom as a whole. The biggest difference is the change in the weft insertion method: instead of using the shuttle for weft insertion, other weft insertion devices (such as Projectile) are used. In addition to the weft insertion method, the design and structure of shuttleless loom machines also have very significant improvements, including high-speed production and noise reduction, which are two important features that shuttle loom machines cannot achieve. Since shuttleless loom machines were invented, the textile industry has undergone tremendous changes. In recent years, most of the shuttle looms have been replaced, which has also reduced the number of labor required and the production costs.


In the textile and apparel industry, woven fabrics are widely used. The interlaced fabric structure of warp and weft makes it stable and strong. The fabrics can be strengthened through different weaving methods (2/1 twill, 3/1 twill, satin, etc.). Also, the surface of woven fabric is flat and easy to dye, so woven fabric is suitable for denim clothing and shirts. But the disadvantage is that the elasticity of the fabric is not good, which may cause weft skewing after the fabric is stretched. Skewing is a common fabric defect in woven fabrications which will affect the cutting, sewing and other processes, and also affect the quality of the fabric. Weaving together with spandex yarn can improve the elasticity of fabrics.


   2) Knitted fabric

Knitted fabric is formed by the action of knitting needles up and down to form a loop of yarn, and the loops are tightly connected one by one to become a knitted fabric. Knitted fabric is stretchable, and the pattern of fabrics can change greatly. By adding yarns of different colors, special patterns can be created (such as the patterns on swimsuits and socks). The constructure of the knitted fabric is shown in the figure below.


Knitted fabrics <Knitted fabric>


The knitting machine has developed from the hand-operated type at the beginning to the current high-speed electric machine. The principle of knitting machine is actually the same as that of knitting scarf or sweater by hands. The needle of knitting machine is operated regularly and the looping steps such as hooking and locking are completed by the machine. Knitting machines includes longitudinal traction telescopic warp knitting machines, and transverse traction telescopic flat knitting (weft Knitting) machines and circular knitting machines. Nowadays, knitting factories use more and more advanced skills to control various knitting patterns, such as Plain Stich, Purl Stich, Tuck Stich, Miss Stich, etc. The device expands the types of knitted fabrics and greatly improves the production efficiency.


Compared with woven fabric, knitted fabric has the advantages of good elasticity and good stretchability. Its fabric structure makes it soft and not easy to wrinkle. It is often used in casual home clothing and T-shirts. The disadvantages of knitted fabrics are that it is not stiff and easy to deform. Also, because the structure is relatively loose and the distance between yarns is greater, knitted fabrics tend to pill more than woven fabrics after laundering by machine. It’s recommended to use special laundry detergent to prevent knitted fabrics from pilling.


~The end~



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