Everyone has seen them, the little diagrams on linen and clothes labels that tell you how to care for the fabric. People look at them and promptly forget them because understanding what they mean is beyond most of us.
Here are a few tips to think about before tossing your beautiful Schweitzer linens in the wash with the great t-shirt you bought from that designer at the street fair - you know, the RED one!
The symbols are designed around five groups:
Dots indicate heat, the more dots the hotter.
Bars under the icon indicates gentle, the more bars, the more gentle treatment needed.
Group 1) Professional Cleaning: Sometimes just labeled “Dry Clean” but there is a whole set of icons for Professional WET washing, I’ve only included the main one here. There are a few other Dry Cleaning icons in addition, most specifying technical requirements of solvents and stress levels of textiles. Rule of thumb - if the label has a circle, take it to the professionals. Always make sure your professional checks the label when you hand over the cleaning!
Group 2) Washing: Symbols can contain various maximum temperatures indicated and they are always specified in Centigrade, so for the US take that into account and convert to Fahrenheit. Here is a list of the most commonly used indicators:
30˚C = 85˚ F - Cool;
40˚C = 105˚F - Warm;
50˚C = 120˚F - Hot;
60˚C = 140˚F - Hot;
70˚C = 160˚F - Hot;
95˚C = 200˚F - Boiling (almost);
It is assumed that most symbols are for Machine washing, so be sure to check the controls on your washing machine and familiarize yourself with the manual - it really does make a difference!
Group 3) Bleach: We do not advocate using bleach as it can weaken and discolor fabrics. If you must use bleach use a chlorine-free version.
Group 4) Drying: As in Washing, this mostly refers to Machine drying, but that can be too aggressive for some fabrics. Ideally remove linens from the dryer whilst still slightly damp.
Group 5) Ironing: Man-made articles should always be ironed with a cool setting. High quality cotton and linen, like Schweitzer’s, should be ironed damp, never dry, use a spray bottle if needed. Always iron on the reverse side, usually with a “hot” or “cotton” setting.
I hope you find this information useful and if you want to print a complete chart to pin up in your wash room click the thumbnail below to open or download the full Schweitzer Linen laundry Label Chart PDF,
It is formatted to fit on a standard 8 1/2” x 11” sheet of paper.
See also: Care & Washing Instructions