At Homefresh, our part time maids and us make it our mission to address your cleaning needs to the best of our abilities. Sometimes, that means helping out with washing, drying and ironing your laundry. Now, laundry tags can be somewhat of an arcane art to the uninitiated, and on occasion we’ve had to explain to clients and even our new hires that they’ve been washing clothes wrong their entire life. After so many encounters, we figured that we are now pretty good at quickly explaining what laundry tags mean, and so we want to share that with you so you get it once and for all. And oh, here is a quick shout out to all of our clients who’ve asked us this question before, we dedicate this article to you.


1. Know the 5 Basic Laundry Tag Symbols


laundry tags

The way laundry tags are created is kind of like how pizza is made. They begin with a base, and then different things are added on top of that base to give different outcomes. Adding pineapple and ham to a pizza base gives you Hawaiian; adding two dots to an iron symbol means iron on medium heat. There are 5 main base symbols that are used in laundry tags. They basically cover 99% of all the things you could possibly do to your clothes (wash, dry, bleach, iron, dryclean). Except for maybe bleach and dryclean, the symbols are pretty self explanatory. Only 5 basic symbols to remember, not too bad!

2. More dots mean more heat, more bars mean more delicate, and cross means NO!


common washing symbols

The 3 most commonly used symbols on laundry tags are the dot, the bar and the cross, and they mean very simple things! More dots translate to more heat, more bars translate to increased need for delicate treatment and naturally a cross means no! The image above shows how they work for drying, but you can also apply these symbols to washing and ironing.

If you were wondering what permanent press means, it refers to wrinkle-free or wrinkle-less fabric that is more delicate than your run of the mill jeans and t-shirt. It would be a good idea to wash your nice polo or cotton blouse on permanent press to prolong its lifespan. For more information on permanent press, check out this article.


3. A few more common miscellaneous symbols


Drying Symbols

Unfortunately, drying laundry tag symbols are a different animal and don’t follow the pattern laid out in steps one and two. Nonetheless, they look pretty self explanatory once you’ve seen them once. Look above for the full set!

non chlorine bleach symbol

The bleach symbol also has a variation where there are stripes through the symbol like. That just means that you should use color bleach. You’ll probably see them a lot on any article of clothing that has been dyed.

Annnd that is it! That covers 95% of all laundry tags out there in 3 easy steps. There are a few more dry cleaning related tags we didn’t cover here because most of us don’t do dry cleaning ourselves anyway. Its probably best to just let the professionals handle it for that case.

Can you recognize these symbols?



Answer: Wash with medium heat on the delicate cycle


iron no steam symbol

Answer: Iron without steam. This one is a little tricky, notice how the cross is on only the steam and not the entire iron.


dry flat symbol

Answer: Bingo! That is the dry flat symbol!


And… We end with a pretty chart you can tape right above your laundry area! Never be confused by laundry tags ever again!


laundry tags chart

Courtesy of PrimerMagazine. This is an amazing chart they made. Every time one of our part time maids need help with laundry tags, this is the first thing we send them!