Know Your Laundry Symbols

You finally saved up enough to buy a quality, forever closet essential and then the unthinkable happens. After its first pass through the washer and dryer, your brand new Raised By Wolves coach jacket has come out looking haggard and 2 sizes too small. Or maybe it was a Reigning Champ knit jersey, an October’s Very Own hoodie, or a Joe Fresh dress shirt.

It doesn’t matter the price or providence. It can be devastating when we accidentally shrink, discolour, or damage our favourite pieces by washing and drying them. That’s why the crew at Toronto Refrigeration want to help you become fluent with the laundry symbols printed on the tags of your clothes. Once you improve your laundry literacy, you can avoid any future mishaps with your wardrobe.

There are 5 basic symbols that denote the different steps in your washing and drying: a wash bin, square with a circle inside it, iron, circle, and triangle. Each of these shapes has additional symbols to imply different instructions. Let’s take a look to see what they could mean.

The Wash Bin: Basic Washing Instructions


This symbol lets you know what machine setting temperature to wash your clothing with. Lines underneath the basin are used to denote washing method, while dots inside the basin are used to represent the different temperatures.

One line means permanent press. Two lines mean gentle cycle and is used for delicate fibers that could be damaged by a vigorous washing.

A hand in the basin means — you guessed it — the garment should only be washed in the sink with your hands.

One dot means you can wash the piece of clothing in water 30 degree Celsius. For every additional dot, add 10 degrees. For example, four dots would mean 60 degrees and six dots would mean 90.

The Square With A Circle: Basic Drying Instructions


This symbol lets you know at what setting and temperature to dry your clothing. Like the wash bin, it’s altered by lines underneath it and dots at its centre to help illustrate these features.

One line suggests permanent press is the ideal setting, while two are reserved for delicate fabrics.

The dots found inside of the circle aren’t associated with particular temperatures, but they do indicate the heat setting you should use. One dot means low, two means medium, and three means high.

If you see an x crossing out this symbol, don’t place it in the dryer. It needs to be hung to dry or laid flat.


The Iron


It doesn’t take any stretch of the imagination to realize that this old-fashioned iron shape (just like the one we lost in Monopoly this year) is meant to denote what heat levels to use while ironing.

Similar to the drying’s system of three dots. One dot in the centre means the garment can be iron on a low heat setting. Two means medium, while three means the piece can be ironed on a high setting.

The Circle: Basic Dry Cleaning Instructions

If a garment has this symbol, it should never be put through your washer as it requires a special dry cleaning process. Many of us will look for this symbol before we buy our clothing just so we can avoid it.

If this circle has an x through it, it means you should never dry-clean this item. You may also see a P or F in the middle of the circle, which determines the settings your dry cleaners will use.

The Triangle: Basic Instructions When Using Bleach

This last symbol lets you know whether or not you can use bleach while cleaning your clothes. A triangle as the one shown in the picture gives you the go ahead to use bleach during a wash.

If you see diagonal lines in the middle of the triangle, it means you must use non-chlorine bleaches only.

Don’t use bleach of any kind when this symbol is filled in with an x crossed through it.

And there you have it, the most basic laundry symbols you’ll find on your clothing. When you can read these instructions, you can avoid doing permanent damage to your valuable clothing — or worse, your family’s! By following these guidelines, you’ll also use your washer and dryer at their most efficient settings, so you don’t end up putting unnecessary strain on these appliances. Our regular readers will know using the right setting can go a long way for your appliances’ health. This habit, along with washer and dryer repair, will ensure your appliances will work for as long as possible. Call us if you’re ready to schedule your annual checkup with one of our expert repair technicians. Together, we’ll make sure your appliances are up to cleaning your clothes. Just remember to read your labels carefully before you throw them in for a cycle.