What they don’t tell you when you become an adult is there is a whole world of house care that you have to learn on the go. No one prepares you for the sheer amount of work it takes to maintain a clean home. If you’re like us, you have turned to the internet to help you through the terrifying phase of life called adulthood.

Of the many (many) aspects of housework that exists, today we want to shed a light on clothing care, specifically care symbols. So read carefully because this information could be your clothes’ saving grace.


Washing Symbols:



If it isn’t obvious already, washing symbols tell you if your garment can be put through your washing machine or if it needs a more gentle hand wash treatment.

Care label bucket with water

Washing symbols will be shown as a bucket filled with water. The bucket usually has small dots or numbers inside, this indicates the maximum temperature that the garment should be washed at.


30 degrees water symbol     40 degrees water symbol    60 degrees water symbol

The numbers will usually be 30 °C, 40 °C or 60 °C but can range up to 95°C. Remember this is the maximum temperature, we recommend always using a cooler cycle if possible as this is less damaging to fibres.


1 one dot water symbol wash care label   2 two dot water symbol wash care label   3 three dot water symbol wash care label   4 four dot water symbol wash care label   5 Five dot water wash care label symbol   6 six dot wash care label symbol

In the case there are dots instead of numbers:

  • One dot =      30 °C   (cold wash)
  • Two dots =     40 °C   (warm wash)
  • Three dots =   50 °C  (very warm wash)
  • Four dots =     60 °C  (hot wash)
  • Five dots =      70 °C  (very hot wash)
  • Six dots =        95 °C  (hell wash)


Wash care label bucket with no lines underneath it   Synthetics one line under bucket wash care label symbol   Fragile or gentle wool and silk two lines under bucket wash care label symbol

Then we have lines underneath the bucket (Can this get more complicated!?) The number of lines refer to the type of spin cycle recommended for the garment. This is normally based on the type of fabric.

  • No lines under the bucket mean that the item can be washed and spun as normal, the garment can deal with high agitation in a spin cycle.
  • One line under the bucket means that the item can be washed in the "permanent press" cycle (If your washing machine has this). This cycle usually has a cold rinse before a lower speed spin cycle for fabrics that can deal with a medium agitation (usually synthetics cycle). This is ideally for garments which are permanently shaped, AKA wrinkle resistant
  • Two lines under the bucket means that the garment is fragile and requires a very gentle spin. Use a reduced spin cycle with low/gentle agitation. This is normally the silk or wool cycle.

As a rule of thumb, the more lines under the symbol, the more gentle the wash and spin cycle should be.

Remember when we said "Can this get more complicated!?" well... it can. These lines can ALSO appear under the tumble dryer symbol (More on that symbol later). In this case, the same rules apply as above.


Safe to wring bow wash care label symbol   Do not wring x over bow shape wash care label symbol

Wringing out your clothes may not seem like a big deal but surprisingly it could cause irrevocable damage to delicate fibres and could leave your garment stretched or misshapen depending on the fabric. The wring symbol looks similar to a bow or a twisted piece of fabric. Make sure not to wring your garment if the symbol has an x over it.


Drying Symbols:



Now you might be thinking that drying your clothes is a pretty simple and straight forward process. However, there are certain garments that require different drying techniques as well as garments that can and cannot be tumble-dried. Normally we wouldn’t suggest tumble drying your garments as it tends to damage the fibres, but for the purposes of this article it is necessary to include tumble drying.



When it comes to drying symbols, you will likely be dealing with a square shape. The most common one you’ll see is a square with a circle in the middle. This means your garment can be tumble dried. The symbol with an x in the middle of the circle indicates your garment cannot be tumble-dried.




The dots inside of the circle indicate the temperature you should dry on. One dot means the garment can be dried on a low heat and two dots mean it can be dried on a medium to high heat.

Let’s move on from tumble drying and talk about other methods.




The square symbol with the three vertical lines in the middle means you should drip-dry your garment. Always remember that when you are drying any garment that is knitted or woolen, you MUST flat dry it  (i.e., laying the garment on a flat surface with a towel underneath to air dry). Otherwise your cute cropped knitted sweater will turn into a knitted dress. If your garment has the square symbol with the vertical line across, you should flat dry it. Lastly, the square symbol with a vertical crescent at the top means your garment should be hung to dry. 


Ironing and Bleaching Symbols:



There are two people in this world, those who believe in ironing their clothes and those who think it’s an outright scam. For those who believe in their trusty iron, it is important to note your garment labels to avoid starting any fires. It isn’t very hard to spot an ironing symbol as it looks like…well like an iron. 




Here we see the small dots in the middle of the symbol indicating at which heat you should set your iron to. Here is a good rule to stick to:

  • One dot/cool, low heat = for delicate items like wool or silk
  • Two dots/medium heat = for synthetic materials
  • Three dots/hot heat = for linen or cotton

Bleaching Symbols:

We have not met a single person who has had a good experience with bleach. This is because it holds all the power to completely destroy every single item of clothing you own. Bleach should be feared and respected in our opinion. If you are considering using bleach to make your well-loved white garment sparkle again, please pay very close attention to the label to see if it can handle the immense power of bleaching agents. Or don’t, we can’t tell you what to do.




A hollow triangle indicates your garments handle bleach whereas diagonal lines inside the triangle means you may ONLY use non-chlorine bleach.

Now, let’s have a quick chemistry lesson. Most common bleaches contain chlorine which is typical of any chemical mixture that removes colour, cleans or disinfects fabrics (Mainly used on white fabrics). Not to state the obvious, but non-chlorinated bleach doesn’t contain chlorine (i.e., any oxidizing agents). Rather, it comprises of a different oxidizing agent like hydrogen peroxide. Non-chlorine bleach won't remove colour like chlorine bleach does. Instead, it brightens colours.



Overall, the most important bleach symbol has to be the triangle that has a cross through it. This means you should not use bleach on your garment under any circumstances. Not even if doing so will save humanity from extinction.

Differently’s Symbols:



If you have bought one of our garments you will see we have a set of symbols of our own. Since our garments are hand-made and made of relatively delicate fabrics, we suggest you machine-wash on a low heat, DO NOT tumble dry, and iron on a low heat too. However, if you are unsure rather just stick to hand-washing your Differently garment just to stay on the safe side.

 Now that we have sufficiently educated you in the wonderful world of clothing labels and garment care, you can officially say you are adulting and actually mean it. Congratulations and happy cleaning!