A Guide to Laundry Symbols

Recognize these? Over the years, you’ve probably seen some of these laundry symbols on your clothes and garments, but still don’t know what they all mean. Each symbol tells you important information about your fabric that will help maintain its integrity and beauty to keep it lasting and looking good longer. These industry standard symbols provide specifications on how to properly wash, dry, clean and iron clothes and textiles.

Decode your clothes with our comprehensive guide below and click here to print a hangable guide on your laundry room wall for easy reference!

Laundry Symbols


Do Not Dry Clean

The Do Not Dry Clean Symbol is a circle crossed out with an “x” mark. These items can be easily damaged by solvents used in dry cleaning processes.

Laundry Symbol Do Not Dry Clean

Dry Clean

The Dry Clean Symbol is a circle and indicates a garment is best cleaned by a professional dry cleaner. Avoid washing anything marked with this symbol in your washing machine as it can damage or destroy certain fabrics. Instead, take it to a professional dry cleaners and enjoy your item for years to come.

Laundry Symbols Dry Clean

Any Solvent and Any Solvent Except

The Dry Clean Symbol shown with a capital letter “A” means your dry cleaner can use any solvent to clean the material. A letter “P” means they can use any solvent except anything specifically listed.

Laundry Symbols Dry Clean Any Solvent

Petroleum Solvent

If instead of a “P” you see the letter “F” inside the standard Dry Clean Symbol this means you professional dry cleaner will be using petroleum based solvents and cannot be machine dry cleaned. This is usually needed for fine, delicate fabrics that can be damaged by solvents used in standard dry cleaning.

Laundry Symbols Petroleum Solvent


Machine Wash

The Machine Wash Symbol appears as a bucket filled with water. This symbol will also tell you recommended water temperature with a series of dots in the middle, and what cycle type to set your washing machine to with lines added underneath the bucket.

Laundry Symbols Machine Wash


Cool/Cold= One Dot (30ºC, 86ºF)

Warm = Two Dots (40ºC, 104ºF)

Hot= Three Dots (50ºC, 122ºF)


Normal = Standard Machine Wash Symbol

The Normal Cycle is intended to remove stains and dirt from common durable fabrics using fast agitation and a fast spin cycle.

Laundry Symbols Machine Wash

Permanent Press = One Line

The Permanent Press Cycle is intended to remove wrinkles by using warm water to relax creases and slowly spinning to prevent new ones.

Delicate/Gentle = Two Lines

The Delicate or Gentle Cycle is intended to gently wash delicate items and protect them from unnecessary damage by using slower agitation and rinse modes.

Hand Wash

The Hand Wash Symbol depicts the standard Wash Symbol with a hand above. For ‘Hand Wash’ clothing, do not use the washing machine. Instead, wash garments in a sink or small tub, using your hands to wash and rinse the fabric. Opt for any GO by greenshield organic™ Laundry Detergent variety to care for delicate hand wash items.

Our USDA Certified Organic low-sudsing formula rinses away clean and is safe and gentle on even the most sensitive hands. See our back label for instructions on how much detergent to use when hand washing, and check out our step-by-step guide to lean How To Hand Wash Your Laundry like a pro.

Do Not Wash

The Never Wash Symbol shows the standard Wash Symbol crossed out with an “x” mark. Items with this symbol should never be washed. To clean, you may be able to spot treat trouble areas. Many times an item with this symbol will instead show a Dry Clean Symbol recommended for cleaning the material.


Do Not Bleach

The Do Not Bleach Symbol appears as a solid triangle crossed out with an “x” mark. This indicates you should never attempt to use any type of bleach on that item as it can damage or destroy the fabric.


The Bleach Symbol appears as a triangle. This means that chlorine based bleaching is allowed, but only if cold and part of a dilute solution. This bleach symbol is usually found on white clothes with a hard wearing fabric. You may notice an indicator below the triangle that states “as needed” or “bleach when needed”, which indicates you should bleach sparingly only on an as-need basis to prevent damage.

Non-Chlorine Bleach

The Non-Chlorine Bleach Symbol appears as a triangle  with two diagonal lines. Check the ingredients on your bleach to see if it contains Chlorine before use. Non-chlorine bleach does not contain chlorine, an oxidizing agent. Instead, it usually contains an alternative oxidizing agent, like hydrogen peroxide.


Tumble Dry

The Tumble Dry Symbol is a square with a circle in the middle of it. As with the washing symbols, the number of dots inside the circle will tell you the appropriate heat setting to use, and lines beneath it will indicate any specific cycle settings.


Any Heat = Standard Tumble Dry Symbol

No Heat = Solid Circle

Low Heat = One Dot

Medium Heat = Two Dots

High Heat = Three Dots


Normal Cycle = No Lines

Permanent Press = One Line

Delicate Setting = Two Lines

Do Not Tumble Dry

The Do Not Tumble Dry Symbol is the standard Tumble Dryer Symbol crossed out with an “x” mark. Do not dry any items marked with this symbol in your dryer. Instead, look for drip dry or line dry symbols. If no recommendations appear use your best judgement.

Line Dry

The Line Dry Symbol is a square with a curved line inside to represent a clothes line. Hang clothes outdoors from a clothes line to dry, temperature allowing.

Drip Dry

The Drip Dry Symbol is a square with three vertical lines in the middle. Hang clothes from a drying rack in a warm space with good air circulation.

Dry Flat

The Dry Flat Symbol is a square with two diagonal lines in the upper left hand corner. Reshape your garment and place flat to dry on a clean white towel for best results.

Dry in Shade or Line Dry In Shade

The Dry in Shade Symbol is a square with one horizontal line in the middle. The Line Dry In Shade Symbol will also have a curved line seen in the standard Line Dry Symbol. These garments can be damaged by prolonged direct sun exposure and should be dried in a warm shady location.

Do Not Wring or Wring

The Wring Symbol looks like a piece of twisted fabric and the Do Not Wring Symbol shows it crossed out with an “x” mark. Wringing fabrics out when wet can cause damage to fibers, stitching and fine details in certain fabrics. Either wring excess moisture away if acceptable, or press excess moisture out with a clean dry white towel if not.



The Iron Symbol resembles an old fashioned iron. Just like dry and wash symbols the Iron Symbol can have a dot or series of dots to reference the temperature the garment can stand. 

One Dot = Low Heat
Two Dots = Medium Heat
Three Dots = High Heat

Do Not Steam

The Do Not Steam Symbol looks like the standard Iron Symbol with two lines beneath indicating steam crossed out by an “x” mark. Steam will likely damage this fabric but regular ironing may be acceptable under recommended heat conditions.

Do Not Iron

The Do Not Iron Symbol looks like the standard Iron Symbol crossed out by an “x” mark. Never attempt ironing any fabric that shows this symbol as it may melt, scorch or catch on fire.

Disclaimer: This blog is for entertainment and informational purposes only.  It should not be seen as medical or any other advice. Our writers are not medical experts so individual precautions should be considered.