Confused by the care labels on your clothes, bedding and upholstery? Here's a quick guide to decoding the symbols to ensure your fabrics get the best care. We went through the symbols for washing, bleaching, and drying in Part 1.

The iron symbol indicates that the piece can be ironed regularly (steam or dry), and the temperature that must be used. One dot means "cool" or "low heat"; two dots point to "warm" or "medium heat", and three dots means "hot" or "high heat". Some labels also indicate the maximum temperature, in degree Celcius, that should be used.

These bars under the wash and tumble-dry symbols are indicative of cycle types. A single line means a permanent press cycle, and two lines mean a delicate or gentle cycle. If there is no line, a normal cycle can be used.


(images/symbols by: Maryfons)

The X code shows you what not to do. A do-not-wash symbol is your cue to take the item to the dry-cleaners, while an X over the dry-clean symbol means the piece is washing machine safe. 

Upholstered furniture pieces typically have a care tag that indicates the safest cleaning methods for the fabric. "W" uses only water and water-based detergents (dilute the solution, apply in a circular motion, and rinse water thoroughly), "S" requires solvent-based products so it's best to leave the job to professionals, and "X" means the upholstery cannot withstand any sort of cleaning other than vacuuming and light brushing.