A Beginner’s Guide to the Different Kinds of Laundry Care Symbols

Curtain cleaning is be tedious and time-consuming, which is why most people in Singapore prefer to leave their curtains to various curtain cleaning services. However, just like all kinds of clothes, different curtains are made of different textiles and fabrics, both natural and synthetic that need different ways and methods of cleaning them.

Specific instructions on how to clean these fabrics are often included as symbols in the tags that are sewn into fabrics or included in the label. These labels have had different variations over the years but have developed into an international standard to make it easier for textile companies and households all over the world.

GINETEX is an international textile labeling association based in Europe that was formed to define one standard of labeling textiles to make cleaning them much easier, and curtain cleaning services in Singapore look at these tags to know how to take care of these fabrics.

However, these symbols are not just for curtain cleaning services like curtain repair in Singapore to look at, but for everyone as well. Below is a complete list of the different symbols that you may find in the label to know what kind of curtain cleaning method works best for your curtains.

Washing
The symbol indicating that the fabric should be washed is a stylized washtub with water, with the number in the water indicating its maximum wash temperature in degrees Celsius.

Having one bar underneath the symbol indicates gentle washing in the washing machine, while a hand in the washtub indicates that the fabric should be hand washed. If the washtub symbol is crossed out, that means that the fabric could not be washed normally.

However, if there is a dot inside the washtub symbol, it means that your curtain is made of a permanent press fabric. Permanent press fabrics are fabrics that have been treated with special chemicals to make sure that they resist wrinkling and keep their original shape.

There are slight variations on the washtub symbol in different countries. For example, in the US, the maximum temperature is indicated by dots, with one dot meaning thirty degrees Celsius, two dots meaning forty, three fifty, and four dots indicating sixty degrees.

Bleaching
Almost all fabrics that need to be bleached are white, as bleach can strip the dye off of colored fabrics, and is indicated in the tag or label as a triangle. An empty one indicates that the fabric can be treated with chlorine or non-chlorine bleach.

(A variation meaning the same thing has the letters “CL”, for chlorine, inside the triangle, although this is now obsolete.)

If the triangle has two lines inside it, it means that the fabric should be treated with non-chlorine or color-safe bleach. A crossed-out triangle, on the other hand, means that bleach should not be used on the fabric as its dye is sensitive to the cleaning agent.

Drying
Clothes dryers are indicated as a circle inside a square. If there is a dot inside the circle, that indicates drying at a low temperature. Two dots would indicate tumble drying under a normal temperature, and the crossed-out clothes dryer symbol means that the fabric is not suited for machine drying.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that not all tags include this laundry care symbol. For fabrics imported from countries such as the US and Japan that need natural drying, the symbol for it is a square.

A curved line directly connected under the top side of the square indicates that the fabric should be dried on the clothesline. For dry flat, the symbol is a straight horizontal line in the middle of the square, while drip dry has two or three vertical lines parallel to each other in the middle of the square.

Ironing
The iron symbol is straightforward. One dot inside the iron indicates that the fabric should be ironed at a low temperature. Two dots indicate medium heat and the third one high heat. A crossed-out iron symbol means that the fabric should not be ironed.

Professional Cleaning
For special curtains that need curtain dry cleaning, you should especially watch out for the circle on the label. The letters inside the circle indicate the kind of cleaning solvent that needs to be used – “P” for perchloroethylene, or PCE, and “F” for hydrocarbon solvent.

The “W” inside the circle indicates wet cleaning, a process similar to dry cleaning except that it avoids chemical solvents. Bars under the circle indicate gentle cleaning, and a crossed-out circle indicate that the fabric should not be dry or wet cleaned.

These labels on your curtains give you instructions and guidelines on how to keep them in good condition. Though there may be variations depending on where the curtain was made or bought, the symbols remain more or less the same to avoid confusion and make cleaning and maintaining easier.

If there are no symbols on the tags or label, or if they don’t come provided with your curtains, sort them by their fiber content before taking them to the curtain cleaning service. This is especially true for curtain dry cleaning.

If you happen to be sorting colored curtains, arrange them both by fiber content as well as color. Synthetic fiber curtains such as polyester, for example, should not go together with linen. The best way to know if you can’t figure it out yourself is to simply take your curtains to a professional cleaning service in Singapore.

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