Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Understanding those Laundry Symbols on Garment Care Tags

Child superhero standing on a washing machine and dryer

"In the “good old days” laundry was done with soaps, scrub boards, wash tubs and lots of elbow grease.
Today’s advanced washing machines, hi-tech detergents and laundry additives make wash days easier and more successful, especially with the array of fabrics used in contemporary clothing. 

The laundry basics, however, haven’t changed and are more important than ever. Here is a quick refresher to help get sparkling- clean results, washload after washload." -- 
--Textile Industry Affairs

As we settle into fall, the kids new back to school clothes have been worn and washed several times now. We want them to last the entire school year and in some cases, into next year so they might find a second life as a hand me down. In order to extend the life of clothing items, you must pay attention to the manufacture's recommendations for laundering. Since 2000, the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) Care Labeling Rule requires manufacturers and importers to attach care instructions to garments.  Manufactures can find a useful guide on compliance with the rule from the Bureau of Consumer Protection.  As consumers, following the manufacture's recommendations will give you the best results to keep new items looking new longer. Be careful when treating stains and look for warnings on the label before using any products that contain bleach.

When you do read the labels, you'll also notice laundry symbols on the care tags that are supposed to be quick reference for us. But if you've never seen explanation for what the symbols mean, they are kinda difficult to understand. I found several sources that give a nice overview. My favorite was from the Textile Industry Affairs; another is the Wikipedia entry. It is smart idea to print one of these cheat sheets and hang it somewhere handy in the laundry room. A creative idea to keep it from getting caked in detergent is to frame it in a simple, inexpensive certificate frame (like this one at Walmart) and hang it on the wall.

As I was researching the laundry symbols for this post, I found a ton of examples on Pinterest of photos of decorated laundry rooms where they creatively used the laundry symbols as artwork. Take a look at my Laundry Board on Pinterest. You just might be motivated to spruce up your laundry room. But you aren't the crafty type to try to imitate these ideas, some of these examples are from products available to purchase on Etsy.

photo used with permission from Microsoft

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