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getting to know care labels

Getting to Know Care Labels

Contents

Introduction
Lesser Known Facts About Care Labels
Care Labelling Systems
The International Care Labelling System
The Japanese Care Labelling System
The Canadian Care Labelling System
The European Care Labelling System
The American Care Labelling System
Symbols used in the American Care Labelling System (ASTM Symbols)
Fabric Performance Codes
Premiere Vision Fabric Performance Codes

Contact us about Care Labels

Jeans label

Introduction

Care instructions are small solutions to big problems. Care labels provide guidelines to consumers about apparel care, and the best cleaning procedures to be used for a particular combination of fabric, thread decoration and construction techniques. Following the instructions on the care labels is an assurance that the appearance and fit of the garment will be maintained after repeated cleaning treatments.

From a manufacturer’s point of view, damage to garments from incorrect cleaning methods can lead to complaints; costly customer returns and a bad image. Whereas accurate and clearly written care labels can prevent customer dissatisfaction. From a consumer’s point of view, accurate and clearly written care instructions serve as a cleaning guide and influence purchase. Garments with ease of care are often preferred over garments with complicated or difficult to understand care procedures.

Many different care labelling systems have evolved over the world. Some have been established as a governmental regulation, while others are international standards. Not all of them however, are mandatory.

Drying laundry

This Bulletin Post is a comprehensive guide to the different care labelling systems, their usage and the newly developed Fabric Performance Codes.

Lesser Known Facts About Care Labels

  • The country where the garment is sewn is the country of origin listed on the care label
  • Care labels must be permanently attached so that they are easily accessible to the consumer at the point of purchase. Generally, it is placed on the side or bottom
  • The manufacturer or importer who directs production is responsible for the accuracy of care instructions
  • A product may be imported without a care label, but it must be attached before the product is sold

Care Labelling Systems

There are five care labelling systems which are generally used on care labels. These systems are:

  • The International Care Labelling System
  • The Japanese Care Labelling System
  • The Canadian Care Labelling System
  • The European Care Labelling System
  • The American Care Labelling System

The International Care Labelling System

The International Association for Textile CareLabelling (GINETEX) is the world body which governs care labels since 1975.

Member nations of GINETEX are Belgium, France, Germany, England, Netherlands, Israel, Austria, Switzerland, and Spain.

Care label

Its objectives are to:

  • Inform consumers on the correct care labelling of textiles through a system of uniform and simple care labelling symbols, independent of language
  • Achieve and promote voluntary care labelling on an international basis through the uniform symbols of GINETEX, thus avoiding the use of different systems

The GINETEX care labelling system is based on the following principles:

  • The care symbols provide information on the maximum permitted type of treatment
  • The care symbols must always be used in full and in the prescribed sequence
  • The care labelling must be clear, readily understandable, easy to use and not dependent on any particular language
  • The care symbols must not leave room for possible misinterpretation by the consumer
  • Uniform positioning of labels and harmonised use of the care symbols
  • The uniform care labelling system using symbols must take account of consumer habits without using complex technical data
  • The appliances used for textile care purposes must ensure the best possible implementation of the recommended care treatment
  • Adaptations which are necessary to keep up with ongoing technical and economic developments must as far as possible be made without the use of new symbols and additions in the framework of the existing system

Five basic symbols are used in the International care labelling system in this order:

Care label symbols

Note: The symbols for the International Care Labelling System are the same as those listed in the European Care Labelling System.

The Japanese Care Labelling System

The Japanese system, like other care labelling systems must have symbols placed in a specified order. Labels should be designed based on the following convention:

  • Symbols should be arranged from left to right according to the following sequence: 1) Washing, 2) Bleaching, 3) Ironing, 4) Dry-Cleaning, 5) Wringing & 6) Drying
  • For coloured products which are not usually bleached, the symbol for possibility of chlorine bleached may be omitted
  • For products which are not usually ironed, the symbols for ironing may be omitted. (Except 'cannot be ironed')
  • For products which can be washed with water, the symbols for dry-cleaning may be omitted. (Except ‘cannot be dry-cleaned’)
  • The symbols should be either in black or dark blue whereas the prohibition symbols are in red and on a white background
Japanese Care Labelling - Washing (with water)
Washing (with water)
Maximum washing temperature Machine washable in maximum water temperature of 95°C Japanese care label 40 Machine washable at slow water current or gentle hand wash in maximum water temperature of 40°C
Japanese care label 60 Machine washable in maximum water temperature of 60°C Japanese care label 30 Machine washable at slow water current or gentle hand wash in maximum water temperature of 30°C
Japanese care label 40 Machine washable in maximum water temperature of 40°C Japanese care label for hand washing Should be washed gently by hand (not machine washable)
Cannot be washed with water
Japanese Care Labelling - Bleaching
Bleaching
Japanese care label bleaching allowed Chlorine-based bleaching allowed Japanese care label bleach not allowed Do not use chlorine-based bleach
Japanese Care Labelling - Ironing
Ironing
Japanese care label ironing Should be ironed at a temperature between 180°C - 210°C Japanese care label non iron Cannot be ironed
Japanese care label ironing temperature Should be ironed at a temperature between 140°C - 160°C Japanese care label iron with cloth May be ironed at 180°C - 210°C if a cloth is placed between iron and garment
Japanese care label ironing Should be ironed at a temperature between 80°C - 120°C    
Japanese Care Labelling - Dry Cleaning
Dry Cleaning
Japanese care label dry cleaning Can be dry cleaned
Use solvent of perchloroethylene or of petroleum based solvent
Japanese care label cannot dry clean Cannot be dry cleaned
Japanese care label dry cleaning Can be dry cleaned
Use only a petroleum based solvent
   
Japanese Care Labelling - Wringing
Wringing
Japanese care label wringing Wring gently by hand or for a short time by centrifugal hydroextractor Japanese care label cannot wring Cannot be wrung
Japanese Care Labelling - Drying
Drying
Japanese care label hang dry Hang dry Japanese care label dry flat Lay flat to dry
Japanese care label hang dry in shade Hang dry in shade Japanese care label dry flat in shade Lay flat to dry in shade

Note:

Japanese care labels

The Canadian Care Labelling System

Until July 1973 care labelling was not a legal requirement in Canada. After this date a new care labelling system was introduced. The new Canadian care symbol system used green (go ahead), amber (caution), and red (don’t try) with five symbols which were wash tub, bleach triangle, square dryer, iron, and dry cleaning circle. In 2003 the Canadian system was updated to harmonise with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and (ISO) standards, and the colour code was discontinued.

Laundrette washing machines

The European Care Labelling System

Individual committees of the European Union are reviewing existing care label standards by collaborating with other international bodies so that they can create a unified system under the ISO scheme.

The symbols used in Europe are trademarked by GENETEX and a trademark fee needs to be paid to GENETEX, the trademark holder, if the garments are to be sold in a GENETEX country.

 

A correct care label for European countries is required to consist of at least four and sometimes five symbols in the following sequence: 1) Washing, 2) Bleaching, 3) Ironing, 4) Dry-Cleaning & 5) Drying.

European Care Labelling - Washing Process
Washing Process
European care label normal spin Maximum temperature 95°C
Mechanical action normal
Rinsing normal
Spinning normal
European care label normal spin Maximum temperature 40°C
Mechanical action normal
Rinsing normal
Spinning normal
European care label reduced spin Maximum temperature 95°C
Mechanical action reduced
Rinsing at gradually decreasing temperature (cool down)
Spinning reduced
European care label reduced spin Maximum temperature 40°C
Mechanical action reduced
Rinsing at gradually decreasing temperature (cool down)
Spinning reduced
European care label normal spin Maximum temperature 70°C
Mechanical action normal
Rinsing normal
Spinning normal
European care label washing process Maximum temperature 40°C
Mechanical action much reduced
Rinsing normal
Spinning normal
Do not wring by hand
European care label normal spin Maximum temperature 60°C
Mechanical action normal
Rinsing normal
Spinning normal
European care label washing process Maximum temperature 30°C
Mechanical action much reduced
Rinsing normal
Spinning reduced
European care label reduced spin Maximum temperature 60°C
Mechanical action reduced
Rinsing at gradually decreasing temperature (cool down)
Spinning reduced
European care label hand wash only Hand wash only
Do not machine wash
Maximum temperature 40°C
Handle with care
European care label reduced spin Maximum temperature 50°C
Mechanical action reduced
Rinsing at gradually decreasing temperature (cool down)
Spinning reduced
European care label do not wash Do not wash
Be cautious when treating in wet stage
European Care Labelling - Bleaching Process
Bleaching Process
European care label bleaching process Chlorine-based bleaching allowed.
Only cold and dilute solution.
European care label no chlorine bleach Do not use chlorine-based bleach
European Care Labelling - Ironing Process
Ironing Process
European care label iron max temp 200 Iron at a maximum sole-plate temperature of 200°C European care label steam iron risky Iron at a maximum sole-plate temperature of 110°C
Steam-ironing may be risky
European care label iron max temp 150 Iron at a maximum sole-plate temperature of 150°C European care label no iron Do not iron
Steaming and steam treatments are not allowed
European Care Labelling - Dry Cleaning Process
Dry Cleaning Process
European care label dry cleaning solvents Dry-cleaning in all solvents normally used for dry-cleaning - this includes all solvents listed for the symbol P, plus trichloroethylene and 1,1, 1-trichloroethane European care label dry cleaning normal no restrictions Dry-cleaning in trifluorotrichloroethane, white spirit (distillation temperature between 150°C and 210°C, flash point 38°C to 60°C)
Normal cleansing procedures without restrictions.
European care label dry cleaning normal no restrictions Dry-cleaning in tetrachloroethylene, monofluorotrichloro methane and all solvents listed for the symbol F
Normal cleansing procedures without restrictions
European care label dry cleaning solvent limit Dry-cleaning in the solvents listed in the previous paragraph. Strict limitations on the addition of water and / or mechanical action and / or temperature during cleaning and / or drying
No self-service cleaning allowed
European care label dry cleaning no self service cleaning Dry-cleaning in the solvents listed in the previous paragraph. Strict limitations on the addition of water and / or mechanical action and / or temperature during cleaning and / or drying
No self-service cleaning allowed
European care label do not dry clean Do not dry-clean
No stain removal with solvents
European Care Labelling - Drying Process
Drying Process
European care label tumble dry Tumble dry possible
Normal drying cycle
European care label do not tumble dry Do not tumble dry
European care label dry at lower temperature Tumble dry possible
Drying at lower temperature setting
   

The American Care Labelling System

According to the Federal Trade Commission’s Care Label rule, care labels may be composed of either words or symbols. Irrespective of whether the content is words, symbols, or both, care instructions appear in the following order:

  1. Machine wash / hand wash / dry-clean
  2. Washing temperature (hot / warm / cold)
  3. Washing machine programme (delicate / permanent press / normal cycle)
  4. Bleaching instruction (do not bleach / non-chlorine bleach / chlorine bleach)
  5. Drying method (tumble dry / line dry / flat dry / drip dry)
  6. Ironing (do not iron / cool iron / warm iron / hot iron)
  7. Warnings

In addition to the care label instructions, manufacturers and importers must provide labels that:

  • Are permanently attached so that they can be easily seen at the point of sale. If the product is packaged, displayed or folded so that the customers cannot find the label, care information must also appear on the side of the package or on a hang tag
  • Remain fastened and legible during the useful life of the product
  • Mention the regular care needed for the ordinary use of the product
  • Warn the customer about additional factors which may harm the garment

Since December 1996, a new system using only symbols and no words has been used in the United States of America. The revised care symbols developed by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) with their meanings are listed below.

Symbols used in the American Care Labelling System (ASTM Symbols)

American care labels

Fabric Performance Codes

The Premiere Vision Performance Codes were created to highlight specific properties or qualities of the fabric. These are value-added characteristics of the fabric which may or may not be visible to the buyer.

Premiere Vision has created 24 pictograms that are listed below with their meanings:

Premiere Vision Fabric Performance Codes

Sewing Machine Needles
Symbol Name
Fabric  performance code sewing machine needles organic fibre Organic
A fabric with a majority of certified-organic natural fibres (cotton, wool, silk, linen).
Fabric performance code sewing machine needles recycled Recycled
A fabric with a majority of recycled fibres, either natural or synthetic (principally cotton, wool, linen, polyester, polyamide or silk).
Fabric performance code sewing machine needles eco friendly Eco-friendly finishing
Dyes and treatments respecting the strictest international standards (regarding laundering, the absence of heavy metals, water conservation, pollution-reduction).
Fabric performance code garment washable Garment washable
A textile designed to stand up to garment washings and wash-out treatments.
Fabric performance code responsible production Responsible Production
Fabric whose manufacturing is environmentally responsible, and/or integrates fair trade principles and respect for human labour.
Fabric performance code wind proof Wind-Proof
Property of a fabric that consists of blocking wind; through a weave, impregnation or membrane.
Fabric performance code chlorine resistant Chlorine Resistant
Property of a fabric to resist chlorine products, either in the course of its production cycle or during use, thanks to the employment of specific fibres or dyes (resistance to pool water and to chlorine-water stains, control of the level of bleaching).
Fabric performance code natural stretch Natural Stretch
A fabric that stretches in the warp and/or the weft, which regains its initial dimensions after stretching. Property obtained without the use of elastane or lyrca, by a mechanical retraction of the yarn, or by chemically treating the fabric.
Fabric performance code mono stretch Mono-Stretch
A fabric that stretches in the warp or the weft, and which regains its initial dimensions after stretching. This property is obtained through the use of elastane, textured yarns or yarns of an elastic nature.
Fabric performance code bi stretch Bi-Stretch
A fabric that stretches in the warp and the weft, and which regains its initial dimensions after stretching. This property is obtained through the use of elastane, textured yarns or yarns of an elastic nature.
Fabric performance code easy care Easy-Care
Property of a fabric aimed at easing its domestic use.
Fabric performance code fast drying fabric Fast Drying Fabric
Property of a fabric permitting quick drying thanks to the specificity of its fibres and/or its structure, and/or a hydrophobic treatment.
Fabric performance code water repellent Water-Repellent
Finishing process which enables a fabric to resist penetration by water in its liquid form, by oil or dirt. Liquids run off the fabrics without penetrating it.
Fabric performance code water proof Water-Proof
Property of a fabric which stops water going through.
Fabric performance code breathable waterproof Breathable-Waterproof
Property of a fabric which stops liquid water going through but allows perspiration to exit.
Fabric performance code breathing Breathing
Property of a fabric that consists of wicking humidity from the body to the exterior thanks to fibres properties and/ or properties inherent in its structure. A dry micro-climate can thus be maintained between skin and clothing.
Fabric performance code coating Coating
Finishing process which deposits a specific product on the surface of a fabric to give it special qualities.
Fabric performance code membrane Membrane
Very thin synthetic film, bonded onto a fabric, either freely inserted or laminated, to give it water and wind proofing whilst retaining breathability.
Fabric performance code multi layer Multi-Layer
Cloth obtained by a bonding process of two or more materials, each with its distinct properties.
Fabric performance code double face Double-Face
Cloth presenting two different sides; each with its specific function.
Fabric performance code climatic Climatic
Property of a fabric that controls the temperature of the fibre in order to protect the body from exterior climatic conditions – whether they are hot or cold.
Fabric performance code thermal Thermal
Property of a cloth which regulates the temperature of a fibre in order to retain a dry and warm micro-climate between skin and garment in order to avoid body chill.
Fabric performance code fleece Fleece
Type of double-knit bouclé knit, intensely raised on one face or on both, producing a fleece effect.
Fabric performance code stain resistant Stain-Resistance
Finishing treatment intended to prevent dirt from attaching to fibres.
Fabric performance code anti uv Anti-UV
Function added to a fabric via a special treatment of the fibre and blocking the UV rays that are dangerous to the skin with a protection factor of over 30.
Fabric performance code anti bacterial Anti-Bacterial
Chemical process applied to a cloth to stop the development of bacteria caused by perspiration.
Fabric performance code high resistance High-Resistance
Property of a fabric to resist tearing and/or abrasion, through the use of high tenacity fibres.
Fabric performance code reflecting Reflecting
Property of a cloth that reflects the light. This term includes fluorescents, phosphorescents and retroreflexive.