How to Decode Laundry Symbols

  |     |   Cleaning

NAU students living at University Square Apartments in Flagstaff, Arizona, like college students everywhere, are more than likely having their first experience with doing their own laundry. They're finding out that there can be a lot more to it than meets the eye. You don’t necessarily just toss it in the washer or dryer and push a button. Some fabrics and materials can be ruined without special care. Therefore, clothing manufacturers attach labels with specific instructions on how a garment should be washed or cleaned, usually found in the same place as the size label. As as a matter of fact, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission requires manufacturers to attach these labels, and studies have shown that four out of five people actually read and follow these instructions.

Decoding Laundry Symbols

At one time manufacturers were required write out these cleaning instructions in plain language, but in July of 1997 the FTC decided it would allow makers to use symbols instead, kind of like the universal symbols seen on traffic signs and restrooms. This saves manufacturers time and money, but it can be confusing for consumers who are unfamiliar with them.

The symbols were developed by the American Society for Testing and Materials and are supposed to be intuitive and easy to understand, but in reality they’re not without a little initial guidance. Luckily, the American Cleaning Institute has published a handy guide to the most commonly used symbols, which can be found here. They also offer another visual guide to the common elements of all the symbols here. With just a little study and practice, you too can become a laundry pro.

We’re Here To Help!

Residents of University Square Apartments in Flagstaff, AZ who have questions or concerns about our laundry facilities are encouraged to stop by the office or contact us by phone and we’ll be more than happy to assist you.

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