All those clothing care symbols can get a little overwhelming, but not to worry – our comprehensive guide will help you become fluent in laundry care symbols in no time. Learn the meaning behind 37 washing, drying, ironing and dry cleaning symbols and get ready to tackle laundry day – the right way.

Has laundry day got your head spinning? Do you wash on cold or warm? Does this shirt require ironing? Can that sweater go in the dryer? You’ve got a lot of questions. And on top of it, the washing symbols on your clothes’ care tags can look less like instructions and more like hieroglyphics or your kids’ geometry homework.

Whirlpool brand is here to help you crack the code with this quick, effective guide. Bookmark it or print it out and stick it in your laundry room. Then share it with your family and friends. Because laundry day should be just a little bit easier.

Print this guide for easy reference next time you wash: 

Download the Laundry Symbol Guide Download the Laundry Symbol Guide

Washing symbols

The wash tub icon tells you exactly how to wash the garment, with underscored lines indicating the recommended cycle and black dots representing water temperature. An X, of course, warns to not machine wash at all.

Active family members can be hard on their gym socks, white undershirts and little league uniforms. If your whites are looking a little dingy, consult the triangle on the clothes’ label (if there is one) for bleaching instructions.

How to Wash

Wash tub with X over it

Do Not Wash

Do Not Wash

Wash tub

Machine Wash

Machine Wash

Wash tub with hand inside

Hand Wash

Hand Wash

Wash tub with one line below

Machine Wash:

Permanent Press

Machine Wash: Permanent Press

Wash tub with two lines below

Machine Wash:

Gentle or Delicate

Machine Wash: Gentle or Delicate

Heat Level

Wash tub with one dot

Cold

30°C or 85°F

Cold 30°C or 85°F

Wash tub with two dots

Warm

40°C or 105°F

Warm 40°C or 105°F

Wash tub with three dots

Warm / Hot

50°C or 120°F

Warm / Hot 50°C or 120°F

Wash tub with four dots

Hot

60°C or 140°F

Hot 60°C or 140°F

Wash tub with five dots

Sanitize

70°C or 160°F

Sanitize 70°C or 160°F

Bleach Usage

Empty triangle

OK to Bleach

OK to Bleach

Black triangle with X through it

Do Not Bleach

Do Not Bleach

Triangle with two sideways lines

Non-chlorine Bleach if Needed

Non-chlorine Bleach if Needed

Drying symbols

Laundry symbols will tell you not just how to wash, but also how to dry. First, determine whether the item should be air or tumble dried. The lines inside the square will tell you how an item should be air dried. (Surprisingly, there’s more than one way to do it.)

If it can be tumble dried (dried in a dryer), the symbol will also tell you how. Just like with wash symbols, underscored lines indicate cycle and black dots represent temperature. Once again, the symbol will be X’d out if you shouldn’t tumble dry at all.

If you're wondering if you should add dryer sheets to your load, read our article about what dryer sheets do.

Air Drying

Square with three vertical lines

Drip Dry

Drip Dry

Square with two lines in the upper right corner

Dry in the Shade

Dry in the Shade

Square with curved line

Hang Dry

Hang Dry

Square with one horizontal line inside

Dry Flat

Dry Flat

Basic Dryer Cycles

Square with empty circle inside

Tumble Dry

Tumble Dry

Square with circle in the middle and X over them

Do Not Tumble Dry

Do Not Tumble Dry

Square with black circle in it

No Heat

No Heat

Square with circle and black dot inside

Normal Cycle

Low Heat

Normal Cycle Low Heat

Square with circle and two black dots inside

Normal Cycle

Medium Heat

Normal Cycle Medium Heat

Square with circle and three black dots inside

Normal Cycle

High Heat

Normal Cycle High Heat

Permanent Press

Square with black circle inside and one line below

Permanent Press

No Heat

Permanent Press No Heat

Square with circle and black dot inside and one line below

Permanent Press

Low Heat

Permanent Press Low Heat

Square with circle and two black dots inside and one line below

Permanent Press

Medium Heat

Permanent Press Medium Heat

Gentle Cycle

Square with black circle inside and two lines below

Gentle Cycle

No Heat

Gentle Cycle No Heat

Square with circle and one dot inside and two lines below

Gentle Cycle

Low Heat

Gentle Cycle Low Heat

Square with circle and two dots inside and two lines below

Gentle Cycle

Medium Heat

Gentle Cycle Medium Heat

Ironing Symbols

With dryer innovations like Permanent Press and Whirlpool brand’s Wrinkle Shield option, ironing in modern life is practically unnecessary. But if a particular piece of clothing requires it, or you still like crisp creases in your pants, these ironing symbols, shaped like an old-fashioned iron, will recommend exactly how to do it.

Iron icon with one dot inside

Cool

110°C or 230°F

Cool 110°C or 230°F

Iron icon with two dots inside

Warm

150°C or 300°F

Warm 150°C or 300°F

Iron icon with three dots inside

Hot

200°C or 390°F

Hot 200°C or 390°F

Iron icon with X below it

No Steam

No Steam

Iron icon with X over it

Do Not Iron

Do Not Iron

Dry cleaning symbols

Despite how far we’ve come with home dryer technology, some garments are still best left to the professionals. A simple circle will tell you whether the item should be dry cleaned or not.

Empty circle

Dry Clean

Dry Clean

Empty circle with X over it

Do Not Dry Clean

Do Not Dry Clean

Circle with an A inside Circle with an F inside Circle with an P inside

Letter tells the dry cleaner the process

Letter tells the dry cleaner the process

Laundry symbols infographic.

Care for your clothes, care for your family

Now that you understand your clothes' care symbols, you can keep your family looking their Sunday — and everyday — best. And you’ll stand a better chance of not shrinking, damaging, misshaping, fading or pilling your clothes. Check out Whirlpool brand’s innovative washer and dryer features that take even more of the guesswork out of laundry day. Start with Intuitive Touch Controls that give you customized care for any load.

And then learn more about what detergent you should be using, and how. We recommend Swash™ Laundry Detergent, designed for your laundry by Whirlpool Corporation.1 It’s safe for all washing machines, including HE.

Download the Laundry Symbol Guide

Download the Laundry Symbol Guide

More laundry tips and tricks

Find the right settings for the day's load

How to choose laundry cycles

Do you know which settings you should be using to wash and dry your family’s clothes? Find answers to all your questions.

Why does the type of detergent you use matter?

Why you should be using HE detergent in your washing machine

Like your young athletes who perform best when they’re fueled with healthy food, your HE washer works best with HE detergent.

Hand selecting option on dryer console

What is permanent press?

You’ve probably seen the “Permanent Press” label on a wide range of clothes, as well as on your washer and dryer. But what does it mean?

Appliance IQ

Want more answers to your kitchen and laundry questions?

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  1. Swash and the recommending brands are owned and distributed by Whirlpool Corporation.