Fabric Care Labels - What The Symbols Regarding Temperature Mean
Trying to intrepret fabric care labels can sometimes feel like a test that you are not prepared for.
I liked the good old days, when a shirt that was supposed to be washed in hot water said, "wash hot."
Today, with the use of laundry symbols instead of words that is a thing of the past. Instead, the symbolic laundry instructions regarding washing temperatures are now indicated by the number of dots within the symbol.
Below is some additional instructions for what the dots within these fabric care labels means, and the temperatures that manufacturers are referring to when they generically indicate you should wash in a certain temperature of water:
Three dots means hot water, which is defined as water that is 120° F (50° C).
Hot water is sometimes the best choice for washing clothes for several reasons, which include:
Please note, however, that hot water is not best for all laundry stains, universally. For example, it can set certain stains, such as blood stains.
Other disadvantages of using hot water for washing clothes include:
Safety tip - Please remember that in homes with children that your hot water heater should not be set above 120° F because of the danger of scalding.
Two dots on fabric care labels means warm water, which is defined as 105° F (40° C).
Many times warm water is the happy medium between hot water washes, with the disadvantages listed above, and cold water, which generally does not clean as well.
One dot on fabric care labels means cold water, which is defined as water that is 85° F (30° C).
Some advantages to washing in cold water include:
On the other hand, powdered detergents do not generally dissolve as well in cold water.
In addition, it is generally accepted that you cannot wash clothes effectively in water that is colder than 65° F.
Practically, what that means is that depending on where you live, and what season it is, even when your clothes call for a cold water wash, you may need to add some warm water to the cold water coming into your washing machine to make sure it is warm enough to be effective.
For example, cold water in the winter in Canada will most likely be colder than 65° F, which means you would need to add warm water to bring it up to approximately 85° F to be classified as what the manufacturers are referring to as "cold" water on the fabric care labels.
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