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Always read the label

It is very important to read the care label on your fabrics. Whilst a number of different fabrics can be washed, dried and ironed at a high temperature, the care label will often advise against this. Clothes not only consist of fibres, but also a number of other materials such as button, sequins and inserts, which can become damaged after repeated exposure to high temperatures and spin speeds. Also the colouring and printing on fabrics is often responsible for their fairly low resistance to temperature. At high temperatures colours can bleed, the fabrics fade over time and other articles of clothing may even become discoloured.

So to help out further, we have provided below images of care labels attached to some of the most common fabrics, and an in-depth explanation of each fabric's specific qualities and how they should be handled. Whilst the washing, ironing and drying instructions may differ slightly between clothing manufacturers, this should give you a general idea about how to sort and wash different fabrics according to these instructional laundry symbols.


Fabric

Washing instructions

Explanation
  • Machine wash at 30°C permanent press.
  • Dry clean with any solvent except trichloroethylene.
  • Use non-chlorine bleach.
  • Use a low ironing temperature.
  • Do not tumble dry.
Jeans are a hard-wearing cotton fabric with a particular weave, however they should not be washed in the same way as cottons, because jeans are mostly dark in colour and fade easily. If you want to minimise the amount of dye washing out, you should select a low temperature and a gentle programme and avoid putting a full load in the drum. Filling the drum or spinning at high speeds may cause the material to crease and some colour abrasion.
  • Machine wash at 30°C.
  • Dry clean with any solvent except trichloroethylene.
  • Do not bleach.
  • Use a low ironing temperature.
  • Do not tumble dry.
Viscose is a chemical fibre made of the natural raw material cellulose, which is processed into fibres via a chemical process. Viscose is a soft and flowing fabric that is often used for dresses and summer clothes. Viscose has a strong tendency to shrink and crease. Viscose is not very strong and becomes even less so when damp. For this reason, viscose should be washed gently and only spun at a low speed.
  • Machine wash at 40°C.
  • Do not dry clean.
  • Do not bleach.
  • Use a medium ironing temperature.
  • Do not tumble dry.
  • Dry flat.
Wool fibres are animal hairs, mainly from sheep but also from goats (cashmere), rabbits (angora) or camels (alpaca). Like human hair, the single fibres also have scales that can get caught when washing (matted). The wool should therefore only be washed with very little drum movement. Wool can absorb a lot of moisture without feeling wet. Dirt does not penetrate it easily and it can be removed without difficulty. Spinning does not harm wool since the single fibres do not rub against each other. Only wash wool using the wool programme.
  • Machine wash at 30°C.
  • Do not dry clean.
  • Do not bleach.
  • Use a low ironing temperature.
  • Use a low tumble dry temperature.
Synthetic fibres are made from polymer compounds (e.g. polyamide, polyester and ployacrylic) and they are very hard-wearing and durable. By processing and forming the fibre, various properties can be created. One quality that is common to all synthetic fibres is its minimal water absorption which prevents dirt from being firmly deposited. This is why synthetic fibres are described as easy-care. Synthetic fibres can become permanently deformed when subjected to heat, therefore they must not get washed at too high a temperature (with the exception of polyester) and not spun too fast when warm, as this may cause permanent creasing.
  • Hand wash.
  • Do not bleach.
  • Use a low ironing temperature.
  • Line dry in shade.
  • Do not wring.
Silk is the pupation thread of the mulberry silkworm. It is the finest of all natural fibres and it is also the most delicate. It is very sensitive to chemicals, so therefore only use wool or special detergents. Particularly gentle wash programmes with a very slow spin cycle are required. Reduce the speed if necessary, however do not forego spinning altogether. Hanging up this fabric when dripping wet could ge it as it becomes too heavy for the particularly fine weave. Silk tends to lose colour and should therefore only be washed with similar colours.