How to read labels for fabrics

30 July 2021  Monica Rabbaglio 

how to read fabrics labelsGarments composition labels are their ID. Short guidelines designed to help us to understand what we are wearing and how to take care of our clothes to make them last longer.

Maintenance instructions are represented by means of international symbols displayed on fabric labels, so that they can be understood by everybody, regardless the language.

In Italy, fabric care labels were first introduced on January 1st, 1984 and they showed a mixed languages of symbols and simple writings; on 1st July 1997 only the Ginetex graphic symbols remained, being standardized through the UNI EN 23758/94 standard (official version of the EU EN 23758/93 deriving from ISO 3758/9).

How shall we read labels? There are two types of relevant data which are worth paying attention to. The first provides specific information about the manufacturer’s brand, the production location, and the percentage of the fibers used for the production of the fabric.  The second provide instructions about how to wash, dry and iron the fabric.

Then, let’s find out how to read labels, explaining, one by one, the meaning of each symbol.

 

Washing and drying symbols: the meaning of symbols found onto garments labels

 

Garments labels are usually found on the left side of garments and are made of more than one layer. How can we read labels? It is worth knowing that there is a specific icon and several symbols for each procedure – washing, drying and ironing – providing detailed instructions. Thus, what we have is as follows:

  • Tub: among the symbols used about water washing, it may stand for both hand washing and machine washing;
  • Circle: it stands for professional dry washing;
  • Circle within a square: the classic symbol standing for a tumble drying on labels;
  • Lines within a square: it stands for open air drying;
  • Iron: it means the garment can be ironed;
  • Triangle: last but not least beach the way it appears on labels.

Having said so, let’s move on with the captions and the description of the symbols you can find on garments labels prodotti da Carvico e Jersey Lomellina:

washing labelsWashing: standard machine washing, at max 40°C.

bleaching labelsBleaching: the fabric cannot be treated with chlorine.

drying labelsDrying: do not tumble dry. Dry by hanging after centrifuging or squeezing.

ironing labelsIroning: allowed at max. 110°C.

dry cleaning labelsDry washing: allowed with perchloroethylene.

hand washing labelsWashing: hand wash at 40°. Do not machine wash.

40 washing machine labelsWashing: machine wash at max 40°C. Gentle cycle.

do not dry clean labelsDry washing: do not dry wash and do not use solvents to remove stains.

 

By learning most symbols here above, washing your garments and maintaining the quality of colors over time will be as easy as pie.

 

Fabrics composition labels: some useful tips

 

Garments labels are mandatory and, in addition to fabrics care symbols, they shall also display the exact composition of the garment. Alike INCI for food and cosmetics, fabrics composition labels must specify, in case of compound fabrics, all the percentages of the different fibers used for the creation of the garment in a decreasing order. Of course, in case a garment is only made of cotton, you will read 100% cotton on the label. Textile fibers names are abbreviated using only two letters, for space reasons: PL stands for Polyester, PA stands for Polyamide, EA is Elastane, and so on…

Some labels may also read whether the yarn used is certified (ex. Oeko-Tex). In general, if you cannot find it here, certificates may also be listed on the carton tag or, in case of  eco-sustainable fashion brands, on the brands’ websites, like in the case of both Carvico and Jersey Lomellina, whose websites contain a dedicated section entitled Quality and Certificates.

It is also worth spending some time talking about “Made in Italy”. Made in is really different from designed in: the former concerns the place of production,  whereas the latter just tell us where it was designed. And “Made in Italy” items are not all the same: same garments may be classified as made in Italy only because part of their finishing process was carried out in Italy with yarns coming from abroad, where laws about dyestuff are not so strict. For a garment to be truly 100%Made in Italy è it has to meet very specific criteria (Law 166 of 2009).

 

Why is reading fabrics washing and maintenance labels correctly so important?

 

Why is reading fabrics composition and maintenance labels correctly so important? First of all to understand what we are wearing, so as to be able, when feasible, to select sustainable garments when shopping. Use common sense: sustainable fabrics may be produced also with synthetic fibers!

For instance ECONYL®, the yarn made of recycled nylon boasting the same performance and quality of virgin polyamide, stemming from a production process involving the recovery of plastic waste and fishing nets collected from the bottom of the sea. For years now, Carvico and Jersey Lomellina have been sourcing ECONYL® as the premium ingredient for the production of some of the best eco-sustainable fabrics of their collections: as its name suggests, Revolutional Eco® is the most revolutionary one of them!

Reading washing, drying and ironing labels is indeed the first step to  comply with farbics maintenance and care instructions and preserve the original beauty and colors of your garments! Washing garments separately, sorting fabrics according to their colors and using  cold or warm water are always recommended actions to keep your garments healthy and safe.

Read the labels and choose fabrics by Carvico and Jersey Lomellina which offer the right mix of quality, certificates, sustainability, and Made in Italy. Do not hesitate to contact us for any further information you may need!

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