Dry cleaning symbols & Do not dry clean symbol explained

A list of the most prominent dry cleaning symbols and what they represent in terms of processes and solvents used.

drycleaning symbols

If you have an item of very precious clothing, even if you are in dire straits and think thrice about any added expense, you will not hesitate to give it to dry clean to prevent yourself from ruining it. That is how much you get attached to some clothing. For eg. your wedding dress.

But can it be dry-cleaned? What do the dry cleaning symbols on them say? That is the million dollar question!

dry cleaning symbols

Do you know that not all clothes should be dry cleaned? And not all clothes that can be dry cleaned should be dry cleaned the same way.

Dry cleaning involves using chemical solvents to clean clothes instead of the usual method of cleaning using agitation with water and detergents. And there are many different types of chemicals used in this process and this varies with the type of fabric of the clothing you have.

And all of these info can be read from the simple symbols given on the fabric care lables on clothes. These are formulated by the The international Association for textile care labelling, GINETEX. 

How to decipher the Labels of dry cleaning properly so that you do not ruin the clothing you have? Quite easy. Read the fabric tag with the care symbols and see if there is a circle symbol on it.

dry cleaning symbols for dry clean and do not dry clean

Dry cleaning itself is represented as a circle. And do not dry clean is represented as the circle with a cross on it.

And other specifics of dry cleaning are all represented inside the circle. There will be individual alphabets written inside the circle – all of them with their own meaning. You just have to recognize what the symbols say and act accordingly or give instructions to the dry cleaner.

Important dry cleaning symbols

When you give your clothing for drycleaning they first look at the care label for the dry cleaning symbol. Either there will be a simple circle which says the material can be dry cleaned or some other indications inside and outside the circle which tells them exactly what solvent to use and also what kind of process to use. 

The dry clean symbol can mean “can be dry cleaned” or should only be dry cleaned.

If it is “should only be dry cleaned” there will also be another symbol which says do not wash too.

do not wash ; dry clean only

Do not dry clean symbol

I think the most important dry cleaning symbol is “do not dry clean”. Do not dryclean your garment, if the circle is crossed out.

Do not dry clean symbol

If you do not care for this symbol and give that particular garment for dry cleaning it can end up damaged. The solvents used in dry cleaning can destroy the fibers of the material.

You should not give these clothes for dry cleaning, nor should you use DIY drycleaning kits. You should also not use solvent based stain removers to get out stains with these materials. 

Usually this symbol is given on clothes containing spandex fibers. 

Dry clean symbol p

Dry cleaning with Hydro carbon solvents and perchloroethylene solvents

dry cleaning symbol P

As this involves dry cleaning clothes with perchloroethylene solvents, this is a good cleaning method if your clothing has oil based stains.

Dry cleaning symbol A

Can be drycleaned with any solvent

dry clean with any solvent - symbol.

If this symbol is present you can dry clean with all solutions.

Dry cleaning symbol F  

Dry cleaning with Hydro carbon solvent only (HCS)

dry clean

This symbol means that the garment can be dry cleaned with flurocarbon or petroleum based solvents only. The hydro carbons are pertoleum based solvents which are gentle on the fabric than the dry cleaning with perchloroethylene solvents. But less effective.

What does the lines on the dry cleaning symbols mean?

If you find lines under the circle, they indicate the process to be used – the lines denote gentle cleaning. If two lines are there very gentle cleaning is recommended. 

What is the dry cleaning symbol for silks?

dry clean fabric care symbols

What is the dry cleaning symbol for synthetics like polyester?

do not dry clean

What is the dry cleaning symbol for wool fabrics?

dry clean symbol wool

What is the dry cleaning symbol for cotton fabrics?

dry clean symbol for cotton.

When you follow the instructions on the dry cleaning care labels given on clothes, you are ensuring that your clothing will maintain its appearance and fit as the day you loved it first. 

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Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.