Last Updated on 20 August 2017

Dirty Laundry

While I know how to wash a white towel, I took a look at the care tag, and these five “international” “standardized” symbols are supposed to ensure I wash and dry this item properly.

Towel Tag


By scouring the Internet, I found a graphic that explains the symbols: Laundry Symbols Guide. (This used to be on the Clorox website, but can no longer find it on their site).

I’ve also found a “Fabric Care Symbol Guide” provided by the site.

A downloadable PDF titled “Crack the Code”, they offer a “secret decoder ring” to aid the laundry-doer in understanding how to properly launder the item. (See expanded description below for the translation).

It’s nice to have this guide, but it’s a lot of work. Not intuitive at all.

Dirt Digging

I’m much more experienced at doing laundry than I am at planting flowers. But, with the guide below I feel much more confident. This image is from the front of the package of bulbs I’ve just purchased.
Planting Instructions

Simple to understand.

To the left:
The numbers indicate the months. The shovels indicate when it is best to plant. The flower icon indicates when they’ll bloom.

To the right:
It’s clear for me to understand how deep to plant the bulbs, how far apart to plant the bulbs and how tall the plants will grow.

Wow. All that, with just symbols. Extremely intuitive.
What about YOUR products?
How easy is it to use your products?

  • Do you require elaborate instructions and translation?
  • Do you use jargon, industry terms – or words and/or symbols customers immediately understand?
  • How close are you to “one-step marketing?” Where your customers basically push a button to make it work?
  • What can you do to fix this from here moving forward?

Expanded Description of Laundry Instructions

I’ll use the symbol guides to decode how to clean this towel.

That first symbol on my towel tag indicates water temperature. It says 60 – that’s Celsius. That’s considered ‘hot.’

The second symbol is about bleaching. A black triangle with a crisscross through it means ‘do not bleach.’

The third symbol, an iron shape with three dots in it indicates that I may use a hot iron on the towel.

The fourth symbol, a circle with a P in it lets me know there is free parking. No, I’m kidding. It obviously means that it can be dry cleaned with any solvent except trichloroethylene.

Finally, the square with the circle in it with the two dots indicates that I may dry this item at a high temperature.