Home & Garden Home How to Read Laundry Care Labels Help your clothes last longer by learning how to decode the mysterious hieroglyphics of care labels. By Melissa Breyer Melissa Breyer Senior Editorial Director Hunter College F.I.T., State University of New York Cornell University Melissa Breyer is Treehugger’s editorial director. She is a sustainability expert and author whose work has been published by the New York Times and National Geographic, among others. Learn about our editorial process Updated January 18, 2021 Tarzhanova / Getty Images Home Natural Cleaning Pest Control DIY Family Green Living Thrift & Minimalism Sustainable Eating Whenever it's time to clean a new garment, I head for the care label and hope that it offers instructions in words ... and in words of a language I understand. Otherwise, I am lost. What does a crown with three dots in it mean? What's that scary black circle in a box? What does that patterned shape that looks like it belongs on an IQ test represent? It's great that we are offered all kinds of information on how to best care for a garment. It is so important – the better care we take of an article of clothing the longer the item will last, and the better it is for our wallets and the environment. Textile and clothing waste are an enormous burden on the planet. But to the uninitiated, the esoteric pictograms might as well be an alien language. Thankfully, we have the great oracle of the internet to divulge the secrets of the clothing makers. At first, I researched individual symbols per label, but I wasn't particularly skilled in remembering what was what. I eventually wised up and printed out a cheat sheet, a magical decoder explaining the many mysteries of the laundry care label. And now I will share it with you. (Click to enlarge.) shooarts / Shutterstock And further decoding if you (like me) are metric-system challenged: 30C = 86F40C = 104F50C = 122F60C = 140F70C = 158F95C = 203F So there you go, mysteries solved.