The Ultimate Guide to Clothing Care Labels (with free customizable template)

Often overlooked during the product development process, clothing care labels are an essential requirement for any garment going into production

Some prominent fashion brands and clothing manufacturers likely already have care label templates, but for freelance fashion designers, startup fashion businesses, and anyone wanting to give their clothing care labels an extra TLC, this article is for you! 

I understand the pain – when I first started working as a freelance fashion designer, seemingly minor tasks like this one would throw me off my groove. I almost wish there was a one-stop hub where I could easily access and create them, without doing a scavenger hunt of icons while deciphering a whole lot of symbols. 

That’s why I created this article for you – your quick go-to for all things clothing care label related. And oh, did I mention you can snag my FREE Customizable Clothing Care Label Template?

No more icon scavenger hunts on the web. Imagine it like a clothing care label buffet where you grab what you need, and boom! Your clothing label is ready. 

Let’s dive right in!

Table Of Contents:

What is a Clothing Care Label?

Flip the bottom part of your shirt. You might see a little white tag a few inches above the hem. That’s called a clothing care label. 

Clothing care labels, also known as garment wash care labels, fabric labels, or washing label guides, are tags that contain information to help customers keep their clothing items in good condition. It includes info on the garment such as its fabric content, country of manufacturing, and most importantly, the proper care instructions for washing, drying, ironing, etc. 

Think of clothing care labels as user manuals for customers to effortlessly maintain their clothing items.

For fashion brands and fashion designers creating these garments, clothing care labels protect against potential issues stemming from damage claims. This is another reason why it’s important to be mindful when creating fabric care labels.

Pro Tip: Working in the fashion industry, it can feel like some of this knowledge is common sense. But the reality is that a lot of people don’t know that knits should not be hanged while drying or that wool shouldn’t go in the dryer. This is why providing all necessary info on the clothing care label is crucial.

What Should Be Included in a Clothing Care Label?

There is no direct guide to a clothing care label’s content, as most fashion companies customize it and include details to reflect their brand identity. 

At minimum, here are the essential contents to have on your clothing labels.

Fabric Content: List the materials used in the garment to help consumers understand the fabric’s characteristics and care needs. 

  1. Wash & Care Instructions: Include icons and written instructions on how to clean and maintain the garment properly.
  2. Country of Origin: Provide the country where the garment was manufactured.
  3. Others: While not required, here is some other info you can add on your clothing care label.
    • Garment Size
    • Garment Style Number
    • Link to Your Website
    • Branding (like your logo, or any message you want to add!)

Understanding Wash & Care Symbols in Clothing Care Labels

What does the square icon mean in fabric labels? How about the circle one? Triangle?

Not gonna lie – some of these symbols still confuse me! So, here’s a quick cheat sheet on what each of those tiny symbols mean in your clothing care label.

Laundry Symbols

These symbols indicate the washing method for the clothing items, whether an item can be machine washed or if it requires special care like hand washing. They also provide information about the recommended washing temperature – cold, warm, or hot. Here’s a quick laundry symbol guide to help you!

laundry symbols

Bleaching Symbols

Usually characterized by a triangle icon, bleach symbols clarify whether it’s safe to use bleach on your garment. They indicate if bleach should be avoided altogether or if it can be used under specific circumstances.

bleaching symbols

Drying Symbols

Drying symbols offer guidance on how to dry your clothing items without compromising their quality. These symbols inform you whether it’s safe to use a tumble dryer or if you should opt for line drying, flat drying, or other methods. 

For example, fabrics made from natural fibers like wool might need to be dried flat to avoid distortion. 

drying symbols

Ironing Symbols

A clothing label’s ironing symbols inform you whether you can iron your clothing items and at what temperature. They help you prevent damage by indicating suitable ironing conditions especially for delicate fabrics like silk or synthetic fabrics like polyester. 

ironing symbols

Dry Cleaning Symbols

Depicted by circles, dry cleaning symbols dictate if your garment needs to be professionally dry cleaned. They guide you on whether it’s safe to have your item dry cleaned or if you should avoid it. For example, a circle with an X mark indicates that the garment should not be dry cleaned. 

Check out other additional dry cleaning symbols below!

dry cleaning symbols

And there you have it! Easy peasy! Feel free to save these guides as your handy cheat sheets!

Or better yet…

Download My Free Customizable Clothing Care Label Template

No more endless loop of icon searching – I made this FREE Customizable Clothing Care Label Template in Adobe Illustrator for you as a guide!

I made sure to include everything you need – including a customizable template, wash & care icons (with descriptions!), and a symbol guide chart so you have everything laid out for you all in a single file.

Pro Tip: I formatted the clothing care label using a common size that can serve as a general template, but feel free to change the size based on your needs. 

If you want to put an extra touch of customization, adjust the template easily to meet your requirements! For example, give your brand identity a boost in this tiny label by putting your brand logo, website, or a short quote. Go to town!

Enough with the endless icon searches, right? You now have this customizable clothing care label template – an easy solution that’ll save you aallll the hassle. Consider it my way of making your life a tad easier – giving you one less thing to worry about. 😉


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