Laundry symbols can be a little confusing. What do those lines and dots mean and how do you use them to keep clothes looking their best? First, check your clothing label to find the fabric information followed by a series of symbols. Be careful to distinguish between the washing and drying symbols. If your item is stained, browse our stain removal guide before deciding how to wash.

The chart below breaks down the most common clothing care symbols — from washing to drying, dry cleaning and even ironing.

Print this cheat sheet for easy reference next time you wash: 

Download the Cheat Sheet Download the Cheat Sheet

washing symbols

When figuring out how to wash an item, look for the wash tub icon as well as what's inside and below it. Black dots indicate water temperature and one or two lines beneath the tub represent cycle choice. An X means your item shouldn't be machine washed: look for a hand symbol indicating hand washing or a circle for dry cleaning. If you want to use bleach, look for a triangle symbol to determine if it's safe for your fabric.

How to Wash

Wash tub with X over it

Do Not Wash

Do Not Wash

Wash tub with hand inside

Hand Wash

Hand Wash

Wash tub

Machine Wash

Machine Wash

Wash tub with one line below

Machine Wash:

Permanent Press

Machine Wash: Permanent Press

Wash tub with two lines below

Machine Wash:

Gentle or Delicate

Machine Wash: Gentle or Delicate

Heat Level

Wash tub with one dot

Cold

30°C or 85°F

Cold 30°C or 85°F

Wash tub with two dots

Warm

40°C or 105°F

Warm 40°C or 105°F

Wash tub with three dots

Warm / Hot

50°C or 120°F

Warm / Hot 50°C or 120°F

Wash tub with four dots

Hot

60°C or 140°F

Hot 60°C or 140°F

Wash tub with five dots

Sanitize

70°C or 160°F

Sanitize 70°C or 160°F

Bleach Usage

Empty triangle

OK to Bleach

OK to Bleach

Black triangle with X through it

Do Not Bleach

Do Not Bleach

Triangle with two sideways lines

Non-chlorine Bleach if Needed

Non-chlorine Bleach if Needed

Drying symbols

Look for a square on your item's care tag when deciding how to dry. A circle inside the square means it can be tumble dried in the dryer, while straight or curved lines mean it should be air dried. Just like washing symbols, black dots represent heat and lines beneath the square indicate cycle choice.

Air Drying

Square with three vertical lines

Drip Dry

Drip Dry

Square with two lines in the upper right corner

Dry in the Shade

Dry in the Shade

Square with curved line

Hang Dry

Hang Dry

Square with one horizontal line inside

Dry Flat

Dry Flat

Basic Dryer Cycles

Square with empty circle inside

Tumble Dry

Tumble Dry

Square with circle in the middle and X over them

Do Not Tumble Dry

Do Not Tumble Dry

Square with black circle in it

No Heat

No Heat

Square with circle and black dot inside

Normal Cycle

Low Heat

Normal Cycle Low Heat

Square with circle and two black dots inside

Normal Cycle

Medium Heat

Normal Cycle Medium Heat

Square with circle and three black dots inside

Normal Cycle

High Heat

Normal Cycle High Heat

Permanent Press

Square with black circle inside and one line below

Permanent Press

No Heat

Permanent Press No Heat

Square with circle and black dot inside and one line below

Permanent Press

Low Heat

Permanent Press Low Heat

Square with circle and two black dots inside and one line below

Permanent Press

Medium Heat

Permanent Press Medium Heat

Gentle Cycle

Square with black circle inside and two lines below

Gentle Cycle

No Heat

Gentle Cycle No Heat

Square with circle and one dot inside and two lines below

Gentle Cycle

Low Heat

Gentle Cycle Low Heat

Square with circle and two dots inside and two lines below

Gentle Cycle

Medium Heat

Gentle Cycle Medium Heat

Ironing symbols

The ironing symbol isn't hard to spot—it looks just like an iron. Black dots will indicate heat while X's will tell you whether or not to use steam or skip ironing altogether. If you want to skip this step, select a wrinkle fighting setting on your dryer like the Wrinkle Prevent option with Steam by Maytag that tumbles your clothes with steam for up to 150 minutes after the cycle ends.

Iron icon with one dot inside

Cool

110°C or 230°F

Cool 110°C or 230°F

Iron icon with two dots inside

Warm

150°C or 300°F

Warm 150°C or 300°F

Iron icon with three dots inside

Hot

200°C or 390°F

Hot 200°C or 390°F

Iron icon with X below it

No Steam

No Steam

Iron icon with X over it

Do Not Iron

Do Not Iron

Dry Cleaning symbols

If you see a plain circle on your tag, that means your item is best left to a dry cleaning professional.

Empty circle

Dry Clean

Dry Clean

Empty circle with X over it

Do Not Dry Clean

Do Not Dry Clean

Circle with an A inside Circle with an F inside Circle with an P inside

Letter tells the dry cleaner the process

Letter tells the dry cleaner the process

Laundry symbols infographic.

LAUNDRY SYMBOLS & LAUNDRY CYCLES

Now that you’re a pro at recognizing clothing care symbols, check out the features that can help you tackle load after load. Maytag® washers and dryers come with a variety of cycles and options for different load types. When you pair your new laundry-symbol knowledge with these cycles, you've got one powerful way to take on laundry day.

And for even more ways to get the most out of laundry day, read about the types of detergent that are best for your loads.

Download the Cheat Sheet

Download the Cheat Sheet

More ways to get laundry right

 

HOW TO REMOVE STAINS FROM CLOTHES

Get tips on stain removal—from red wine to blood and ink, Maytag is here to help.

WASHING MACHINE SETTINGS EXPLAINED

Dive into this guide on laundry cycles — discover how they work and when to use them.

HOW TO DO LAUNDRY, FROM START TO FINISH

Master laundry fundamentals with this seven-step guide.

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