Less than one in seven can identify six most common washing symbols

Fewer than one in seven of us can identify six most common washing symbols – so can YOU do any better?

  • Third of Britons never check the instruction labels before washing their clothes
  • Seven in ten admit they wash items that should have gone to the dry cleaners
  • Some 78 per cent of men always use the same programme on a washing machine

Fewer than one in seven people can correctly identify common washing symbols while a third of Britons admit they never check instruction labels. 

Some seven in ten confessed they have machine washed items that should have gone to the dry cleaners because they failed to look at the labels.

The ignorance about how clothes should be cleaned can cost families thousands of pounds, according to a sample test of householders by school uniform supplier Trutex. 

Fewer than one in seven people can correctly identify common washing symbols

Men are the worst offenders with more than three quarters (78 per cent) always using the same programme on a washing machine regardless of the instructions. 

Almost half of women (48 per cent) used just three programmes or less.

Trutex said the lack of understanding over symbols is destroying thousands of pounds worth of clothing.

While almost eight out of ten people (79 per cent) believe it is important to check the labels on their clothes, less than half (39 per cent) look at them when buying a new item.

In the test some nine out of ten said they were unaware that some clothing should never be put in the tumble drier.

Ironing was the most understood symbol however six in ten people automatically use a high heat steam without checking.

Most women (90 per cent) said they had learned how to wash clothes when helping their mothers as young girls with almost all (95 per cent) separating out whites and colours.  

Some seven in ten confessed they have machine washed items that should have gone to the dry cleaners because they failed to look at the labels

DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE LABELS MEAN? 

1 Machine wash

2 Machine wash (permanent press)

3 Machine wash (gentle cycle)

4 Hand wash

5 Water temperature not above 40C

6 Do not wash

7 Do not bleach

8 Tumble dry

9 Do not iron

10 Do not wring

11 Do not dry clean

12 Drip dry 

This compares with only 15 per cent of men who helped their mothers or washed their own dirty linen when at home. 

Some seven in ten men said the first time they used a washing machine was on leaving home with two thirds saying their first experience was a commercial laundrette. 

One in four said they never looked at instructions and one in six had never used a washing machine.

Overall less than half (47 per cent) of all who took part in the study ‘often’ check labels.

Trutex asked a sample of householders to identify seven of the 35 different symbols found on labels. The symbols covered machine washing, dry cleaners, tumble dry, adding bleach and ironing.

Matthew Easter, managing director at Trutex said: ‘The research shows a huge lack of knowledge when it comes to knowing what care labels mean and an ignorance of their importance. 

‘The labels are there so the best care can be taken of fabrics and show how they should be treated. 

‘This helpful information can save time and money and ensure clothes last longer.’

Which ones do you know? Many people admit they cannot recognise the most common symbols

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