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Clothing Care Labels May Now Use Symbols Instead of Words

According to a recent study, four out of five consumers read care labels before they buy clothing and follow label instructions when washing garments. A recent change in the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) Care Labeling Rule means that consumers may soon find a new "language" on those care labels.

As of July 1, 1997, FTC now allows apparel manufacturers to use symbols instead of written instructions on garment care labels. For 18 months after that date, garments that have care labels with symbols must be accompanied by additional information that includes the care instructions in writing.

The symbols were developed by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), using a system that is simple and easy to learn. Members of the detergent, textile, apparel and appliance industries, as well as retailers and related media and educational organizations, are working with the FTC to help consumers become familiar with the new symbols.

To make the learning process even easier, the American Cleaning Institute has developed two teaching tools: Your Guide to Fabric Care Symbols and, for a short-cut to understanding the symbols, Fabric Care Language Made Easy!

Download, copy and share these useful laundry guides.