Washing symbols, dryer symbols, hand wash symbols, dry clean symbols —doing laundry can sometimes feel like reading hieroglyphics. 


What do those lines and dots mean and how do you use them to keep clothes looking their best? We have some tips to help you decode these washing symbols to make laundry day less complicated. 


First, check your clothing label to find your fabric information followed by a series of symbols. Be careful to distinguish between washing symbols, dryer symbols and dry clean symbols.

Maytag tip icon.

A bleach symbol and no wash symbol are two important ones as ignoring these symbols can wreck an article of clothing.


To make it easy, the following guide breaks down the most common clothing care symbols — from washing to drying, dry cleaning and even ironing.

Laundry Symbols

Machine Wash symbol symbol

If there are no underlined horizontal lines, then you can wash using the normal cycle.

Machine Wash: Permanent Press symbol

A single underlined horizontal line indicates a Permanent Press Cycle.

Machine Wash: Gentle or Delicate symbol

A gentle cycle or delicate wash will be indicated by two to three underlined horizontal lines.

Do Not Wash symbol

You should not machine wash your garment if it has an X across it.

30°C or 85°F symbol

One dot signifies cold water at 30°C/85°F.

40°C or 105°F symbol

Two dots indicate that you can use warm water at 40°C/105°F.

50°C/120°F symbol

Three dots mean that you should use warm-to-hot water at 50°C/120°F.

60°C or 140°F symbol

Four dots indicate that you should use hot water at 60°C/140°F.

70°C or 160°F symbol

Five dots depict near-boiling water, which sanitizes the load at 70°C/160°F.

Ok to Bleach symbol

A plain triangle indicates that bleaching is okay.

Do NOT Bleach symbol

A black triangle indicates you shouldn't bleach.

Non-Chlorine Bleach If Needed symbol

A blank triangle with two diagonal lines indicates that non-chlorine bleach can be used.

Hand Wash symbol symbol

The icon of a washtub with a hand indicates handwashing only.

Dry Flat symbol

A horizontal line indicates to flat-dry your garment.

Hang Dry symbol

A semi-circle on the upper side instructs you to hang your item to dry.

Dry Flat symbol

Three vertical lines indicate that your garment should be drip-dried.

Dry in the Shade symbol

Two diagonal lines in the upper left corner of the square indicate that your garment should be dried in the shade.

Dry symbol

Blank circle indicating tumble drying is allowed.

No Heat Tumble Dry symbol

Blank circle and an X indicating "Do Not Tumble Dry."

Dry Flat symbol

Black circle indicating "Tumble Dry with No Heat/Air."

Normal—Low Heat symbol

Circle and one dot indicating "Dry on Normal Cycle/Low Heat."

Normal—Med. Heat symbol

Circle and two dots, indicating "Dry on Normal Cycle/Medium Heat."

Normal—High Heat symbol

Circle and three dots, indicating "Dry on Normal Cycle/High Heat."

Permanent Press, Tumble Dry, No Heat symbol

An underscored line and a black circle indicate Permanent Press/No Heat.

Permanent Press, Low Heat,Tumble Dry symbol

A blank circle with one dot and one horizontal underscored line indicates Permanent Press/Low Heat.

Permanent Press, Tumble Dry, Medium Heat symbol

A blank circle with two dots and one horizontal underscored line indicates Permanent Press/Medium Heat.

Gentle Cycle, Tumble Dry, No Heat symbol

A circle with two horizontal underscores indicates Gentle Cycle/No Heat.

Gentle Cycle, Tumble Dry, Low Heat symbol

Gentle Cycle/Low Heat is indicated by a blank circle with a dot and two horizontal underscored lines.

Gentle Cycle, Tumble Dry, Medium Heat symbol

A blank circle with two dots and two horizontal underscored lines indicates Gentle Cycle/Medium Heat.

Max. Temp 110°C/230°F symbol

One dot represents a cool temperature of 110°C/230°F.

Max. Temp 150°C/300°F symbol

Two dots indicate a warm temperature of 150°C/300°F.

Max. Temp 200°C/390°F symbol

Three dots indicate a hot temperature of 200°C/390°F.

No Steam symbol

An X and two or three outwardly protruding diagonal lines indicate that you shouldn't iron with steam.

Do Not Iron symbol

An X across it indicates "Do Not Iron."

Dry Clean symbol

The plain circle icon indicates that dry cleaning is safe.

Do NOT Dry Clean symbol

X across a circle indicates Do Not Dry Clean.

Letter Tells the Dry Cleaner the Process symbol

An 'A' inside a circle means that any solvent can be used to clean the item at a dry cleaner. Soaking the clothing in solvent thoroughly removes stains.

Letter Tells the Dry Cleaner the Process symbol

A circled 'F' indicates that only petroleum solvents can be used to dry clean the garment. Solvents are used instead of water to clean.

Letter Tells the Dry Cleaner the Process symbol

If the circle contains a 'P', your dry cleaner cannot use trichloroethylene during any stage of the cleaning process. Colourless trichloroethylene can damage delicate clothing items.


Now that you know what a “do not dry symbol” means and what not to do when you see a “no wash symbol”, you should  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.