Look at those f**king symbols. It’s like hieroglyphics and wingdings got drunk and made a horribly deformed baby. Because my editor hates me, I had to figure out what all these meant. Onward to learn the long-forgotten Care Label Language (CLL).
Dots are kind of like the colors on your shower faucet. Or, they’re what you’d want on your shower faucet in place of colors if you were hopelessly colorblind, and routinely stepped into ice cold or scalding hot water because you couldn’t see that IT WAS TURNED ALL THE WAY TO RED! HOLY MOLY, BEING COLORBLIND SUCKS! That’s right: they indicate temperature of your wash:
One dot: Cold.
Two dots: Warm.
Three dots: Hot.
You’ve probably guessed why they’re not colors — it’s easier and cheaper to print in black ink. You may not have guessed why they’re not in letters like C, W, and H, but I’ll get to letters in a second. Stop being so inquisitive about CLL! That’s my job, apparently.
Unlike in real languages like English, or Cybertronian, letters are not the building blocks of CLL. Instead, they’re used as symbols inside of symbols, almost all of which pertain to drycleaning.
- P is for perchloroethylene, or “PCE”. It’s a drycleaning chemical!
- F is for “hydrocarbon solvent only”. It’s also a drycleaning chemical! Why not “H”, you say? Likely because the people who work in drycleaning facilities are so racked by fear that Walter White is going to blow them up, that they forgot the way the alphabet works.
- W is for “professional wetcleaning”. The opposite of drycleaning, and something I had literally never encountered prior to writing this article.
- A is for “I don’t know”. And neither does Google.
Irons and Washing Buckets
Pretty straightforward. Iron it and handwash it. Not at the same time though, ’cause irons are electric, and the shock will kill you.
These underscores tell your fear-wracked dry/wetcleaner how intensely to wash your garment. Two bars means “Go easy, bro”. No bars means “Come at me, bro”.
Circles & Squares
These two shapes are featured in a solid third of all GINETEX symbols, and can mean completely different things depending on context.
If the circles have letters in them, you’re being told to dry- (P, F) or wetclean (W) your garment. If the circle has no letter inside it, and a big X through it instead, you can’t dry- or wetclean that sucker. Don’t do it!
Dots inside the circles? Congratulations: you’re allowed to tumble dry yo’ sh*t. Remember, more dots means more heat when deciding on settings.
When the circles are themselves inside squares,
it’s ARMAGEDDDOOONNN! we’re talking cycles. Depending on how many bars are under the square, you’re looking at either normal, perm press, or delicate/gentle.
Unless you’re a housewife from Bridgeport, Connecticut, you don’t have to worry about squares with lines instead of circles within them. But in case you are that housewife, these pertain to the different types of non-machine drying you should subject your garment to.
Three vertical lines: Drip dry.
One shallow downward arch: Line dry that b*tch.
Inverted Adidas logo in the top left corner: Line dry that b*tch in the shaaaaade.
The triangle on your label signifies whether you can use bleach on your clothing. When you see the Adidas logo-esque triangle, you can bleach with oxygen. Women’s Entertainment, though, is always too abrasive.