What is an apparel care label?
Everytime you’ve bought a piece of clothing, you might have noticed a piece of material that sticks out on the inside of the garment, perhaps along the collar line of a shirt or the waistband of a pair of trousers. This piece of material known as an apparel care label is sewn to clothes for a reason. Also known as a garment care label or a fabric care label, the reason for its existence is in the name itself; it informs buyers how to treat and care for the article of clothing it is sewn to, particularly the cleaning dos and don’ts.
The washing instructions are usually fairly simple with symbols, minimal wording, or a combination of both; a very straightforward little guide. However, that is not to say that that is all there is to these care labels. They are also used for branding purposes and may have the brand name, logo, or slogan printed on it, and perhaps even including the website or an email if there is room. In addition, they are also often used to indicate snippets of information about the clothing item such as the material, the size, and the country it was made in.
It is quite common to see care labels printed back to back with all this information, typically on white fabric with black text. While that is not an established rule to have these little tags of details in those exact colours, it seems to be an industry standard and makes for a classier style of label.
Why are apparel care labels needed?
You may not have paid too much heed to whether or not clothes have care labels on them, but they are more important than you think. Different fabrics react differently to different cleaning methods. The construction of an outfit, be it the design, threading, or type of material used, can be affected if it is cleaned incorrectly. For example, if you have custom printed apparel with delicate apparel printing Singapore, it might be preferable to hand wash it rather than throwing it into the washing machine for the printing to maintain its integrity.
A clothing manufacturer can share about the ideal cleaning methods for their produced clothes all they want. But it is not going to help if people dismiss that information or if the information does not reach all of the customers. If the clothes are ruined in the process of cleaning or drying, customers will not be happy. This dissatisfaction can be bad for a company’s image and they might experience a lot of customer complaints about something that is not their fault. This is why the care labels are so intricately attached to the clothes. For easy reference and to reduce customer dissatisfaction should their product be damaged from the wrong cleaning treatments.
The International Care Labelling System
GINETEX, the International Association for Textile Care Labelling, is the world body that created the globally accepted and used care labelling system for textiles. The objective of the system is to educate consumers on how to care for textile products. They came up with five pictograms which are trademarked and internationally used by other care labelling systems. The five basic symbols are:-
Of course, with just these five pictograms, it is not enough to act as a guide for textile care. Hence, there are extended versions of each of them. The extensions of these symbols are able to tell a more in-depth explanation on the treatment of textiles.
This symbol shows the type of washing that is acceptable for a piece of garment, whether it is machine-washable, should only be hand-washed, or not be washed at all. Any number that appears in the symbols indicate the maximum water temperature that the clothing can be washed in. As for the bars that appear below the symbols, they are there to recommend how heavy a load of laundry should be done together, whether the outfit can be included in a big load or to reduce the quantity of laundry per wash.
As bleaching is normally used to whiten fabrics or to remove colour or stains, it requires the use of an oxidizing agent which includes either chlorine or oxygen products, usually in liquid form, and they can be rough on clothes. This triangle symbol tells us if a certain textile can be bleached or not. And if yes, which type.
After washing, comes drying. Typically, there are two ways of drying clothes; using a dryer machine to tumble dry and drying naturally. With these symbols, you will be able to tell if the fabric can be tumbled dry or if it should be dried naturally. And if the latter, whether it should be done in the sun or in the shade, and how it should be hung to dry.
Looking at the symbol itself, one can tell that it represents ironing. The extension of symbols under this pictogram are the simplest as the extensions are only dots and a cross. The number of dots tells you how high a heat the fabric can withstand, whereas the cross very simply tells you that the fabric should not be ironed.
v. Professional Care
The circle informs customers whether or not the article of clothing can be professionally cleaned. As professionals may use different solvents, the letters within the circle alerts them about the type of solvent that can be used on the fabric, while the bar below the circle indicates limitation in the dry or wet cleaning process.
To learn more about these symbols, you can refer to the GINETEX’s official website to see what the symbols look like and the instructions that each brings.
All apparel printing services should have the basics to care labelling, regardless of the country. Singapore is no different. And if you’re looking to do some apparel printing Singapore, Custom Prints & Apparel is your guy. From t-shirts to hoodies to work uniforms, customising would have never been easier. So what are you waiting for? Go get your free design review and professional consultation now!