Clothing Care and Fiber Content Labels
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Clothing Care and Fiber Content Labels

You know if a fabric is washable by reading the care label. If the label has warnings such as "do not use chlorine bleach," then you cannot safely use liquid chlorine bleach in stain removal.

Clothing manufacturers are required to tell you the recommended care procedure on a "permanent care label." These labels often appear at the neckline of garments, but sometimes they are in a side seam. These labels tell if the manufacturer recommends home laundering or drycleaning for routine care of the clothing. A recommendation for drycleaning may relate to the component parts of the garment such as interfacings and trim, rather than to the basic fiber content of the garment. Tailored clothes of wool are often "dry-clean only" while wool sweaters are often "hand washable."

Hang tags or other labels on clothing tell the fiber content. If you understand fiber characteristics, this information can help you decide about the best stain removal procedure. For example, wool or silk can be severely damaged by liquid chlorine bleach, so this bleach should be avoided. Hang tags may also tell about fiber finishes such as soil release or durable press that are not visible on clothing but can make stain removal easier or more difficult. For example, oily stains bond more firmly with durable press fabrics than with untreated fabrics, making removal more difficult.


Special thanks to Iowa State University for allowing us to reproduce this information.

Reproduced with permission from the Cooperative Extension Service, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, 50011.

Prepared by: Janis Stone,
Textiles and Clothing Specialist,
Iowa State University

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