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
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
No endorsement of companies or their products mentioned is
intended, nor is criticism implied of similar companies or their products