Note: the information on this page may be out dated.
Information may have changed, depending on when you are reading this
article. Please check with the appropriate agency for most current
information. Care Labeling is a very important issue and has
legal ramifications if done incorrectly. Do NOT use any
information on this page as a decision making factory for any
element of your care labels. Please conduct further research
to make sure that you have the most current information available.
Again, this is an article written by a
garmento, not a lawyer (also not a care label expert).
Utilize this page at your own risk.
One of the major reasons behind the
introduction of care label symbols is to
harmonize American clothing labeling
regulations with those of Canada and
In July, 1997 the Federal
Trade Commission adopted a conditional
exemption to the Care Label Rule that
allowed the use of symbols in lieu of
words on care labels. A condition was
attached to the exemption requiring
that, if symbols were used without
words, until January 1, 1999 the words
defining the symbols must be provided in
some other medium such as a hang tag or
This was used as a method to help
transition so that consumers could learn
the meaning of the care symbols.
THE SYMBOLS APPROVED FOR USE IN THE
U.S. ARE THE ASTM SYMBOLS.
CURRENTLY, THERE IS NO UNIVERSAL
The ASTM symbols are accepted in
It would be great if the FTC would
formulate a system of symbols that
can harmonize the ASTM and ISO care
symbol systems. I have previously
heard threw the grape vine that the
FTC does not believe the
system of symbols set up by the
International Standards Organization
and known as Ginetex is as
comprehensive as those developed by
ASTM. However, I am not
certain if that is fact.
The need for care label symbols as
an alternative to written
instructions results from increased
international trade and, more
specifically, from the North
American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
NAFTA requires standardization of
care instructions for apparel sold
in Mexico, Canada, and the United
States. Manufacturers can prepare
labels written in three languages:
English, French, and Spanish, or use
more universal care symbols.
care symbols will help
Using care symbols should help limit
size of care labels in garments.
Smaller care labels result in
manufacturing cost savings.
Care symbols will help international
travelers better understand care labels
in foreign countries
intent is that the new symbols
will become standard in all countries
participating in the North American Free
Trade Agreement. This means that apparel
manufacturers will now be able to use
label on garments offered for
sale in any or all of these countries.
And consumers will be able to make
purchase decisions based upon care
requirements, and follow appropriate
care instructions, without knowledge of
to care label symbols will
hopefully help satisfy consumer
the apparel industry to decrease
the size of care labels.
In addition to the fact that larger
labels are very uncomfortable, moving to
smaller labels may ultimately result in
lower cost garments. This also will
help the consumer. Using symbols
instead of words is a simple method
for saving both space and money.
Although NAFTA care symbols does not
create an international solution, it
certainly does help the countries
involved in this agreement. Hopefully,
in the future their will be a global
standard for care labeling.
governments, and associations must come
together to create an international
labeling standard for apparel and
above information may have
changed, depending on when
you are reading this
article. Please check with
the appropriate agency for
most current information.
If you find any information
out dated, please let us
know and we will try to make