They have appeared on clothes labels for four decades, each one chosen by international experts for its simplicity and clarity.
Yet for most people, washing instructions might as well be written in Martian.
According to a new poll, nine in 10 people are unable to decipher common symbols used on clothes labels. Even those who have mastered the difference between a wool and a synthetics wash admit being baffled by the bewildering array of boxes, circles and crosses used to give advice about drying and bleaching.
The findings come from a poll of 2,000 people carried out by YouGov for Morphy Richards. A third of people surveyed said that they recognised none of the six symbols shown, while the only symbol recognised by more than half of people was the iron with a single dot. Around 70 per cent knew it meant “iron on a low heat”. Just 10 per cent sign knew the sign for “do not dry clean”, while only 12 per cent were familiar with “drip dry only”.
Despite the sexual revolution, women are still more knowledgeable than men. Awareness was highest among 18 to 29-year-old women–for whom taking care of clothes is clearly important.
Chris Lever, from Morphy Richards, said: “Clothes Care symbols are a unique language, clearly a language that few people in the UK have taken the time to learn. “
“Learning the basics such as which icon represents tumble dry and which represents normal wash would go a long way to getting the best out of clothes.”
The Home Laundering Consultative Council said it was not surprised to learn that people were unfamiliar with them.
“It’s disappointing that there is a lack of recognition, but it’s a story that’s repeated time and time again,” said a spokesman, Adam Mansell. “We are a small organisation and we don’t have a big budget.”
Post time: Apr-16-2021