A laundry symbol, also called a care symbol, is a pictogram which represents a method of washing, for example drying, dry-cleaning and ironing clothing. Such symbols are written on labels, known as care labels, attached to clothing to indicate how a particular item should best be cleaned. There are different standards for care labels for the different countries/regions of the world. Below there are links to three of the most common standards. In some standards, pictograms coexist or are complemented by written instructions.
The Canadian system was formerly the most colorful one, using three colours - green for "go ahead", yellow for "be careful", and red for "stop". This system has been abandoned with the decision to move to a common international scheme.
It is important to note that treatment indicated by the symbols is "the maximum permitted treatment" and is not required or recommended. GINETEX states that "milder forms of treatment and lower temperatures than those indicated on the label are always permitted." For example, if a symbol indicates washing in hot water and tumble drying, washing in cold water and drying on a clothes line are also acceptable.