5 Major Marks You Need to Know about Japanese Laundry Symbol | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

5 Major Marks You Need to Know about Japanese Laundry Symbol

By Guidable Writers Jun 8, 2017

This post is also available in: Chinese (Simplified) Chinese (Traditional)

Do You Pay Attention to Laundry Symbol?

All ready-to-wear clothes are usually indicated laundry symbol, and do you pay attention to it when you buy or wash them? You might be confused about Japanese laundry symbol since you came to Japan because different symbols have been used here. On the other hand, Japanese people are also confused about foreign laundry symbol when they get clothes overseas. Japanese laundry symbol was designed by Japanese Industrial Standards (JIS), and it used to be used for a long time until November 2016. Though almost a half year has passed since JIS laundry symbol was abolished, you can still see it at the store (especially secondhand clothing shops). These are some picks of major marks which you need to know Japanese laundry symbol. Because they are all important, you shouldn’t miss them though you don’t speak Japanese. Check them out, and maintain them with the right way.


Symbol of How to Wash Clothes

The symbols of how to wash clothes are indicated by marks like washer or pail. The symbol of washer means machine washable, and the symbol of pail means it should be handwashing. Then the number indicated in both washer and pail, it means a limit of liquid temperature (the pic above means warm water). If you find a kanji on the number, it means water flow strength, and you need to pay attention to choose menu when you use the washer. Also, when a word which means “handwashing” in Japanese, you can’t use washer and it should be handwashing. Therefore, if x-mark is drawn on the pail, it means it is not water washable and you can wash the clothes at home. However, even the symbol indicates that washer is not accepted, you can occasionally wash some clothes with attention to their materials or washing method. Moreover, if dry clean mark is indicated instead of washer/pail, it means it can be dry clean, but doesn’t mean it must be done it at all. Because these symbols had been applied for many years, they might be far from the real state of today’s washing method. If you want to wash delicate clothes like knit, stylish garment etc. by washer, using specialized detergent and laundry net would be one of the washing methods.


Symbol of How to Dry Clothes

The JIS laundry symbol doesn’t suppose using laundry dryer because it was uncommon in the 1960s in Japan when the symbol was started applying. That is why how to dry clothes has been indicated as symbol like T-shirt, and it could be easy to see. There are 4 methods; lining dry/drying flat, and at a sunny place/in shade. When you find kanji in front of the symbol, it means you must dry the clothes flat. These clothes should be knit, clothes made by down, etc. If you dry them by hanger, it would lose its shape and you need to keep these instructions. You can use drying tools for dry flat, or make it by yourself. Therefore, the symbol which the cloth is wrung is occasionally added, and it means wringing method. When some word is also added, it should be wrung gently by hand or in a short time by washer. And when you see the symbol with x-mark, it must be drip dried. Even it doesn’t have the symbol about tumble dry, most of the clothes could accept it. Judge carefully and logically.


Symbol of How to Iron the Laundry

In terms of ironing method, the JIS laundry symbol has similar design to global one. One of a few of difference might be the symbol which describes temperature; mark or kanji. The JIS laundry symbol indicates temperature limit for ironing by kanji, and you need to remember these characters and its meaning. Furthermore, you would see another symbol; iron with a wavy line. This line describes press cloth, and it means you have to use press cloth while ironing. The press cloth should be dry one, and you need to use steam iron or wet the cloth with water by sprayer before press. Even it is unwritten in the tag, please remember this when you see the symbol.


Symbol About Dry Clean

If the clothes don’t accept washing at home, you will take them to the cleaners. The symbol is usually added a word which means “dry” in Japanese the top half of this. Then if another word is added the bottom half of the symbol, it means dry clean using only petroleum solvent. However, the JIS laundry symbol doesn’t have symbol about wet cleaning method. It doesn’t mean this method is unavailable in Japan. Though the name varies by the laundry (usually not to be called “wet clean”), it is also available at many cleaners but often quite more expensive than usual dry clean. This method is usually used to remove sweat or stain from clothes.


Global Laundry Symbol Has Been Introduced in Japan

The ISO laundry symbol has been finally introduced here in Japan in December 2016 (below). Because globalization of clothing production and distribution has been increasing and progress of cleaning technology, it is already difficult to continue applying the JIS laundry symbol. It means you don’t have to be confused with Japan’s independent laundry symbol anymore. However, there might be some products at the store before the ISO laundry symbol has been applied, and you still need to know about former laundry symbol as background information. Because you would know the meaning of each symbol more than Japanese people, it could need no explanation. By the way, some chemical company describes the difference of the JIS and ISO laundry symbol on its website. Though it is written only in Japanese, you could learn more detail from it. To learn about the JIS laundry symbol; here. 

And to check the difference of the JIS and ISO one; here.