The Care Labeling Rule of 1972 set down very specific requirements for manufacturers and importers to follow. In 1984, the rule was amended to provide a Glossary of Standard Terms. In 1999, the American Society for Testing and Materials developed care symbols intended to be understandable around the world, despite language differences. In 2000, the Care Labeling Rule plus size wear
was amended again. In the early 2000s the rule requires that care instruction apply to the entire garment.
According to the Care Labeling Rule, textile clothing and piece goods (fabric sold to home sewers) must carry a care label outlining safe cleaning procedures. In the case of clothing, a care label should be sewn into the garment and be easily viewed at the time of purchase. It should remain legible for the lifetime of the garment. For completely reversible garments with no pockets and for other garments where a label would ruin their appearance (such as a sheer blouse), care information may be put on a hang tag. For clothing sold to institutions such as hospitals, no label is needed, but care instructions must be given to the institution at the time of purchase. Textiles that can be cleaned safely in several ways are required to list only one method. For items that can be cleaned by the harshest methods, the label should read, Wash or Dry Clean, Any Normal Method. This means that the mens pjamas
item could safely be machine-washed in hot water, bleached with any bleach, tumble-dried hot, and ironed at a hot setting. It also means that the item could be drycleaned using any solvent. For items that cannot be safely cleaned by any means, the label should read, Do Not Wash—Do Not Dry Clean.
Washing instructions include five elements, outlined below: Washing. The label must say if hand-washing or machinewashing is recommended. Also, unless the product can be washed in hot water, a temperature must be specified. Bleaching. If any available bleach can be used without harm, the label need not mention bleach. If chlorine bleach would damage the product, the label must say, Only Non-Chlorine Bleach, When Needed. Drying. The label must indicate how the product should be dried: tumble dry, dry flat, or drip dry. If the product cannot be machine-dried at the hottest setting, then the proper temperature must be stated. Ironing. Ironing information is required if wholesale sports clothes
ironing will be needed on a regular basis. If ironing cannot be done at the hottest setting, a proper temperature must be specified. Warnings. Special warnings must be given if a consumer might reasonably use a care procedure that would result in damage. A delicate garment suitable for hand-washing might need a Do Not Wring warning. Products that might damage other items washed with them might need warnings such as Wash Separately or Wash with Like Colors. Warnings do not need to be used for alternative care procedures. If the label reads, Machine Wash Cold, it need not use the warning Do Not Wash in Hot Water.
If garments can be safely dry cleaned with any solvent and there are no special conditions that require warnings, then the label may say, Dry Clean Only. These garments can be put in a dry-cleaning machine by the consumer at a Laundromat or given to a professional dry cleaner. When a warning is needed, it should be stated after the words Professionally Dry Clean. For example, if steam would cause damage, the label should read, Professionally Dry Clean—No Steam.