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Details on the rules & regulations around labelling your products

Labelling Overview

There are four key areas that need to be considered when labelling garments: Care Labelling, Fibre Content, Country of Origin and Flammability.

The care symbols are registered trademarks in over 80 countries, including the UK and all major European markets. Companies must have a licence to use the care symbols. UKFT is the UK organisation responsible for the use of the GINETEX symbols and UKFT can provide a care labelling licence that allows the use of the symbols throughout the world.

In general labelling rules across the EU are similar but they are not the always the same. Key export markets such as the USA, South Korea and many other countries have different legal requirements.

UKFT can advise members of the labelling requirements in all major markets throughout the world. For more advice and guidance about labelling, members can contact info@ukft.org.

Care Labelling

The inclusion of washing instructions is not mandatory in the UK; however, it is strongly encouraged. In other countries it can be compulsory to include care instructions. Some markets require the use of symbols, others require written instructions.

We would always recommend the use of GINETEX symbols – the system used throughout Europe as well in many other countries including Japan, China and India. Use of GINETEX symbols removes the needs to use written care information on a label and means there are no translation issues to consider. A recent survey revealed that 84% of UK consumers would never or rarely buy clothing that did not contain care information.

Please note the symbols are protected by trade marks in over 80 countries throughout the world including the UK. UKFT is the UK representative of GINETEX, the organisation that owns the trademark and membership of UKFT can also give you the right to use the symbols throughout the world without any further charges.

Although many countries use the GINETEX system there are some notable exceptions including the USA, South Korea and Australia. If you are a member of UKFT, please get in touch to receive market specific advice.

Fibre Content

2012 Textile Labelling Regulations Guidance

Footwear Labelling – A Guidance Note

Fibre content labelling in apparel and textiles is mandatory in the UK and across the EU as laid down in the 2012 Textile Products (Labelling and Fibre Composition) Regulations. The basis of these Regulations is that the label must include information on the main fibre types used and their percentages – for example wool 80%, cotton 20%. The information given must be understandable by a consumer in the market in to which you are selling. It is not sufficient just to use English if you are exporting to the EU. A Guidance Note to these Regulations is available to download.

When the UK leaves the EU, the fibre content regulations will remain exactly the same.

Separate Regulations exist dealing with footwear. A copy of the Guidance Notes on Footwear Labelling is available to download.

Virtually all key export markets have a legal requirement to include fibre content labelling. However, the law in each country can vary. UKFT can provide members with the latest information on the legal requirements in all markets.

Country of Origin

Country of origin labelling is, generally speaking, not compulsory in the EU. However, it is necessary to have an origin label if, without such a label, the consumer could be misled as to the true origin of the garment. For instance, if a garment carried the British flag on it but it was made in Hong Kong, then the garment should include a label to that effect.

Fraudulent origin labelling is illegal.

Other markets have different legal requirements when it comes to origin labelling. Incorrect labelling can result in goods being refused entry or even destroyed. UKFT can advise members on the latest requirements.

Importer & Brand Details

A growing number of markets both in the EU and further afield require garments to be labelled with the name and address of the importer or brand. For specific details, members should contact the team at UKFT.

Labelling and the Environment – Clevercare

Brands, retailers and consumers are increasingly aware of the environmental impact of looking after clothing.

81% of EU consumers want to reduce energy and water use
72% know they can make an impact during the cleaning process
87% consumers try to wash in an environmentally friendly way
65% actively choose to wash at a lower temperature
In response to this GINETEX has developed CLEVERCARE the eco-care logo to encourage & educate the consumer to extend the life of garments and to reduce the impact of cleaning on the climate.

The five key messages are:
Don’t wash too often
Lower the temperature
Reduce the amount you tumble dry
Only iron when necessary
Only go to a dry cleaner when necessary
The clevercare symbol is a registered trade mark in the UK and in many other countries. More information on clevercare including collateral for retailers is available at www.clevercare.info



Nightwear and garments commonly worn as nightwear are subject to certain labelling requirements concerning their flammability. Children’s nightwear must satisfy the flammability requirements specified in British Standard 5722. Babies’ garments and adults’ nightwear must carry a permanent label showing whether or not they meet the Flammability Standard. Further information on this labelling of nightwear is contained in `A Guide to the Nightwear (Safety) Regulations 1985′. A copy is available to download.

Following the publication of BS EN 14878 Textiles – Burning behaviour of children’s nightwear – Specification, in November 2008 a new Advisory Note on the Requirement for Safety of Children’s Nightwear was been produced. A copy is available to download.


Clothing sold in the Netherlands must meet minimum burning behaviour requirements. MODINT, the Dutch Clothing Association has entered into an agreement with the government regarding these requirements. A copy of the agreement, which gives details on the minimum burning behaviour of fabrics is available to download.

MODINT have also produced a guide to help companies assess if their fabrics/garments need to be tested. A copy of this guidance available to download.

A Guide to Nightwear Safety Regulations 1986

New Requirements for Fire Safety of Childrens Nightwear

UKFT Dutch Flammability

UKFT Dutch Flammability Guide to Testing