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What’s on a Clothing Care Label?

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You know those labels attached to your clothes that tell you how to wash and care for them? By law, those labels have to be there. The FTC’s Care Labeling Rule requires manufacturers and importers to attach care instructions to garments.

This Rule is up for review, and to discuss proposed changes, the FTC will host a public roundtable in Washington, DC, on October 1, 2013. The session will focus on a proposal to allow manufacturers and importers to include professional instructions for wetcleaning – an environmentally friendly alternative to drycleaning – on garment labels. Other questions up for discussion:

  • Should the FTC require a wetcleaning instruction for garments that can be washed using this method?
  • Do consumers know what wetcleaning is?
  • What’s the availability of wetcleaning for consumers?
  • What exactly should wetcleaning label instructions say?

The roundtable also will cover ASTM (ASTM International) and ISO (International Organization for Standardization) care symbols. How do they differ? What should be required if symbols are used to comply with the Rule? Do consumers understand these symbols?  In addition, the roundtable will address the Commission’s proposal to clarify the Rule’s reasonable basis requirements.

If you’d like to participate as a panelist, send an email to by September 3, 2013. Please include a brief statement explaining your knowledge of the relevant issues along with your contact information (phone number, facsimile number, and e-mail address). 

We also welcome public comments! Any written comments about the agenda topics, the issues discussed at the roundtable, or the issues raised in comments received in response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking must be received by October 15, 2013.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit


As a consumer, I would like to see labels using lanquage easy to understand. If I have to look up a meaning I wouldn't buy the garment. no, don't know what wetcleaning means though could figure that one out.
Now here's a new item to consider...I am hearing through friends that contact dermatitis to handling new clothes in stores on racks attached to hangars, is rampant. That leads me to believe something needs to be added to a label that notes the possibility of rash from unwashed/unlaundered clothes and should come with a caution of not to wear item before washing, due to presence of pretreatment chemicals. I don't want to scare aware the sale, but let's make the handling and wearing safer.
If the last chemicals added are formaldehyde, or even the nasty fire retardants out there, would you want to handle new clothes without a warning? or your kids to?

I've got COPD/RADS (reactive airway dysfunction syndrome). Every-time I get near cleaning products and new clothing aisles in every store I require use of an emergency inhaler. Always have my son go shopping with me to enter these areas for me.

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