The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) recently revised their Standard Guide for Care Symbols for Care Instructions on Textile Products. The 2018 edition was revised to better align with the ISO symbols and to clarify the US Care Labelling Law which cites the ASTM D5489-96c edition.

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The ASTM D5489-18 edition was revised to more closely align with the ISO care symbols.  The 2018 version includes symbols and wording for additional care processes that are not covered by 16 CFR 423, the United States Federal Trade Commission Care Labelling Rule. In the US, when care symbols without words are used on a care label, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires that the Guide D5489-96c version of symbols must be used. However, the symbols as included in the revised version of ASTM D5489-18 may be used if symbols are used in addition to full care instructions written in English wording.

According to the FTC’s Care Labelling Rule, care information must be provided by care instructions written in English, or the care symbols in the ASTM D5489-96c standard. Whether composed of words or symbols, care instructions shall include as a minimum, four symbols for laundering instructions, in the order of washing, bleaching, drying and ironing. One symbol is used for dry cleaning / professional textile care instructions. Additional symbols or words may be used to clarify the instructions.

The professional wet clean symbols are included in ASTM D5489-18 as an optional instruction. However, the professional wet clean symbol may only be used when another full care instruction is included, such as when dry cleaning or machine washing/drying symbols are present.

Highlights of the main differences between ASTM D5489-96c and ASTM D5489-18:

ASTM D5489-96c ASTM D5489-18
No symbols for “Wet clean” process
  • Including symbols for “Wet clean” process under Professional Textile Care Instruction in the condition of “normal”, “mild” and “very mild”
  • Including symbol for “Do not wet clean”
  • Dry clean symbols with “A”, “P” and “F” for condition of “normal cycle” only
  • Including Dry clean – Additional Instructions for condition of “short cycle”, “reduce moisture”, “low heat” and “no steam finishing”
  • Dry clean symbols with “P” and “F” for condition of “normal cycle” and “mild cycle”


ASTM D5489-18 [1]

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