Sunday, September 12, 2010


There are symbols that transcend language and can be understood by all (or nearly all) people. Often road signs are designed this way, allowing travelers who do not speak the language of the country they are in to drive safely nonetheless.

Here are a couple of examples of symbols that seem to work well universally:

Such "universal," language-free symbols are also included on products, on assembly instructions or on tags of products that are sold in a variety of countries.

Today I had to wash an item I had not washed before. I looked at the tag, and it only had symbols on it. I had no idea what they meant. Thank goodness for Google and the internet! I was able to cross-reference the symbols and find out if the item was supposed to be washed hot or cold or what. I'm curious. Do you know what the symbols below mean? I am posting the answers in the comment section. No fair peeking until you've taken the "quiz."

Do people other than, say, dry cleaners or other professional launderers really understand these symbols? How did you do on the quiz?


Heidi said...

1) Machine wash warm.

2) Line dry.

3) Iron low.

4) Dry clean, reduced moisture.

5) Tumble dry, normal, no heat.

6) Tumble dry, normal, high heat.

7) Non-Chlorine bleach when needed.

8) Machine wash, gentle or delicate.

9) Dry in shade.

10) Machine wash permanent press.

Delrae said...

Uhh...I think I got two right...!

Heidi said...

Good job, Delrae!!

I am just at a loss to see how these things are supposed to be universal! I would do better if the directions were on there but in Spanish or French. At least there might be some cognate words!