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By Wunderlabel on 04/16/2024

History of Laundry Labels

The History of Laundry Labels in the USA

The history of laundry labels (a specialized form of clothing labels) in the U.S. began in a similar way to Europe, but with a few differences. During the industrialization of the 19th century, American manufacturers began to mass-produce clothing and textiles. As industrially produced clothing became more widespread, so did the need for clear laundry care instructions for consumers.
A major turning point in the history of laundry labels in the U.S. was the introduction of the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act in 1960. This organization demanded that manufacturers clearly label their garments with the fabric composition and care instructions. 
As in Europe, this led to the widespread adoption and standardization of laundry symbols in the American textile industry.

Over time, laundry labels in the U.S. have evolved to better meet consumer needs, resulting in easier-to-understand wash symbols and standardized text on labels.

Today, laundry labels are an integral part of the U.S. apparel and textile industry. They provide consumers with important information on how to properly care for their garments to prolong their life and ensure optimal maintenance. The history of care labels in the U.S. reflects the development and modernization of the textile industry as well as the growing importance of consumer protection and information laws.


The beginnings of textile labeling are closely linked to the increasing complexity of textile production and care in the 20th century. The need to label textiles for care purposes became increasingly apparent in the United States and Europe. Consumers were increasingly buying different fabrics and garments. Historically, textile production had been highly localized and artisanal. This made consistent labeling difficult. Early forms of labeling, such as handwritten care instructions or simple symbols, informed buyers how to properly care for their garments.
These labels were rudimentary, but very important. They helped buyers extend the life of their clothes. Manufacturers benefited from fewer customer complaints and increased customer satisfaction.
Different standards and regulations for textile labeling developed in the U.S. and Europe, sometimes leading to fragmentation and confusion in the marketplace.
In the decades that followed, laundry symbols became an integral part of the textile industry. They were refined to provide detailed instructions on how to care for clothing and textiles. The meaning of the laundry symbols was also explained.

Today, this difference has diminished considerably but may remain in the specific requirements and symbols, especially for environmental standards and product labeling. Overall, however, the transparency and comprehensibility of textile labeling has improved, giving consumers better guidance and reducing barriers to trade.