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5 Things You Didn't Know About Clothing Labeling Requirements

May 17, 2008
While there may be lots of rules and technicalities associated with clothing product labels, it is important that consumers have the information they need to properly take care of their wardrobes.

When you buy a piece of clothing, you also need to know how to care for the cleaning of the garment. Otherwise you might ruin it and your purchase would be wasted. To make sure consumers are well-informed, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has created a set of labeling requirements for clothing manufacturers supplying their goods to United States for any garments meant to protect or cover your body.

Here's a bit more than you ever wanted to know about garment labeling rules:

1. Manufacturers must put labels on their clothing indicating the fiber content, the country of origin, and the manufacturer brand as well as guidelines for proper cleaning methods.

2. Product labels are required to be placed in an easy-to-find spot and should be visible for the length of the garment life. This means the clothing labels can be attached as tags, printed on the garment, or permanent adhesive labels may be used as long as they are proven to stay put.

3. When it comes to cleaning instructions, clothing makers can specify that the garment should either be washed or dry cleaned, or both. They must be able to prove, however, that the care instructions are valid and have a "reasonable basis." That reasonable basis or evidence can come from actual washing or dry cleaning test results or sometimes it can come simply from long-term industry experience.

4. Clothing labels that are designated with washing instructions have to include five different aspects. The first aspect is whether the garment requires machine or hand washing. If the machine washing is allowed, the manufacturer also has to print on the product label what temperature setting should be used. The second feature of washing that must be included is bleaching instructions. Basically, the clothing label has to specify either that the garment should never be bleached or in other cases that only non-chlorine bleach is safe. If all bleaches are safe for the clothing, bleach doesn't have to be mentioned.

Thirdly, manufacturers have to include whether the clothes can be machine dried (and at what setting, if hot is not safe) or if they must dry by more natural processes. The fourth element printed on product labels is if ironing will be necessary and safe for the garment and how hot the iron should be. Lastly, washing instructions are required to include any warnings to keep the consumer from inadvertently ruining the garment. The most common warnings consist of things like "do not iron"or "wash with like colors." All five aspects are often accompanied by standard washing symbols.

5. If clothing should be dry cleaned, then the fabric labels should add in any warnings that require a variation from traditional dry cleaning procedures.

There are some things that don't need to be labeled. Those include accessories like belts, neckties, handkerchiefs, and suspenders. Neither shoes and hats, nor gloves need to be labeled presumably because tags or adhesive marks would get in the way and be a nuisance during use.
About the Author
When buying cloth, clothing label influences the purchase decision. Clothing labels indicate the maintenance and care required to ensure longevity of the cloth. For more information on clothing label requirements and to get a personalized quote for all your labeling and tag needs, you can visit http://www.abblabels.com.
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