The five maintenance symbols are protected trademarks in most countries. These symbols may not be reproduced, issued or used without a special license agreement with GINETEX, co-owner of the trademarks together with COFREET. The intellectual property license agreement commits companies to properly use the symbols at all times.

The GINETEX symbols are also at the origin of the International Standard ISO 3758.

Licensees are required to make proper use of the symbols at all times in accordance with applicable guidelines. Unauthorized or improper use of the symbols can lead to legal action. Commercial companies (wholesalers, importers, etc.) are required to ensure the obligation of proper maintenance labelling in accordance with the GINETEX guidelines in orders placed with their suppliers.

When purchasing textile items, consumers should check that they present maintenance symbols for proper maintenance instructions.

The symbols of the maintenance labels provide information on the maximum permissible treatment and proper maintenance of the fabrics. They are therefore intended for consumers and professional laundries (laundries, dry cleaners).

Symbols refer to the most critical aspect of the maintenance treatment of a textile item. This includes: coloring, finishing, accessories (such as buttons, zippers) and applications.

The details are a responsibility for the manufacturers and must be truthful, however, maintenance labeling is not a guarantee of quality but indicates the maximum possible treatment.

Maintenance performed based on the information on the label provides a guarantee that the textile product will not be damaged even if it does not guarantee that all types of dirt and stains will actually be removed.

Milder treatments and lower temperatures than those indicated on the label are always allowed.

For greater clarity, the entire set of symbols (washing, bleaching, drying, ironing and dry cleaning) should be included on the labels without exception. The following sequence has been applicable since 2006:

Currently the ISO 3758/2012 standard “Textiles – Care Labelling Code using Symbols”, is subject to the revision of the ISO TC38/SC2 12 WORKING GROUP.

From December 20, 2021 to March 14, 2022, the standard will be in the DIS period.

The DIS phase allows technical comments that will be discussed within the working group for the final draft.

Once finalized, this fourth edition of the standard will cancel and replace the third edition (ISO3758:2012). GINETEX and its national members participate in TC38/SC2 WG12.


At the end of the revision phase, Centrocot will be able to give information to customers who request it regarding the changes made to the ISO 3758 standard.


Author: Barbara Albertini

International Technical Dept.