Beware of The FTC Care LabelIn the US, garments are required to have a care label indicating a method of cleaning. While most garment manufacturers take great pains to give you reasonable care label instructions, there is no law stating that the care label has to be correct.
That said, these are a few care label instructions where I would avoid buying an item if I saw it on the label:
- Spot Clean Only- this means the garment must be cleaned inch by inch, by hand! It is time consuming and costly. This instruction works best for a dark color garment and one that you plan on wearing only once on special occasion.
- Dry Clean Exclusive of Ornamentation- this means your cleaner must remove all the trim, buttons, bows and other ornaments BEFORE the garment is processed, and then sew them back on again. Another time intensive and expensive process, and at times, not even possible.
- Two Distinctly Different Label Instructions- if the care label on the garment’s lining calls for washing and there is another label on the face fabric that suggests dry cleaning, your cleaner will have to remove the lining in order to process in accordance with the Care Label instructions. You don’t want to know how much that would cost.
- DRYCLEAN ONLY. DO NOT TUMBLE. AIR DRY AT 100º it is virtually impossible for an environmentally friendly drycleaner to follow this instruction.
- And for men's shirts - avoid any thing that says cold water, or cool iron.