A global standard in everyone's interests

Standardised care labels are good for consumers, sales personnel, industry and the environment.

A standard for users, the trade sector and industry

GINETEX aims to standardise the care labelling system for textiles.

Why is it important to have standardised care labels?

  • Graphic care labels speak a universal language
  • Our symbols are part of ISO and CEN standards
  • Easy-to-understand information improves the performance of sales personnel with regard to advising customers
  • We strengthen trust and thereby the relationship between consumers and manufacturer’s brands
  • Established standards are good for the economy
  • Care labels help consumers to save energy, reduce the amount of detergent used and extend the life of products

GINETEX works closely with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the European Committee for Standardization (CEN). The appearance of the symbols was implemented as a global standard and the order in which symbols appear on care labels attached to textiles is fixed as follows:

  1. Washing
  2. Bleaching
  3. Drying
  4. Ironing
  5. Professional textile care

The sequence is in accordance with the globally valid standard ISO 3758 “Care labelling code using symbols”.


Legal principles

Care labels are not mandatory in Switzerland; designating the material, origin and size of a particular item is also optional.

However, it is acknowledged that numerous companies voluntarily add care instructions to their products, which is desirable with regard to users.

To what extent the consumer is able to determine the correct way to care for the respective item from the material composition information and other data available – which consumers are frequently expected to do – remains to be seen. To do this, not only is it of crucial importance to know the raw materials used and possibly their combination, but also the finish of the material (colours, prints, finishings), the accessories used, the manufacturing procedure etc.

Care labels for textiles

Labels on textile products give users as well as textile cleaning enterprises important recommendations and information regarding the correct way to handle textiles in terms of washing, chemical cleaning, drying and ironing.

It is desirable for consumers to opt for products that feature an optional care label. On the one hand, consumers directly benefit from this and on the other hand, they appreciate each manufacturer that contemplates the proper way to care for its products and passes on to consumers the findings that its obtains without being legally required to do so.

If textile manufacturers provide care information for their products, this information should be near to the raw material content data so that it is clearly seen by consumers. Information on the composition of the item and instructions for correctly caring for the item may be on one label but must be clearly separated from each other.

Designation of origin

In terms of providing maximum transparency for end customers, textile manufacturers are encouraged to designate the origin of their textiles.

However, specifying this information has neither been standardised nor prescribed by legislative authorities to date. Nevertheless, efforts are under way at a European level to introduce the designation of origin. GINETEX Switzerland is reporting on the progress being made.

Fibre and raw material labelling

Designating the raw materials used in a product is also not legally prescribed in Switzerland and is carried out on a voluntary basis.

This is not the case in the European Union and lots of countries overseas. A number of regulations are in force, including Textile Regulation No.1007/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 September 2011. Discussions regarding designating the raw material composition of textiles go right back to the 1950s. At that time, discussions were initiated as a result of the criticism made by consumer associations with regard to “woolly” labelling principles.

To avoid any ambiguity, fibre names must be written out in full on the label. This is due to the fact that abbreviations are not officially standardised and can vary according to the industry (the synthetic fibre industry and clothing industry). Furthermore, information aimed at end users must always be written out in full.

For correct fibre content labelling, refer to the official table of textile fibres compiled by GINETEX or relevant EU directives. In addition to the official fibre names, their numbers and official category names are listed.