Home bathroom and sanitarySymbols on the washing machine: meaning of all signs

Symbols on the washing machine: meaning of all signs

Washing machines are an essential device of modern households, because they provide fresh linen, without which man has to take care of himself to this exhausting task. However, the operation of many washing machines is not so easy, especially if it is an older model. The reason: the symbols. These are often little or not explained.

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Washing symbols


The pre-wash icon consists of a tray and a vertical line in the middle that does not touch the tray. It is mainly used to soak heavily soiled or dense fabrics such as curtains. It is often pictured together with a temperature gauge.

main wash

The prewash symbol consists of a bath and two vertical dashes in the middle that do not touch the tub. As with the pre-wash, a temperature display for the wash temperature can be displayed next to the main wash. It marks the longest part of the full wash cycle.

do the washing up

For rinsing, three characters are used.

1. There is a tub in which drops are coming from above, but there is no shower head visible.

2. A tub is shown in the middle of a wave line was drawn, which stands for water.

3. There is a shower head or shower with water drops falling down.

Most often, the first and third variants are used. The second variant is also present as one of the symbols for hand washing. If your washing machine has neither the 1st nor the 3rd character, you should look for a half-full pan. If this is also missing, your device probably will not support this feature. Rinsing is necessary to flush the detergent out of the machine.


The symbol for the softener is a stylized flower with five leaves, which is displayed either alone or in a vat that may be empty or filled with water (wavy line). This symbol indicates when and if softener is used.


For spinning, there is a spiral that points to the right or left depending on the manufacturer. If the spiral is either crossed out with an X or the lines are broken several times, the machine will not spin. The spin will cause excess water to be thrown out of clothing so you do not have to get it dripping wet out of the machine.

Tip: In addition to classic skidding, modern machines also have a symbol for precision spinning. In this, the spiral sits over a tub with a wavy line in the middle.


If the symbols on your washing machine have a tap, you can see if water is being pumped into the machine. The faucet can be aligned to the right or left, sometimes a drop is drawn directly to the tap to illustrate the function. Some machines have a crossed-out variant of this symbol, meaning that no water can enter the machine. Some manufacturers use only one or both symbols.

Little water is used

This symbol is a bit tricky because it can quickly be mistaken for the separate pump icon. If the washing machine uses less water, for example due to a special program, a tub is shown that is half full of water. At the bottom of the tub then shows an arrow down. This symbol is rarely used today and therefore it will most often be pumping, not the use of less water. Most modern machines regulate this by themselves.


The sign of the pumping out looks just the same as that for using less water, but the water level in the tub is different. This is displayed on the bottom of the tub. Rarely is the tub completely filled. However, the arrow always points downwards. Often, the symbol is accompanied by the ejection symbol and indicates that the water is pumped out after spinning, which is the last step before opening the washing machine door.

Reduced speed

A reduced speed is sometimes displayed behind the ejection symbol in the form of the fraction 1/2. This symbol was mainly used earlier and is due to today's ability to adjust even the speed of the spin cycle, little more use. However, you must make sure that this symbol is behind the ejection symbol.

wash temperature

There are actually no symbols for the wash temperature. However, each front washing machine has a number of temperature readings that show exactly how high it will be during the wash cycle.

The typical degree numbers are:

  • 90 ° C
  • 60 ° C
  • 45 ° C
  • 30 ° C

With this you can quickly see if it is, for example, cooking or delicates.

short program

The short program icons are very diverse and are often "designed" by the manufacturer. However, there are some that are used by most.

1. A running stick figure is shown running either to the right or to the left. An arm is clearly shown in the racing position. Rarely, lines drawn to the rear are added to illustrate the speed.

2. A clock with a time in minutes is shown. This should clarify the short washing time. For greater clarity, a portion of the clock may be blackened to indicate, for example, 30 or 15 minutes.

3. A clock with three lines on one side and a time indication is shown. The three lines are intended to indicate the speed of the program as in variant 1.

Please note that not all manufacturers use a symbol for short programs.

cold wash

The symbol for a cold wash, ie the use of unheated water directly from the pipe, is represented by a snowflake or a snow crystal.


The symbol for the cooking linen is a heavily dirty top with long or short sleeves. Mostly the stain is on the left side of the top. Not all manufacturers use it. Similarly, cooking wash is represented by an empty arrow with a degree within the arrow. These are usually wash programs that wash at 45 ° C or 60 ° C. Another symbol for cooking linen is a sign reminiscent of an open cotton capsule, which is viewed from the front.


Hand wash is presented by two icons.

1. A tub filled with water, in which a hand dips diagonally or straight.

2. A tub is shown in the middle of a wave line was drawn, which stands for water.

As described above, the second variant may be confused with the symbol for purging. Modern washing machines usually use variant 1, as it clearly indicates hand washing. So always look for the hand.


The symbol for washing clothes for woolen clothing is shown on the washing machine with the official wool seal. Managed by Australian subsidiary Australian Wool Innovation Limited, it features stylized cotton fibers still attached to the plant. Curved lines are used for this. Sometimes the English word for wool, "wool", stands under the sign.


The program for silk is characterized by a once folded silk scarf, one side of which is longer than the other. This symbol is quite new and is mainly offered by modern devices as a function. Often, the word "silk" is next to or below the symbol.

Tip: An advantage of the silk program is the possibility to wash linen and viscose with this gently. However, you should not wash these fabrics together.


The symbol for delicates is a laundry tub that is filled with water and has an arrow pointing upwards. That is, more water is used to gently wash the laundry. Likewise, a spring can be used for delicate washing, which also corresponds to the sensitive symbol.


The symbol for so-called sensitive programs is a spring that can be clearly seen, even if each manufacturer uses a different version.


The symbol for synthetics is reminiscent of an Erlenmeyer flask connected to a tube pointing either to the right or to the left.

Sensitive substances

Programs for delicate non-silk fabrics are displayed with a stylized butterfly in various designs, either from above or, more rarely, from the side. Not every manufacturer uses the sign.

Eco icon

The eco symbol is always represented as E, but in different variants. It used to be a simple, big "E" while today a little e is used. Depending on the manufacturer, this can be shown with or without a curved line, similar to the @ symbol. Earlier machines equipped with special eco-programs were given a different symbol. This was a laundry tub, which was filled with a large star of three strokes.

  • a horizontal line in the middle
  • a line from top right to bottom left
  • a line from top left to bottom right

This symbol is actually no longer to be found today, since eco-symbols today uniformly use the E. Also, for eco-cotton programs, an empty arrow often resembles one of the symbols for cooking linen.

High water level

A high water level was formerly marked with a wash tub, which was filled to the top. Depending on the manufacturer, the line for the water level was completely straight or wavy.


Also one of the old symbols was the indication for dripping wet laundry. This symbol is represented by a wash tub with two lines. Between the two lines is a star, *, pictured. The symbol should clarify that the laundry stays longer in the water.

power saving mode

In old washing machines, there was a power saving mode, which is taken over by the machines today or can be adjusted by you. The old energy-saving mode was shown as a big "E" similar to the eco-symbol. This is no longer used today. However, a small "e" with a curved line can also stand for the energy-saving mode. If there is a plug at the end of the curved line, this is clear.


If you have a washer-dryer, a stylized sun indicates that the washer is drying or that you can add a dryer program to it.


Jeans programs are displayed with a symbol reminiscent of a pair of jeans from behind. Especially the two back pockets are clearly visible. Mostly the sign is pictured with a cotton capsule.


For lingerie, one or two springs are often used. This varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.

Mixed laundry

Mixed wash is marked by a symbol showing a shirt in front of a t-shirt.

Antibacterial cleaning

Some machines illustrate the antibacterial effect of cooking laundry with an extra symbol. This is a magnifying glass in different versions.

door lock

The door lock is made clear by a padlock, which can either be open or closed. If the symbol is lit, you can not open the door.

Necessary maintenance

Some modern machines have a symbol that presents the head of a pipe wrench. This indicates a necessary maintenance.

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