TEXTILE CARE SYMBOLS WERE FIRST INTRODUCED OVER 50 YEARS AGO
Until the mid-fifties, textiles consisted almost entirely of natural fibers. The new washing machines were generally used to wash white and coloured cotton and linen textiles. Two washing programs were therefore sufficient: 95° C for boiling and 60° C for non-colorfast dyed materials.
In the early sixties, chemical fibers were developed on a wide scale. At the same time, modern finishing techniques (easy care etc.) were introduced for natural fibers. New manufacturing techniques for the production of garments such as front fixing, bonding and welding of seams etc. also appeared on the market. Fashion developed at a remarkable rate. New sophisticated washing machines were launched. Textile care, once easy and straightforward, became increasingly complex. Whether informed consumers or experimented cleaning professionals, no one was able to grasp the big picture when it came to efficient care for textiles and damage control, at all times.
In parallel to these ongoing technological developments, trade relations became far more international. Verbal care information was no longer sufficient and the use of symbols to avoid the use of different languages became vital!
In 1963, GINETEX introduced the care labelling symbols
On March 26th, 1963, following several International Symposiums for Textile Care Labelling at the end of the 1950's, the international textile care labelling organization GINETEX ("Groupement Internationale d’Etiquetage pour l’Entretien des Textiles") was founded, with head offices in Paris. The care symbols became registered trademarks in most countries. The founding members were the Benelux countries, the Federal Republic of Germany, France and Switzerland. The guiding principles of GINETEX defined at the time still remain largely valid today. However, with the latest technical and ecological developments, the care labelling system is constantly called to centre stage.