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Care Labels & Size Tags

Information for Care labels & Size Tags

Are you selling your clothing and items?  Did you know that there are strict rules and regulations regarding labelling?

CARE LABELS  – these are mandatory.


What items need labels?

Clothing, household textiles, apparel (including articles such as wedding dresses, christening gowns, and promotional, sample and flawed articles), furnishings, upholstered furniture, bedding, (including sleeping bags), mattresses, bed bases, piece goods and yarns made from textiles, plastics, plastic coated fabrics, suede, skins, hides, grain leathers and/or furs but not including goods specified below.

But not unsupported coats (including overcoats, jackets and the like) of PVC film, handkerchiefs, braces, garter suspenders, arm bands, belts, headwear.

The mandatory standard is based on Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 1957:1998, Textiles – Care labelling, as varied by Consumer Protection Notice No. 25 of 2010.  care labelling for clothing and textile products – labels should include appropriate instructions to help consumers care for the item.

To comply with the mandatory standard for care labelling you and your business must meet all labelling requirements for the products you supply. The following are some key labelling requirements of the mandatory standard.


Format of label

Care instructions must be:

  • permanently attached to articles
  • written in English
  • legible
  • appropriate and adequate for the care of the article so an article is not damaged when the user follows these instructions
  • accessible at point of sale (online traders are encouraged to make care information available on their websites).

Note: Care symbols alone are not sufficient.

Some hand-made goods are exempt from needing a permanent label. However where a permanent label is not provided for such goods, care instructions shall be provided by other means:

  • a removable ticket
  • a label attached to the goods
  • a pamphlet accompanying the goods
  • as printed instruction on the packaging.


Made-up goods for which care instructions may be provided in a form other than by a permanent label:

Adult’s, children’s and infant’s wear: Collars, neckwear, bow ties, gloves, mittens, all types of hosiery, incontinence garments, reversible garments, fur garments, bibs, washable nappies, squares of flannelette, terry towelling or muslin, baby pilchers.

Drapery: Face washers, serviettes, doilies, table cloths, tray cloths, centres, runners, duchess sets, mosquito netting and covers made from mosquito netting, butter muslin and gauze, tea towels, place mats, pot holders, finger tips, appliance covers for teapots, toasters or the like, hot water bottle covers.

Haberdashery: Elastic, elastic threads, ribbons, zips, iron-on binding patches or trim, velcro type fasteners, curtain making kits and all other small items of haberdashery used in the making of clothing and textile products where instructions are needed to ensure that the clothing or textile product is not damaged during cleaning and maintenance.

Furnishings: Cushions that are an integral part of a furniture suite, shower curtains.


What should the care label say?

Suppliers must ensure that care instructions are adequate and appropriate for the article.

For example, providing overly cautious instructions such as ‘dry-clean only’ or ‘hand wash in cold water only’ on a garment that a user can safely wash using other methods may breach the mandatory standard.

Adequate care instructions must include information on:

  • general care and warnings
  • washing
  • drying
  • ironing

Where an article can be laundered or dry-cleaned or both, care instructions for both treatments must appear on the label.

When an article is made of different materials, suppliers must provide care instructions that are suitable for all materials, including those most sensitive.


Size Labels: Mandatory for infant and children’s clothing

AS 1344-1997: Sizing coding scheme for women’s clothing – Underwear, outerwear and foundation garments was withdrawn in 2009. AS 1954-1976: Size designation scheme for men’s clothing (including multiple fitting outerwear and industrial wear) was withdrawn in 1998. AS1182-1997: Size coding scheme for infants’ and children’s clothing – Underwear and outerwear still exists. For further reference see EN 13402 European Standard for labelling clothes sizes.


Fibre Content: Mandatory in NSW

State regulations are still in force in New South Wales that require fibre content labelling of textile products. Further information on the NSW regulations can be found by visiting the NSW Office of Fair Trading website.


Country of Origin

Any item imported from overseas must state Country of origin.

Using the “Made in Australia” claim on your labels

To be able to claim that your product is “Made in Australia” is must meet two basic requirements as prescribed under the Country of Origin regulations:

The goods must be substantially transformed in Australia and;

50 per cent or more of the cost of production or manufacturing must be done in Australia.


Further Information

For further information please read Product Saftey Australia’s website and PDF and the Trade Practices Act.  Also there are strict laws regarding flammability testing for children’s sleepwear.  This is a good summary : http://infostore.saiglobal.com/store/getresource.aspx?path=/Publishing/Shop/ProductGuides/ProductGuides/Guide_to_Standards-Childrens_Products.pdf.

Please also be aware of the mandatory standards for other goods besides clothing – such as children’s toys and bedding.  Please see Product Saftey Australia for more details.