care label on fabric

What Does ‘P’ in a Circle Mean on Clothes?

It’s essential to look after and wash clothes correctly, otherwise they’ll shrink, fade or become completely unwearable.

The easiest way to clean your laundry properly is to read the care tag on each piece of clothing, figure out what each care symbol signifies, and wash the items accordingly.

The symbols found on care labels are instructions on how to wash the garments we own, and these tags are placed on virtually every item of clothing we have.

Yet, with so many different symbols, it can be difficult to pin down what each clothing symbol actually means. One symbol that puzzles lots of people is the circular symbol with a ‘P’ in the centre.

So, what does a circle with a ‘P’ in the middle signify?

The circular symbol you see on clothes tags means that the item of clothing should be dry cleaned by a professional dry cleaner. And the ‘P’ in the centre of the circle informs the dry cleaner what solvent and method to use to clean the item.

fabric care label

You don’t need to worry or do anything about the letter inside the circle because the letter is there for the dry cleaners’ benefit. It’s their job to read the letter and to clean the outfit using the right kind of chemical(s).

If a cleaner sees a ‘P’ on a garment, in general, it means that they can use solvents, including tetrachloroethylene (PERC), to clean your outfit, but they cannot use products that contain/are trichloroethylene to wash/treat your garment. Trichloroethylene is a colourless liquid that can damage delicate materials.

As a side note, if you see the letter ‘A’ in a circle on a care label, it means that a dry cleaner can clean your garment using any solvent.

If you see the letter ‘F’ in a circle, it tells the dry cleaner that they can only use a petroleum solvent to clean the item of clothing. And if you see the letter ‘W’ in a circle, a dry cleaner will have to wet clean your garment for you.

care label on clothes

In addition to this, if you see a blank circle, this means that the garment can be dry cleaned and doesn’t need to be treated in a special way.

A blank circle with a huge cross going through the middle, on the flipside, means that the item cannot be dry cleaned! The chemicals used during the dry-cleaning process would likely damage the material. It is, therefore, better to avoid cleaning the items in this manner.

You must adhere to the information on your item of clothing’s care label because if you don’t stick to the guidance, you could ruin your garment by cleaning it incorrectly. And in the worst case, your outfit could be wrecked beyond repair.

P in a circle symbol in clothes care label

So, if you see a dry-cleaning symbol on a care tag, get an expert dry cleaner to clean your item of clothing for you!

To find out what all the other symbols on your outfit’s care label mean, see our guide to UK clothing symbols.