The survey was timed to coincide with the arrival of Persil’s Revive home care kit for dryclean only and handwash clothes. It questioned 1000 men and women across the country using a selection of seven carelabel signs: do not machine or hand wash; tumble dry on low heat; drycleanable; do not dryclean; dry flat; drip dry, and line dry.

Only 17% of those questioned could recognise the symbols as part of a washing label.

Announcing the survey Persil said that its Revive product would give the dryclean only sign new meaning as Revive would allow people to care for such clothes at home in between trips to the drycleaners.

Asked to comment on the survey, TSA chief executive Murray Simpson said that he believed debate about the consumer’s understanding of carelabels missed the point. The real issue to be addressed said Mr Simpson was the failure to test garments accurately for carelabelling purposes. If we could get manufacturers, cleaners and retailers working together to that end it really would be a big achievement that would benefit the consumer, he concluded.

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