What does it all mean? Not all those who launder are lost.

Have you ever wandered down to the laundry room, pulled out a soiled shirt for inspection, and found alien hieroglyphics blinking back up at you? Are you secretly stoked when crop tops and ratty tights become trendy because you’ve got a closet full of dryer casualties?

The average American throws away around 68 pounds of clothing a year. Time to learn to take care of your clothes, America. It’ll make your clothes last much longer — which a) is more sustainable than buying more, and b) will make your mom (or rad dad) proud. Here’s the Rosetta Stone for decoding laundry labels. (We know this is remedial algebra for some of you, but let’s be honest: Some of us are 25-year-olds who can barely manage getting dressed.)

Click to embiggen.

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In order to keep this chart handy, print it off and hang it above your washer. Or, if you’re a renter like me, tape it to your detergent or laundry basket.

Alternate ideas if you’re opposed to wasting a piece of paper:

  • Bookmark this page and keep your iPad with your dryer sheets.
  • Cross-stitch it on your organic cotton socks. ALL FIVE OF THEM.
  • Get a (vegan) tattoo of the symbols. Bonus: Tattooing it on your back, so someone still has to check your tag for you. Bonus bonus: Sassy quip about wrinkles.

Related: Why you shouldn’t be buying clothing that falls apart in the washer in the first place.

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