Carel labeling is often confusing, and in the USA it is "Required". Due to the fact that it is regulated, you better make sure to learn the facts. Unfortunately, I do not know all of the facts, but at least we can start the conversation...
Today I received the following question from a viewer of the ApparelSearch.com website:
"if a garment is 100% cotton and the washing label says to wash warm will it, 1. shrink and how much?, and 2. does it mean the garment was prewashed and already shrunk? "
Here is my response:
"That is an interesting question, and I do not think that there is a single answer. Wash warm may have been placed on the care label for one of many reasons. Without doing testing, their is no way for you (the consumer) to know exactly how much the fabric will shrink during washing.
Most large retailers have a shrinkage standard that they require from their vendors, but their is no way for you to determine the shrinkage from looking at the care instructions. Also, I do not think that reading the label will guarantee in one way or the other if the garment (or fabric) had been pre-washed. In all honesty, I am NOT an authority on care labeling, shrinkage, testing etc. You may be better served by asking your question to an actual testing lab. If you go to the main page on Apparel Search, you will find a link along the left border to QUALITY TESTING
. If you click that link you will be taken to a section that will provide you information about various testing labs that specialize in textiles. You can ask them your question about what "wash warm" truly means in regard to shrinkage.
Some times "fabric" is pre-washed, and sometimes garments are pre-washed (more rare then fabric washing). Either way, I do not think a typical care label is required to list reference to whether or not the fabric has been pre-shrunk. Again, I am not an expert on that so you should do you own research.
To learn more about care labels, you can visit the Care Label
section on the site."
If anyone has any additional thoughts on this subject please advise your comments.