National Clothesline
The Federal Trade Commission now plans to hold its public roundtable on changes to the Care
Label Rule on March 28 in Washington, DC. Originally scheduled for Oct. 1, the roundtable was
postponed due to the government shutdown.
The process of revising the rule, which requires that every garment carry a label that tells how
it can be safely cleaned, began in 2011 when the FTC asked for comments on how the rule could
be updated and improved. The commission received dozen’s of comments with the drycleaning
industry providing the lion’s share, and a year later came out with a plan that proposed changes
in four key areas:
• Allowing the use of a “professionally wetclean” care instruction.
• Updating the definition of drycleaning to reflect current practices and account for new
cleaning solvents.
• Letting manufacturers use care symbols approved by the American Society of Testing and
Materials or the International Organization for Standard in place of written instructions.
• Clarifying what constitutes a reasonable basis for care instructions.
The primary focus of the roundtable is the proposal to allow the use of wetcleaning as a care
instruction. While the FTC has agreed to allow a wetcleaning label, many commenters said that it
should require a wetcleaning label on any garment that can be wetcleaned.
The commission has said that it doubts that “the benefits of requiring a wetcleaning instruction
would exceed the costs such a requirement would impose on manufacturers and importers.”
The FTC also wants the roundtable to address the cost of substantiating wetcleaning
instructions; the availability of wetcleaning services; consumer awareness of wetcleaning; and
the content of labels providing a wetcleaning instruction — whether it should say “professionally
wetclean” or simply “wetclean.”
Other aspects of the proposed rule changes will also be open for discussion. These include the
differences between ASTM International and both the 2005 and 2012 ISO care symbols; whether
labels should identify ISO symbols as such if used to comply with the rule; the change in the
meaning of the circle P symbol in the ASTM system; and consumer understanding of symbols. 
In addition, the roundtable will include a discussion about the absence of ASTM and ISO
symbols for solvents other than perchloroethylene and petroleum.
The roundtable also will address what constitutes a reasonable basis for care instructions.
The FTC said that participants will also have an opportunity to discuss issues related to care
labeling raised in comments filed in response to the 2012 proposal. Many cleaners told the FTC
that enforcement, or lack thereof, is a major problem with care labeling.
In a series of care label enforcement actions between 1992 and 2001, the FTC penalized 17
companies for care label violations. Since then there have been no formal FTC actions on care
The public roundtable will be from 9:15 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. at the FTC’s satellite building
conference center, 601 New Jersey Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC. Pre-registration is not
necessary but is encouraged To pre-register, e-mail your name and affiliation to

FTC reschedules roundtable
on care label revisions