What Goes on a Printed Tag?

The US Government is very specific about labeling.  Some merchandise companies may allow you to subvert the guidelines but they are not doing you any favors, it can actually be really bad if caught by the Federal Trade Commission. 

These are non-negotiable. We cannot list “Printed in the US” or “Processed in the US” instead of listing what country the shirt is manufactured in, it *must* have the country information on the garment. If you are unaware of the information needed, please leave your tag files editable and add place holders for the information.

The following information is taken directly from the Federal Trade Commission, and if you’d like to read the articles, you can do so here: https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/threading-your-way-through-labeling-requirements-under-textile / https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/clothes-captioning-complying-care-labeling-rule

Federal labeling requirements for textile and wool products, enforced by the FTC, require that most of these products have a label listing the fiber content, country of origin and identity of the manufacturer or another business responsible for marketing or handling the item.

The Commission’s recent amendments to the Textile Rules are effective May 5, 2014.


If you manufacture, import, sell, offer to sell, distribute or advertise products covered by the Textile and Wool Acts, you must comply with the labeling requirements.
You are exempt if you are:

  • a common carrier or contract carrier shipping or delivering textile products in the ordinary course of business
  • a processor or finisher working under contract to a manufacturer (unless you change the fiber content contrary to the terms of the contract)
  • a manufacturer or seller of textile products for export only or
  • an advertising agency or publisher disseminating ads or promotional material about textile products


In general, most clothing and textile products commonly used in a household are covered by the labeling requirements:


  • Clothing, except for hats and shoes
  • Handkerchiefs
  • Scarves
  • Bedding, including sheets, covers, blankets, comforters, pillows, pillowcases, quilts, bedspreads and pads (but not outer coverings for mattresses or box springs)
  • Curtains and casements
  • Draperies
  • Tablecloths, napkins and doilies
  • Floor coverings: rugs, carpets and mats
  • Towels, washcloths and dishcloths
  • Ironing board covers and pads
  • Umbrellas and parasols
  • Bats or batting
  • Flags with a heading or that are bigger than 216 square inches
  • Cushions
  • All fibers, yarns and fabrics, but not packaging ribbons
  • Furniture slipcovers and other furniture covers
  • Afghans and throws
  • Sleeping bags
  • Antimacassars (doilies)
  • Hammocks
  • Dresser and other furniture scarves

The labeling requirements do not apply until the products are ready for sale to consumers. Items shipped or delivered in an intermediate stage of production and not labeled with the required information must include an invoice disclosing the fiber, country of origin, manufacturer or dealer identity, and the name and address of the person or company issuing the invoice. If the manufacturing or processing of the products is substantially complete, the products are considered ready for sale. Indeed, even if small details like hemming, cuffing or attaching buttons to garments are yet to be finished, the products still must be labeled.

The following items are not covered by the Textile Act labeling requirements:

Not Covered #

  • Upholstery or mattress stuffing that is not reused. If the stuffing is reused, the label must say so.
  • Outer coverings of upholstered furniture, mattresses and box springs
  • Linings, interlinings, filling or padding used for structural purposes. If used for warmth, though, the fiber must be disclosedIn addition, if you state the fiber content of linings, interlinings, filling or padding, the products are not exempt.
  • Stiffenings, trimmings, facings or interfacings
  • Backings of carpets or rugs and pads or cushions for use under carpets, rugs or other floor coverings
  • Sewing and handicraft threads
  • Bandages, surgical dressings and other products subject to the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act
  • Waste materials not used in a textile product
  • Shoes, overshoes, boots, slippers and all outer footwear. But, socks and hosiery are covered; slippers made of wool are covered under The Wool Rules.
  • Headwear, including hats, caps or anything worn exclusively on the head.  Wool hats are covered under The Wool Rules.
  • Textiles used in handbags or luggage, brushes, lampshades, toys, feminine hygiene products, adhesive tapes and adhesive sheets, cleaning cloths impregnated with chemicals, or diapers


If your product is covered by the Textile or Wool Act and Rules, it must be labeled to show the fiber content. For products covered by the Textile Act and Rules, the generic fiber names and percentages by weight of each constituent fiber must be listed in descending order of predominance. For example:

65% rayon
35% polyester

If the product is made from one fiber, you may use the word “All” instead of “100%.” For example: “100% Wool” or “All Wool.”

The disclosure requirement applies only to fibers in yarns, fabrics, clothing and other household items. If part of the product is made from a non-fibrous material — such as plastic, glass, wood, paint, metal or leather — you don’t have to include that on your label. That includes the contents of zippers, buttons, beads, sequins, leather patches, painted designs, or any other parts that are not made from fiber, yarn, or fabric.

In general, you may name only the fibers that comprise 5% or more of the fiber weight. Fibers of less than 5% should be disclosed as “other fiber” or “other fibers” and not by their generic name or fiber trademark.

Exceptions to the 5% rule: #

  1. You must disclose wool or recycled wool by name and percentage weight, even if it is less than 5% of the product.
  2. You may state the name and percentage of a fiber that is less than 5% of the product if the fiber has a definite functional significance at that amount. For example, if a small amount of spandex is used for elasticity, the label could say:
96% Acetate
4% Spandex

If nylon is added to a wool garment for durability, the label could say:

96% Wool
4% Nylon

You don’t have to disclose the functional significance, as long as there is one.

If there are multiple, non-functionally-significant fibers present in amounts of less than 5% each, designate their aggregate percentage, even if it’s greater than 5%. For example:

82% Cotton
10% Polyamide
8% Other Fibers
90% Cotton
4% Polyamide
6% Other Fibers


Products covered by the Textile and Wool Acts must be labeled to show the country of origin.

  • Imported products must identify the country where the products were processed or manufactured.
  • Products made entirely in the U.S. of materials also made in the U.S. must be labeled “Made in U.S.A.” or an equivalent phrase.
  • Products made in the U.S. of imported materials must be labeled to show the processing or manufacturing that takes place in the U.S., as well as the imported component.
  • Products manufactured partly in the U.S. and partly abroad must identify both aspects.

Note on FTC Rules and Customs Regulations: U.S. Customs and Border Protection has country of origin labeling requirements separate from those in the Textile and Wool Acts and Rules. For example, FTC Rules do not require labeling until a textile product is in its finished state for sale to the consumer. Textile products imported in an intermediate stage may be accompanied by an invoice with the required information in place of being labeled. However, Customs may require that an unfinished product be marked with the country of origin. Manufacturers and importers must comply with both FTC and Customs requirements.

Imported products made entirely abroad #

A textile product made entirely abroad must be labeled with the name of the country where it was processed or manufactured. Importers and other marketers should check Customs regulations to determine the appropriate country of origin for products made entirely abroad. The determination depends on the type of product and the country or countries where processing or manufacturing occurs. The Textile and Wool Acts don’t define the terms “processing” and “manufacturing.” The terms refer to the steps in the production process relevant to determining an imported product’s country of origin. The Textile and Wool Acts require disclosure of the country where an imported product was processed or manufactured. So it is not sufficient to disclose that a product was made in the European Union, for example, instead of the specific country where it was made.

Unqualified “Made in U.S.A.” labels #

A label may say, “Made in U.S.A.” only if the product is made completely in the U.S. of materials that were made in the U.S. If a U.S. manufacturer uses imported greige goods that are dyed, printed and finished in the U.S., for example, they may not be labeled “Made in U.S.A.” without qualification.

Note: In determining a product’s country of origin, you don’t have to consider the origin of parts of the product exempt from content disclosure, such as zippers or buttons.

Products made in the U.S.A. with imported materials #

The label must indicate that the product contains imported materials. The label may identify the country of origin of the imported materials, but it doesn’t have to. It can say, “Made in U.S.A. of imported fabric” or “Knitted in U.S.A. of imported yarn.” This disclosure must appear as a single statement, without separating the “Made in U.S.A.” and “imported” references.

Manufacturers should be aware that for certain products — including sheets, towels, comforters, handkerchiefs, scarves, napkins and other “flat” goods — Customs requires identification of the country where the fabric was made. To comply with Customs and FTC requirements for this group of products, the label must identify both the U.S. and the country of origin of the fabric. For example: “Made in U.S.A. of fabric made in China” or “Fabric made in China, cut and sewn in U.S.A.”

Identification of processing or manufacturing that takes place in the U.S. and abroad #

If processing or manufacturing takes place in the U.S. and another country, the label must identify both. For example:

Made in Sri Lanka,
finished in U.S.A.
Comforter filled,
sewn and finished in U.S.A.
with shell made in Malaysia 
Assembled in U.S.A.
of imported components

Note: There are special requirements for the placement of country of origin information.

Country names #

The name of the country of origin must appear in English. Abbreviations like U.S.A. or Gt. Britain and other spellings close to the English version — Italie for Italy, or Brasil for Brazil — may be used if they clearly identify the country. Adjective forms of country names are permitted — for example, “Chinese Silk” — but not if using the adjective form of a country name is deceptive to refer to a type of product. For example, using “Spanish lace” when the lace is Spanish in style, but not made in Spain is deceptive. Using the abbreviations “CAN” and “MEX” for “Canada” and “Mexico” is acceptable under FTC Rules, but may not be under Customs requirements.

You don’t have to use the phrases “made in” or “product of” with the name of the country of origin unless it is necessary to avoid confusion or deception. You can place a symbol like a flag next to the name of a country to show the item is a product of that country. If more than one country is named on the label, phrases or words describing the specific processing in each country usually are necessary to convey the required information to the consumer.

One step removed rule #

In deciding whether to mark a product as made in the U.S. either in whole or in part, a manufacturer also must consider the origin of materials that are one step removed from the particular manufacturing process. For example, a yarn manufacturer must identify imported fiber. A manufacturer of knitted garments must identify imported yarn. A manufacturer of apparel made from cloth must identify the imported fabric.

Country of origin in mail-order advertising #

You must disclose the country of origin information in mail order or internet advertising, such as catalogs, including that disseminated on the internet. Product descriptions in these ads must include a statement that the product was made in the U.S.A., imported or both.

  • Use “Made in U.S.A. and Imported” to indicate manufacture in the U.S. from imported materials or part processing in the U.S. and part in a foreign country.
  • Use “Made in U.S.A. or Imported” to reflect that some units of an item originate from a domestic source and others from a foreign source.
  • Use “Made in U.S.A.” only if all units were made completely in the U.S. of materials also made in the U.S.

Of course, the description must be consistent with the origin labeling on the advertised product.

Writing Care Instructions #

Labels for clothing must have a washing or drycleaning instruction. If an item can be washed and dry cleaned, the label needs only one of these instructions. Remember that consumers like having washing instructions for items that can be washed. If you prefer, give instructions for both washing and dry cleaning.

Sometimes, because of the particular combination of components, a garment can’t be safely washed or drycleaned, but a manufacturer still wants to market it. The label on such a garment must say “Do not wash — Do not dry clean.”

We recommend, but don’t require, that you use the terms defined in the Rule’s Appendix A Glossary when they apply.

You may use the care symbols from the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) designated as ASTM Standard D5489-96c Standard Guide for Care Symbols for Care Instructions on Textile Products, in place of words, but the symbols must fulfill the requirements of the Rule. These symbols are similar, but not identical, to the symbols designated as an international standard by the International Standards Organization (ISO) and used in many European countries.

Although only the ASTM symbols are approved for use in the United States, in September 2012 the Commission proposed amending the Rule to allow the use of the updated ASTM symbols in ASTM Standard D5489-07, and the ISO symbols in ISO Standard 3758:2005(E).

Washing Instructions: Five Elements #

One: Washing by hand or by machine

The label must say whether the product should be washed by hand or machine, and give a water temperature setting if regular use of hot water will harm the product.

Two: Bleaching

If all commercially available bleaches can be used on a regular basis without harming the product, the label doesn’t have to mention bleach.

If using chlorine bleach on a regular basis will harm the product, but using non-chlorine bleach on a regular basis won’t, the label must say, “Only non-chlorine bleach when needed.”

If all commercially available bleaches would harm the product when used on a regular basis, the label must say, “No bleach” or “Do not bleach.”

Three: Drying

The label must say whether the product should be dried by machine or another method. Unless regular use of high temperatures will harm the product when machine dried, it’s not necessary to indicate a temperature setting.

Four: Ironing

If a product needs repeated ironing, the care label must give ironing information. If regular use of a hot iron won’t harm a product, it’s not necessary to indicate a temperature setting.

Five: Warnings

If you have a reasonable expectation that a consumer could use a care procedure that will harm the product, the label must contain a warning like “Do not,” “No,” or “Only,” to warn against the harmful procedure. For example, if a garment will be harmed by ironing, and you expect a consumer could occasionally “touch up” the garment, the label should state, “Do not iron.”

If a care procedure on one product could harm another product that is washed with it, the label must include a warning. For example, if an item is not colorfast, the label must say “Wash with like colors” or “Wash separately.”

Warnings aren’t necessary for alternative procedures that could be harmful. For example, if the instructions state “Dry flat,” it’s not necessary to state “Do not tumble dry.”

Violations #

Failing to provide reliable care instructions and warnings for the useful life of an item is a violation of the FTC Act. Violators are subject to enforcement actions and penalties of up to $16,000 for each offense. In enforcement actions, the FTC contends that each mislabeled garment is a violation. Since 1990, the FTC has brought 16 enforcement actions; 15 were resolved by settlements and one was litigated. Penalties have ranged as high as $300,000.

To Summarize #

  • Your Logo & Company Name
  • Country of Origin
  • The Material of the Garment
  • Care Instructions

Do yourself a favor when creating your labels, please follow the guidelines. We try not to be rude about enforcing them but when we do it, we are looking out for your best interests. We don’t want to see you get fined over something easily remedied.