Textiles Labelling Requirements in the United Kingdom

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Textile Labelling Requirements in the United Kingdom

The Textile Products (Labelling and Fibre Composition) Regulations set labelling requirements for textile products in the United Kingdom. The Regulations refer to the European Union Regulation (EU) 1007/2011, which requires the provision of fibre composition information for textile products.

In this guide, we explain covered and exempted products, fibre composition requirements (e.g. 100% Polyester), and information concerning care and size labelling.

The second part of this article consists of frequently answered questions related to UK textiles labelling requirements.


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The Textile Products (Labelling and Fibre Composition) Regulations

Although the UK has left the EU, the UK Regulations still refer to Regulation EU 1007/2011 on textile labelling and fibre composition.

The UK Regulations also set sanctions and penalties for failure to comply with the requirements of EU Regulation.

Covered products

Regulation EU 1007/2011 covers textile products, including the following:

a. Products containing a minimum of 80% by weight of textile fibres.

b. Furniture, sunshade coverings, and umbrellas containing a minimum of 80% by weight of textile parts.

c. The textile components of coverings for camping goods, mattresses, and the upper layer of multi-layer floors.

d. Textiles that are part of a product, as long as fibre composition is specified.

Exempted products

The regulation exempts:

a. Textile products commissioned to freelancers working from home or independent companies, provided that the property of the materials used is not transferred.

b. Custom textile products created by self-employed tailors.

Further, Annex V of the regulation lists textile products that are exempt from having to indicate textile fibre names or composition on labels and markings. We list here a few such products:

  • Sleeve-supporting armbands
  • Labels and badges
  • Pin cushions
  • Painted canvas
  • Toys

Fibre composition

Note that textile labels must only use fibre names listed in Annex I of Regulation EU 1007/2011. Here are a few such names:

  • Wool
  • Silk
  • Cotton
  • Kapok
  • Polyester

Requirements regarding fibre composition might also depend on the type of textile product. Articles 7-11 of the regulation describe those requirements for the following types of textile products:

  • Pure textile products (e.g. “100%”, “pure” or “all”)
  • Fleece wool or virgin wool products
  • Multi-fibre products (e.g. “40% pure cotton warp – pure flax weft”)
  • Decorative fibres and antistatic fibres
  • Multi-component textile products

Non-textile parts of animal origin

Article 12 of the regulation requires that textile products containing components that come from an animal must bear the phrase “Contains non-textile parts of animal origin.”

It also states that labelling or markings indicating a non-textile part of animal origin must not be misleading and be understandable to the consumer.

Footwear Labelling Regulations

The The Footwear (Indication of Composition) Labelling Regulations 1995 cover labelling requirements for footwear, including footwear that contain textile parts.

Information concerning the materials should be provided for materials that represent:

a. Minimum 80% of the surface area of the upper,

b. Minimum 80% of the surface area of the lining and sock, and

c. Minimum 80% of the volume of the outer sole.

Manufacturers may use pictograms or written indications on the label, as provided in Schedule 2. If they use written indications, those indications must be in the English language (e.g. “Textile”).

Care instructions

We couldn’t find any source that states that care labels are mandatory in the UK. However, the European Commission published a report stating that Regulation EU 1007/2011 does not need to address care labelling, as the voluntary standard EN ISO 3758 already covers care instructions.

As the UK follow Regulation EU 1007/20, we cannot find any source stating that care labelling is mandatory.

BS EN ISO 3758 – Textiles – Care Labelling Code Using Symbols

This standard covers care labelling for textiles, by setting symbols that are meant be used for marking textile products.

It also specifies a system to provide information on the harshest usable procedure that does not cause permanent damage to the product during the textile care process.

The standard covers the following textile treatments:

  • Washing
  • Bleaching
  • Drying
  • Ironing
  • Professional care

The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) has signed an agreement with GINETEX and COFREET, which co-own the trademark of the five care symbols that form the basis for the BS EN ISO 3758 standard, in order to use the symbols.

Size

As for care labelling, we couldn’t find any information stating that size labels are mandatory in the UK. The European Commission’s report also states that Regulation EU 1007/2011 does not need to address size labelling requirements because the voluntary standard EN 13402 – Size designation of clothes already covers those. As such, size labelling might not be mandatory in the UK.

Below, we provide some details concerning BS EN 13402, which is a standard divided in three parts.

BS EN 13402-1 – Terms, definitions and body measurement procedure

Part 1 of this standard aims to benefit consumers and the textile industry by harmonising and simplifying the body measurement of clothes, definitions, and terms. This part:

  • Defines body dimensions for clothing
  • Specifies a method for body measurement
  • Provides pictograms for use on clothing labels

BS EN 13402-2 – Primary and secondary dimensions

Part 2 of this standard aims to set a straightforward system that companies can use to inform consumers of the clothing size. This part:

  • Identifies primary and secondary dimensions for specific types of clothing
  • Is to be used in conjunction with BS EN 13402-1

BS EN 13402-3 – Measurements and intervals

Part 3 of this standard aims to harmonise and simplify the size labelling of clothes across the UK and Europe, as multiple different systems can confuse consumers. This part:

  • Focuses on size labelling based on body measurements with intervals
  • Provides versatility for all body shapes and clothing sizes

FAQ

Here is some information pertaining to frequently asked questions regarding textile labelling requirements in the UK.

Is labelling required for clothing textiles?

The UK refers to the Regulation EU 1007/2011, which requires to label clothing textiles with information such as:

  • Fibre composition (e.g. “virgin wool”)
  • Non-textile parts of animal origin

Different clothing textiles might have different fibre composition requirements. For instance:

a. Clothing made of a single textile requires a “100%”, “pure” or “all” indication on the label.

b. Fleece wool clothing should bear the name “fleece wool” if that is the exclusive material used.

Is care labelling mandatory for clothing textiles?

Regulation EU 1007/2011 does not mandate care labelling for clothing textiles, as voluntary standards already exist. Although care labelling is not mandatory for clothing textiles, the provision of such might:

a. Benefit consumers by informing them of proper laundry care methods.

b. Lessen the chance of product returns, due to the fact that consumers might be less likely to ruin the purchased products by applying the incorrect treatment (e.g. washing a product at temperature that is too high for the material).

According to the UK General Product Safety Regulations, warnings and instructions might be important to ensure that a product is safe for the consumer. In practical terms, this means that care labels might help consumers to use the products in the safest possible way.

Is size mandatory for clothing textiles?

Regulation EU 1007/2011 does not set size labelling requirements. As such, the provision of size labelling might not be mandatory for clothing textiles.

However, it is practical from a sales standpoint to provide size labelling because this benefits:

a. Customers, by informing them of whether their chosen clothing item fits them.

b. Companies, by reducing product returns and losses (as many people and companies wouldn’t purchase clothing that have no size information.

Note that the BS EN 13402 standard provides general guidelines for clothing size labels.

Is labelling required for children’s clothing?

The regulation mandates that clothing textiles, inclusive of children’s clothing, carry labels that inform of the product’s fibre composition.

Annex VI of the regulation lists textile products that require sufficient inclusive labelling before placement on the market. This includes children’s ties and bow ties.

While it is not mandatory to provide size and care labels for children’s clothing, it is practical to provide such to benefit consumers and reduce the risk of product returns.

Is labelling required for home textiles?

In general, home textile products require labelling that informs of fibre composition. This includes:

  • Furniture containing textile parts
  • Textile components of mattress coverings
  • Textile components of the upper layer of multi-layer floor coverings

However, Annex V lists textile products that do not require labels or markings. This list includes home textiles such as:

  • Egg cosy covers
  • Make-up cases
  • Painted canvas

Is labelling required for textile accessories?

In general, textile accessories require labels that indicate the products’ fibre composition and non-textile parts that come from animals.

However, Annex V lists textile products that do not require this labelling. Here are a few such products:

  • Textile gaiters
  • Textile sleeve protectors
  • Textile oven gloves
  • (USA & EU)

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    Sources: Our articles are written in part based on publicly available information, and our own practical experience relating to product compliance. These are some of the primary sources we use:

    • ec.europa.eu
    • echa.europa.eu
    • ecfr.gov
    • cpsc.gov
    • ftc.gov
    • fcc.gov
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