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FTC Reverses Course on Fabric Care Label Repeal

1971 Care instruction rule will stay in place

WASHINGTON — Earlier this month, the Federal Trade Commission voted in an open Commission meeting to retain the FTC Care Labeling Rule. The rule, enacted in 1971, is designed to give consumers accurate information on how to take care of their fabrics and extend the life of their clothes.

“There was little support for the repeal of the rule,” the FTC said in a statement regarding the vote. “The Commission will continue to consider ways to improve the Care Labeling Rule, but has determined it will not finalize the repeal as proposed.”

The rule requires manufacturers and importers to attach labels with care instructions for garments and certain piece goods, providing instructions for dry cleaning or washing, bleaching, drying and ironing clothing. In July 2020, the Commission voted 3-2 to propose repealing this consumer protection and sought comment on the issue. The FTC received more than 200 comments, with the vast majority opposing the repeal of the rule.

“The Federal Trade Commission first promulgated the Care Labeling Rule in 1971, with the goal of ensuring buyers were provided clear and accurate information on how to take care of their fabrics.  Since then, the agency periodically has reviewed the rule, seeking public comments to ensure the rule is keeping pace with new developments and still providing buyers with relevant information,” said FTC Chair Lina Khan in the open Commission meeting. “After careful consideration, I believe the record supports retaining the Care Labeling Rule and that it should not be rescinded.”

In the comments sent to the FTC about the proposed repeal, many individuals and small businesses opposed the repeal, saying that buyers rely on labels to help extend the life of their clothes.

The Commission also noted that apparel manufacturing and cleaning industries said that removing the labels would increase the likelihood that their customers’ items might be damaged in the wash and, as a result, expose their businesses to unnecessary liability.

The Commission voted 5-0 to issue a statement to notify the public that it will not repeal the Care Labeling Rule.

Care label

(Photo: © iStockphoto.com/imagestock)

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