FTC Votes to Reverse Course on Repeal of Fabric Care Labels

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For Release

The Federal Trade Commission voted in an open Commission meeting to retain the FTC Care Labeling Rule to ensure American consumers continue to get accurate information on how to take care of their fabrics and extend the life of their clothes. In a statement, the Commission also indicated that it will continue to consider ways to improve the Rule to the benefit of families and businesses.

The Care Labeling Rule has been in effect since 1971 and 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. Public comments solicited by the FTC over the past decade show the Care Labeling Rule continues to provide valuable guidance and serve as an important tool for consumers, manufacturers, retailers, designers and dry cleaners alike.

In July 2020, in the middle of the pandemic, the Commission voted 3-2 to propose repealing this consumer protection altogether. Following that action, the FTC received more than 200 comments, with an overwhelming majority opposed to 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 M. 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“After careful consideration, I believe the record supports retaining the Care Labeling Rule and that it should not be rescinded.”

Submissions to the most recent public comment period led the Commission to conclude that repealing the rule would not be in the public interest. Many individuals and small businesses opposed the repeal, emphasizing that buyers rely on labels to help extend the life of their clothes.

Other comments the FTC received from the apparel manufacturing and cleaning industries indicated 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 noted.

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

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