The advice sheets below have the latest information on fair trading. If you need more advice call 01753 475111 (Enforcement & Regulatory option).
In the guide
This guidance is for England, Scotland & Wales
The Textile Products (Labelling and Fibre Composition) Regulations 2012 require all textile products to carry a label indicating the fibre content, either on the item or the packaging. If a product consists of two or more components with different fibre contents, the content of each must be shown. Only certain names can be used for textile fibres and these are listed in the Regulations along with a list of products that are not required to bear fibre content.
There is a general obligation to state the full fibre composition of textile products.
A textile product can be defined in any of the following ways:
All items must carry a label indicating the fibre content, either on the item or the packaging.
The label should be durable, easily legible, visible and accessible. If the product is supplied to a wholesaler the indication may be contained within business documents - the invoice, for example. A textile product consisting of two or more fibres accounting for 85% of the finished product should be marked with the fibre followed by a percentage - for example, 'cotton 80%, polyester 15%, nylon 5%'.
If a product consists of two or more components with different fibre contents - for example, a jacket with a lining - the content of each must be shown. Any decorative matter that makes up 7% or less of the product is excluded from the indication of fibre content. The word 'pure' should only be used where the garment is made up of only one fibre. The word 'silk' cannot be used to describe the texture of any other fibre - for example, 'silk acetate' is not permitted. Only certain names can be used for textile fibres and these are listed in annex I of EU Regulation (EU) No 1007/2011 on textile fibre names and related labelling and marking of the fibre composition of textile products (see link in 'Key legislation' below). This list may be updated as new technology produces new fibres.
If you are using, buying or selling a fibre product with a name that does not appear on this list, contact your local trading standards service for advice.
The use of non-textile parts of animal origin must be clearly labelled or marked using the phrase 'contains non-textile parts of animal origin'.
There are special provisions that relate to the required method of labelling of corsetry products, etch-printed and embroidered textiles, velvet and plush textiles or textiles resembling velvet or plush, and floor coverings and carpets where the backing and pile are composed of different fibres.
Textile products in sold in multipacks - such as floorcloths, cleaning cloths, handkerchiefs, bun nets and hair nets, wash-gloves, face flannels, etc - of the same type and fibre composition may have inclusive rather than individual labelling. The full list of products to which this allowance may be applied can be found in annex VI of EU Regulation (EU) No 1007/2011.
Annex VII of EU Regulation (EU) No 1007/2011 contains information on textile product components that are not taken into account in determining fibre compositions.
Where products are advertised in such a way that they can be ordered by reference solely to the description in the advertisement, the Regulations require an indication of fibre content to appear in the advertisement. Advertisements include catalogues, the internet, circulars, price lists and trade literature.
It is an offence to supply or offer to supply textile products that do not comply with the above requirements. The maximum penalty is a fine.
In addition to the specific textile legislation, the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 prohibit misleading actions and omissions when describing products and services, as well as misleading prices (see 'Consumer protection from unfair trading').
Last reviewed / updated: December 2016
This information is intended for guidance; only the courts can give an authoritative interpretation of the law.
The guide's 'Key legislation' links may only show the original version of the legislation, although some amending legislation is linked to separately where it is directly related to the content of a guide. Information on amendments to UK legislation can be found on each link's 'More Resources' tab; amendments to EU legislation are usually incorporated into the text.