U.S. Labeling Requirements for Textile, Apparel, Footwear and Travel Goods

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforce labeling laws and acts in the United States. In general, textile and apparel products sold in the United States must be labeled with the following information: the fiber content, the country of origin, the manufacturer or dealer identity, and the care instructions. For a detailed description of these requirements and other important labeling information, please see the FTC website - Clothing and Textiles. Also, Threading Your Way Through the Labeling Requirements Under the Textile & Wool Acts and Clothes Captioning: Complying with the Care Labeling Rule are very helpful publications.

Labels containing fiber content, country of origin, the identification of the manufacturer, importer, or other dealer, and care instructions must be present at the time the end user takes possession of the good. Labels containing care instructions must be attached permanently to the item. While the labeling requirements do not apply until the product is ready to be sold to the end user, it is important to note that U.S. Customs and Border Protection may have different regulations and producing the labeling information for the goods being imported may be a determining factor in the clearance process. If goods are being shipped in an intermediate stage of manufacturing it is important that an invoice with the above information accompanies the goods.

The care label must state what the regular care is and what care is needed for the ordinary use of the product. It is important to note that the symbols designated in ASTM Standard D5489-07 are acceptable and that those used in Europe are not.

Also see the CBP's Informed Compliance Guides and the FTC's Registered Identification Number (RN) Database webpage.

For information on labeling related to U.S. safety standards, see the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) website.
Mandatory textile standards:
16 CFR §1610 – Standard for the Flammability of Clothing Textiles
•16 CFR§ 1615 and 1616 – Standards for the Flammability of Children’s Sleepwear
•Requirements under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA)
Contact: Mary Toro, CPSC, Director- Division of Regulatory Enforcement, (301) 504-7586

It should also be noted that certain states may have specific flammability labeling requirements. It is important to check within each state for the specifics.

For U.S. apparel sizing standards, see the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) webpage.

Footwear must be labeled with the composition of the upper, the lining and sock, and the outersole--only if it looks like leather, but is not real leather, or if it looks like some other kind of leather other than the actual leather. For information on labeling leather and imitation leather products, such as footwear and travel goods, see the FTC Guides for Select Leather and Imitation Leather Products. Imported products must be labeled with the country of origin in a permanent manner. See the FTC Made in USA Policy Statement, to claim "Made in the USA". Products made of wool or fur are subject to disclosure under the following, respectively: Wool Products Labeling Act and Fur Products Labeling Act

For questions regarding Federal requirements on labeling for textile, apparel and footwear products for sale in the U.S. market, contact:
    Textile Section
    Division of Enforcement
    Federal Trade Commission
    600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
    Washington, DC 20580
    Tel: (202) 326-3553

Individual States within the U.S. may have additional labeling requirments. You should check the with the individual State authorities for information on their specific labeling requirments.

For information on the various State requirements on labeling bedding and furniture, see the International Association of Bedding and Furniture Law Officials (IABFLO) website. Also see the article “Update of Law Label for Bedding and Furniture Products” (August 2015).