Quality assurance

The products in H&M’s collections undergo a number of quality tests, both in our own laboratories and in external laboratories. Each year, we conduct about 500,000 quality tests. In order to ensure the quality of our products we run the following tests.

Washing – shrinkage and colourfastness

Our products are washed to see whether shrinkage, wringing and colourfastness meet H&M’s requirements. It is also important to us that by far the majority of our products are washable with no significant changes occurring.

Pilling

Some materials and designs are more susceptible to pilling than others. These materials are tested to investigate whether pilling occurs as a result of use. The machine rubs the material against itself to simulate normal use.

Flammability

We test those fabrics/materials that are deemed to present a risk and ensure that they meet international requirements on flammability.

Saltwater and chlorinated water

This test is carried out to ensure that swimwear retains its colour, since saltwater and chlorinated water can have a bleaching effect.

Buttons and details

Sewn-on buttons, press studs, ribbon and decorations can be a safety risk for children. We therefore carry out continual testing of buttons etc. to ensure their durability.

Zips

We carry out various tests on zips, including testing durability by zipping and unzipping 500 times.

Lightfastness

Lightfastness is tested on many of our home textiles because they are often exposed to direct sunlight and can be bleached.

Absorption

Towels are tested to ensure that they are sufficiently absorbent, drying the body quickly when used.

Chemicals

We perform around 40,000 chemicals tests per year to check that our products do not contain chemicals that may be harmful to health or the environment. Among other things, metal parts that may come into contact with skin are tested for nickel. We also check that the pH value is within an approved range. Read more about our chemicals management.

We have a procedure in place to ensure that products can be rapidly recalled, in the event that they fall short of our standards and reach our stores despite our well-developed system for quality assurance. If an unsafe product is identified, the quality department and production managers implement a global recall.

Sales are stopped immediately in all markets, and the relevant authorities are informed. Information is sent internally to colleagues and to customers, through channels such as newspaper adverts, the internet and signs in-store. Our quality department then analyses what caused the failure in order to prevent it from happening again.

Conscious Actions

Reach

REACH is an important piece of legislation requiring that all chemical substances produced in or imported into the EU are registered.

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