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How to Wash Fleece and Preserve Its Softness

Reviewed by Professional Cleaner Jennifer L. Betts
Washing machine with laundry

When it comes to figuring how to wash fleece, you need to be careful. Washing incorrectly can result in a loss of softness and cause the item to look dingy and old. Using a few basic guidelines can help you keep it looking its best.

How to Wash Fleece for Best Results

Before you toss your fleece blanket or shirt into the washer, read the laundry care label to make sure you are following the proper instructions. If there is no tag, then some general washing and drying instructions will help you clean and care for your fleece items. Take care you do not wash your items too frequently; only wash when needed to help preserve softness and fluff.

  1. Separate your laundry so only fleece items are together. It also helps to sort by similar fleece items, so keep similarly weighted blankets together, clothing together, etc.
  2. Check for stains. If there are any, you should:
    • Spot-treat stains with your detergent or a dab of mild dish soap.
    • Allow the treated stain to soak in cold water for 10 to 15 minutes.
    • Do not rub the stain, but instead press with an old t-shirt or soft sponge so you soak up the stain rather than embed it further into the blanket or garment.
  3. Gently roll a lint roller over the item before putting into the machine to help catch larger pieces of dust, lint, and dirt before washing.
  4. Turn clothing inside out.
  5. Select the gentle or delicate cycle on your machine.
  6. Water temperature should be set to cool.
  7. Add a mild or gentle laundry detergent to your washer in the minimum amount needed. Do not use bleach, even if the item is white. It's too harsh and can ruin your blanket. Skip the fabric softener to preserve the fleece fibers.
  8. When the washer completes its cycle, promptly remove to dry.

Fleece Tie Blanket Washing Tips

No-sew fleece tie blankets need a little special attention. If you have a washer with a drum, the ties can get caught when it spins. Therefore, it's best to select "hand wash" cycle. If you don't have a hand wash cycle, consider actually hand washing the blanket in your bathroom tub when needed.

Fleece Jacket and Clothing Washing Tips

Figuring out how to wash fleece jackets and clothing is similar to other fleece items. Make sure you keep like-colored items together and only wash fleece with other fleece. Empty pockets in jackets, shirts, and pants before washing. Turn clothing inside out, as noted, and make sure jackets and hoodies are zipped up. If there are drawstrings on hoodies or pants, you'll want to be sure those are tucked inside the clothing before you put them into the washing machine.

How to Dry Fleece

After your fleece item is washed, it's time to dry. If the care label says that you can tumble dry, select no-heat and place the item in the dryer. If your item doesn't have a care label or you are unsure about whether it's safe for the dryer, hang it outside or over a drying rack instead. Additional care tips for your fleece to preserve softness and shape include:

  • Heat can damage fleece, so you want to avoid it.
  • Do not use dryer sheets because they can also damage the fleece fibers.
  • If there is piling, you can use a fabric shaver, but make sure you have practiced with it on an old fleece item before using it on something you want to preserve.
  • Avoid ironing your fleece items in order to keep the blanket or garment in good condition and soft.
fleece blanket drying

How to Revive Fleece

If your fleece has seen better days, there are a few things you can do to help make your fleece look new again.

  • Matting - Use a brush to help fluff fleece fibers while the garment is still wet. Look for one specifically made for fleece.
  • Odors and soap reside - Try adding vinegar to laundry during the rinse cycle.
  • Storage issues - Use a cotton sack instead of plastic bag to store fleece in summer months.

Note that once a fleece item has been damaged, it is unlikely to be restored to its original condition. This is why it is so important to properly launder your fleece blankets and clothing.

Preserving Your Soft Fleece

Washing your fleece is something that you'll need to do occasionally when it gets dirty and to remove dust and lint. Read the label and follow laundry tips to make sure it comes out looking and feeling great.

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How to Wash Fleece and Preserve Its Softness