How to Wash Fleece Jackets?

If you have a fleece jacket that you want to preserve, you're going to have to keep it clean and smelling good. Luckily, it's not hard to wash fleece. You just have to make sure that you use the right products and the correct temperature setting.

There are also a few other tips on how to wash fleece jackets that you should follow, such as always using a powder detergent instead of liquid soap and washing with warm water instead of hot water. 

While you can wash the jacket in a washing machine, you can care for it better by washing it by hand. With a little TLC, you can keep your fleece jacket in tip-top shape all season long!


Deciding When to Wash and Which Method to Use

It's good to wash your jacket after you've worn it six or seven times outdoors unless you have a stain that you have to address.

Fleece fabric is resilient and will last against stains, but you don't want to wait too long. On the other hand, you have to be sure you're not overwashing the fleece. 

If you wash it too frequently, you risk pilling- which is when the broken threads start to tangle together, and they eventually form that tiny lint knot. 

Washing Machine

If you're looking to get your jacket cleaned quickly, you can use a washing machine. It's best to wash your fleece jacket with other fleece articles if possible. Also, try to wash it with similar colors. 

Tip: Don't wash your fleece jacket with items such as towels and washcloths because they tend to cause lint accumulation.

washing fleece jacket

Washing By Hand

The way to ensure that you don't get any pills on your fleece jacket is to wash it by hand. That is especially true if your tag encourages you to wash the jacket with your hands to avoid pilling. 

Due to certain dyes or the fleece itself, some jackets will tell you not to wash it in the washing machine ever.

This route takes a little more effort, of course, but it's easy enough to execute. 

Even though you can use cold water when washing in the washing machine, over time, this method will result in pills no matter how much you try to avoid them. 

How to Wash: Washing Machine

Let's start with the first method, the washing machine. 

Flip your jacket inside out before washing it. 

That will protect the outer fleece if you turn the neck of the jacket inward and pull the sleeves through to the inside. 

Make sure that you've emptied all the pockets before washing. If any paper stays tucked in, you will get a jacket covered in lint when you take it out. And it'll be next to impossible to get it all off. 

Get a non-abrasive detergent that's mild instead of the typical liquid detergent that you might use for everything else. The liquid detergent will ruin the waterproof coating that comes on your fleece jacket because of the harsh chemicals it contains. 

If you want your fleece to stay water-resistant and soft, these steps will keep the jacket in excellent condition. 

Be sure you read the instructions on the detergent to determine how much you should use.

Regarding the water temperature, go for the lowest setting to keep your jacket from getting damaged. The wash temperature should be "cold" before starting the wash cycle.

Remember, warm water will almost certainly cause pilling. You may even melt the fabric if you try to use the hot water setting.  

To keep soap residue at bay, mix a little water into your soap powder. Grab a small bowl and put about ten drops of water in, with the recommended amount of powder detergent. 

Use a spoon to mix it well; liquefying the detergent beforehand prevents extra soap buildup as your jacket is washing. 

If you were to pour the powder onto your jacket directly, the high concentration might cause those white streaks of soap residue.

You can also add a little baking soda to the detergent and water mixture if you feel like your fleece has a foul odor that you want to get rid of. Just stir in two to four tablespoons beforehand. 

Baking soda is perfect for absorbing those funky smells and odors, especially in places like refrigerators and when washing your clothes. 

It may take between 45 and 60 minutes to wash your jacket in the washing machine with the other clothes. If you're washing it alone, choose a light cycle for a shorter time frame. 

Once the jacket gets done washing, take it out of the machine and hang it up to air dry on a plastic hanger. Make sure you zip it back up when you hang it. 

After about one to two hours, your jacket should be dry, depending on how thick it is. 

Don't use a dryer to dry your fleece jacket because it could cause pilling, even if it's a short cycle. Instead, to avoid any heat damage, always air dry the fleece jacket.

Hand Washing

How to Wash: Hand Washing

Whether you're using a sink or a bucket, fill it mostly with cold water. Then, using the cool water from your faucet, fill the bucket approximately two-thirds of the way; this will allow your jacket to get fully submerged for optimal soaking.

Take some powder detergent and mix it thoroughly in cold water. A small amount of detergent is sufficient to wash only 1 item of clothing. Don't forget to read the instructions of your particular detergent brand.

Generally, you can use about 56.7 g or 2 oz of powdered detergent for a typical jacket. Next, pull this into your sink or bucket and mix it with a spoon or some other comparable utensil. Mix thoroughly until you see little to no powder residue.

Take your jacket and soak it in the soap solution and afterward scrub it with a brush. Next, place your fleece into the sink or bucket and submerge it in the water.

Procure a soft-bristled scrub brush and scrub it in small circular movements on your to remove any dirt or debris on the fleece jacket. For the best results, scrub the fabric in 2-4 inch areas. Be sure to clean each side.

To remove the dirt, debris, and soap from your fleece, rinse it with cool water. After you finish scrubbing your fleece jacket, pull it out of the water and rinse it off under cool running water. 

Ensure that the rinse is thorough enough to remove the dirt, debris, and soap completely from your fleece.

You can rest assured that your jacket is rinsed well once there are no more visible soap bubbles.

After removing your jacket from the sink or the bucket, empty it. Pour the soap and water down the drain, and if you have a bucket, wash it out with warm water. Once the soap residue is no longer visible, the bucket is completely clean.

If you wait to remove the soap residue from your sink or bucket, it will stick, making the cleaning process much more difficult in the long run. So make your job easy and clean it as soon as possible.

To prevent any fabric pilling, allow your jacket to air dry. Wring out any excess water and put your fleece jacket on a hanger. Then, hang your jacket in a dry area such as your bedroom.

A fleece jacket will typically take about 1 to 2 hours to dry.

Does Washing a Fleece Jacket Make it Shrink?

Your Fleece Jacket can shrink if you wash it improperly. Hand washing your jacket ensures that there will be no pilling or warping of the clothing. However, it is also possible to use a washing machine, but this might be risky.

However, regardless of the method you choose to wash your fleece, you must use cool water. Warm water and hot water are prone to cause the material to shrink on your jacket. On another note, once you've cleaned your fleece, see to it that you never machine dry it.

A lot of heat and rolling will most likely shrink your jacket. Just hang your jacket in a thoroughly ventilated area. Ensure that the fleece is completely dry before you store it away, so it does not develop a foul odor.

Tips for Cleaning Fleece

  • If your fleece happens to be pilling, use a disposable razor or a fabric shaver to remove it. Move the razor back and forth against the pilling gently. A little pressure is all you need to remove the fabric. Next, take a piece of duct tape and stick it to the area to remove it from your jacket.
  • If you wish to remove pet hair from your jacket, wet a rubber glove with cold water and wipe your fleece jacket off.
  • Store your fleece in a closet or drawer but not out in the open. They are prone to pick up lint and dust.
  • Check the tag of your fleece or your particular washing instructions because there can be subtle but significant differences.


  • Don't use dryer sheets or liquid detergent when cleaning your fleece jacket. These products have chemicals that will harm the water-resistant finish on your jacket.
  • Never use heat while washing your fleece. Using a hot heat setting can cause your fleece to melt.


Hopefully, the different ways to wash fleece jackets doesn't feel as daunting as it once did. By following some simple instructions, you can have your fleece washed in no time with no danger of harming the material or shrinking it.

As long as you follow the steps and remember a few of the cardinal rules, namely, always use cold water and never use heat in any form on your jacket, you will be just fine when you go to wash your fleece jacket!

Andrew Mullen

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