When you learn how to wash fleece, you are investing in the care of all current and future garments or blankets made from this fabric. Failure to wash this material properly can result in the fibers breaking down, causing it to become bumpy and shabby-looking. So, follow the steps outlined below and keep your fleece's softness for as long as possible.
Step 1 - Read the Tags
While there are quite a few different kinds of material that this fabric can be comprised of, it is most likely made from polyester. However, it is important to note if unique care is necessary. Almost all garments these days come with washing instructions on the inside tags, and fleece clothing is no exception. Just check these tags before you do anything else.
Step 2 - Wash
Prior to washing, make sure to turn your garment inside out. This will prevent pilling, so do so even for coats or vests. Then, place the clothing into a washing machine with like colors. Set the cycle to wash in cold water, as warm water will also cause premature pilling. Also, do not wash your fleece with items that produce lint; it is nearly impossible to remove.
If you are not using a liquid detergent, mix your powder with water so there will be no residue. Keep in mind that you should never use any bleach or fabric softener on fleece unless otherwise specified on the manufacturer's tags.
Step 3 - Dry
You can use a machine dryer with fleece garments, but keep it set to a low temperature if you do. Hanging the garments to air dry might be a safe option. Although it will take longer to dry, you can be sure that no harm will be done.
Other Dangers to Your Fleece
Dry cleaning, ironing, pressing, and steaming can all easily cause the plastic fibers of polyester to melt, so do not use any of these techniques on fleece fabric. Again, your garment can be comprised of a different kind of fiber, but it is best not to take the risk if you are even a little unsure. This is also why you should be careful when drying your fleece that your dryer's temperature isn't too hot, as it will have the same consequence.
Even higher quality materials, like polar fleece or Polartec, can be cleaned using these same steps. Regardless of what your fabric is made of, the above tips will ensure that it stays soft and smooth, just like new, for a lot longer.