Does Fleece Shrink? Which Types Shrink and How to Avoid It!

With many new kinds of fabrics filling our wardrobes and homes, it can be difficult to keep up with washing instructions! 

We all know how annoying it is when our new shirt, dress, pillow, or blanket shrinks! 

We also know that sometimes it's not easy to find out from looking at garment and product instructions, whether garments and soft furnishings such as blankets, pillows and others actually shrink! 

Today we are going to turn our attention to fleece. We will find out for sure if fleece shrinks, what to do if it does, how you make sure it doesn’t shrink and some do’s and don'ts of looking after your fleece items. 

So let’s first hit the short answer before we delve a little deeper into this topic and give you all the answers you need!

 

Does fleece shrink? The answer varies depending on the fabric and the quality. Hot dryers and high washing temperatures may shrink fleece. Fleece fabrics which are either 100% natural fibers such as cotton or a mix of man-made and natural fibers will show signs of shrinkage.

 

So now you’ve got the short takeaway answer and can guarantee you won’t be ruining any of your fleece items any time soon, let’s start by taking a look at cotton fleece


Does cotton fleece shrink?

Any kind of garment or home furnishings such as fleece blankets will shrink if made of 100% cotton. 

The result of the shrinkage can sometimes be minimal, but it could result in a poor fit if your cotton fleece item is either clothing or any kind of home furnishing.


Avoid purchasing 100% cotton fleece

To avoid this, it is advisable to avoid purchasing 100% cotton fleece and pre-shrink it to make sure that the clothing will look great. If the fleece happens to be a blend, then the added polyester threads will prevent the cotton fleece from shrinking. 

The extent of shrinkage will greatly depend upon the manufacturer, the quality of material that they use, and how well they make their blended fleece clothing lines.


Exposure to high temperatures

More importantly, if you expose cotton fleece to high temperatures or keep it in the dryer for too long, you will experience some shrinkage. 

The ideal way to dry fleece is to hang it and let it air-dry, then put it in the dryer and fluff it up for about 10 minutes.


Buy 100% cotton fleece one size bigger

If you are thinking of working with cotton fleece by sewing you should buy enough fabric to make your desired piece of clothing or blanket, one size bigger than you really need. 

This is sound advice if you are buying a ready-made fleece item such as a fleece jacket, pet blanket, or other kinds of blankets such as photo style.

 

“If you expose cotton fleece  to high temperatures or keep it in

the dryer for too long, you will experience some shrinkage.”

 

 

So now we understand that fleece items such as blankets will shrink if made purely of cotton or a mix of cotton and other fabrics, let’s take a look at how a purely man-made fabric will fare.


Does polyester fleece shrink?

Polyester fleece does not typically shrink. This is why polyester is blended with natural fibers in the first place; to prevent shrinking from taking place. Most polyester fleece is made from recycled plastic bottles. 

Polyester is not resistant to heat. Exposure to high temperatures destroys the fibers. Drying polyester fleece in a typical household dryer at a high temperature will cause it to shrink. 

The best way to avoid shrinking fleece is to let it dry under the sun. Hang drying is the best option when it comes to keeping your expensive fleece clothing articles safe. 

Opting for polyester fleece over a 100% natural version is recommended since it doesn’t fade or the pill dries quickly and keeps pet hair from getting attracted to the fabric.


Quality of polyester fleece

Although we’ve seen that polyester fleece typically does not shrink, it does depend in some respects upon the quality of the fleece. 

There are so many varieties of fleece on the market, and discovering whether it will shrink or not cannot be said for sure.Hot temperatures

This depends a lot upon the temperature on which you wash your fleece fabric. How hot the water gets will play a major role in determining whether your fabric shrinks or not. The lower the temperature, the better chances you have of not having your fabric shrink.

 

“Drying polyester fleece in a typical household dryer at

a high temperature will cause it to shrink.”

 

So now you’ve got the low-down on 100% polyester fleece, and understand that putting it in your dryer on a hot temperature will cause it to shrink, let’s take a look at whether Microfleece might suffer in the shrinkage stakes.


Does microfleece shrink?

Generally speaking, microfleece should not shrink even if you wash it at a higher temperature and put it in the dryer. However that being said, your experience might be different. 

One way to avoid your fabric from shrinking is to stretch it before you cut or sew if you are using it to make an item. If shrinkage does take place, then this will allow some compensation. 

So now we are on the subject of sewing, you may be wondering if fleece should be washed before you sew it? Let’s take a look below and find out.


Should fleece be washed before sewing?

It is a good idea to wash your fleece before sewing it into either a fleece jacket or a homeware item such as a blanket. 

Not only does this help prevent shrinking, but it also helps increase the overall life of the blanket.


Chemically pre-treated fleece

A variety of fabrics, including fleece, are sometimes pre-treated with certain chemicals. 

If you happen to be allergic to those chemicals, you could be setting yourself up for an allergic reaction if you do not pre-wash. 

In addition to this, it always makes sense to wash a fabric you have bought from a store or online just as a precaution. 

Therefore it is a wise move to pre-wash in order to make sure that there are no unseen contaminants still lurking on the fleece. By pre-washing a fabric, you take care of several issues in one hit. 

More importantly, you need to be careful once you have finished washing your fleece. Avoid using a hot iron on your fabric just in case the heat melts it.

 

“always makes sense to wash a fabric you

have bought from a store or online”

 

So to finish on, let’s take a look at some expert tips to ensure your fleece items won’t ruin by shrinking while doing the laundry.


Fleece do’s and don'ts

Although Fleece is a modern fabric with all the benefits of such, there are some major do’s and don'ts of how to care for products made out of fleece. 

Some of those products could be clothing, pet accessories, and blankets. 

Let’s find out below some of the ways you need to care for fleece, including some situations that are best avoided when dealing with fleece

 

  •        Don’t dry clean the material, fleece is meant to be washed by hand or on a delicate cycle.
  •        Do turn the garment inside out before washing it.
  •       Do not iron the fabric, the heat may ruin it. If you do iron, do it on the non-face side.
  •        Hang dry the fabric
  •        Only tumble dry when no other option
  •        Do not use bleach or fabric softeners on the fleece.
  •        Do not dye fleece, instead make sure you choose your color carefully when selecting your fleece item
  •        Do not wash fleece with other clothes. The lint transfer is quite tricky to remove from other items of clothing
  •        Buy anti-pill fleece if you want to avoid fiber balls potentially sticking to your clothes and furnishings
  •        Use a razor blade to remove the pills from the fabric.


And finally…

So we hope any questions you have around fleece and whether or not it shrinks have been covered in our helpful article. 

Now you’re armed with all the information you need to make sure you care for your fleece products, don’t forget to check out our fleece blankets for every occasion! 

Whether it’s for a special anniversary, a wedding gift, to commemorate a loved one, family birthday, Christmas gift, or even just to say ‘I love you!’