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Does Fleece Fabric Shrink in the Dryer or when Washed?

Does Fleece Fabric Shrink in the Dryer or when Washed?

Jun 21,2022
When the weather turns cold, everyone loves fleece for warmth and comfort, whether it's fleece clothes or fleece blankets. But whether you're buying ready-made fleece garments or using them for sewing projects, one of the important things to know about any fabric is whether it will shrink when washed.

Most fleece made from synthetic fibers such as polyester should not shrink, but fleece made from cotton may. Lint is most likely to shrink in the dryer when using a high-heat dryer cycle, but if you use hot water it may shrink in the washing machine.

In this article, I'll share with you everything you need to know about whether or not fleece has shrunk. This includes what conditions can shrink fleece, how to wash it so that it doesn't shrink, and how to keep it from shrinking if it does.

Does fleece shrink in the dryer?

The first thing you need to know about fleece fabric is that it was originally designed to replace fleece. If you know anything about fleece, you know that it shrinks very easily, especially in the dryer.

Having said that, fleece can be made from different materials. But most fleece garments and fabrics on the market today are made from polyester. This is because polyester can be made to have properties similar to fleece while being durable and shrink-resistant. Polyester fleece should not shrink in the dryer.

Another type of fleece is made from cotton. Cotton also shrinks, but usually not as much as fleece. And since both cotton and fleece are natural fabrics and have similar properties, it makes cotton an ideal material to use. However, lint can shrink in the dryer when heated.

If you want a fleece that won't shrink in the dryer, your best bet is polyester fleece. But fleece made from polyester isn't completely immune to dryer damage. While shrinkage isn't a problem, if the temperature is too high, the dryer may melt some of the fibers, so you still need to be careful.

Will fleece fabric shrink when washed?

Whether the fleece is made of cotton or polyester, it should not shrink when washed. Polyester fleece should never shrink, but cotton fleece can be washed in very hot water. This is especially true if the fabric is not pre-shrunk.

The reason for this is that in natural fabrics like cotton, the fibers tend to relax when exposed to hot water. This is what causes the fabric to shrink. As long as the fabric is washed at the proper water temperature, there should be no shrinkage in the washing machine.

How to wash fleece fabric without shrinking?

The type of fleece you have should be stated somewhere on the label, along with instructions on how to care for it to prevent shrinkage and other damage. However, if for some reason you don't know what type of fleece you have or are missing a care label, the following steps will explain how to wash it to make sure it doesn't shrink.

Wash with similar items

First, you need to make sure you wash items individually or with similar items. This is because items of one fabric usually need to be washed in the same way. Following this advice will help keep everything consistent and keep the unique texture of fleece in its best shape.

Use mild detergent

Next, you'll also want to make sure to use a mild detergent, especially lint. Mild detergents do not contain harsh chemicals that can build up in the fibers or in the washing machine, causing damage.

Use normal cycle

When washing fleece, you don't have to use a special cycle, such as a gentle cycle. You can if you want, but fleece is not considered a delicate fabric, especially if it's made of polyester. A normal wash cycle is fine unless you're washing several fleece blankets. In this case, you may want to use a heavy-duty cycle to make sure the blanket comes out clean.

Wash with cold water

To prevent shrinkage in the washing machine, you need to use cool water, especially lint. Even though hot water shouldn't cause the polyester fleece to shrink, it can cause damage in other ways. A good rule of thumb is to use only cold water with any fleece.

Dry on low or medium heat

Lastly, the most important thing is how to dry the fabric, as this is the main cause of shrinkage. You will need to use a low or medium-heat dryer cycle. Typically, it's a good idea to use low heat for cotton and medium heat for polyester.

Even though you don't have to be that careful when washing polyester fleece, you need to be careful how you dry it. It's not because it can shrink. Instead, it's to keep the fibers from burning or melting, especially due to fleece's unique texture. That's why the medium is best rather than high temperature.

How to unshrink fleece?

If your fleece garment has shrunk inadvertently, there is a chance you could untangle it. If you manage to unwrap it, just know that it probably won't stay that way forever, especially if you wash it the wrong way again. However, you can use the method below to unwrap the fleece.

1. Fill a sink or tub with warm water, then add a bottle of baby soap or conditioner to the water. Stir the soap to ensure it is evenly dispersed.

2. Put the clothes in the water and soak for 30 minutes to an hour. Soap and warm water help soften and loosen fibers, making them easier to stretch.

3. Remove clothing from water, but do not rinse. You want the soap to stay in the fibers so they stay relaxed (you can rinse it off later.)

4. Lay the clothes flat on a dry towel, then roll the towel up with the clothes inside. Press the towel to squeeze out excess moisture.

5. Remove the garment from the towel and place it on a flat surface.

6. Stretch the garment in portrait, landscape, or both, depending on your need for a larger position.

7. You may want to place heavy objects or books on your clothing to hold it in place while you stretch.

8. After stretching the garment, you will need to wash and dry it using a lower temperature in the future to prevent shrinkage and help the garment retain its shape.


Most pile fabrics won't shrink in the washer or dryer as long as they're made of polyester. Fleece made from cotton may experience some shrinkage, especially when washing and drying with heat. To avoid this, use a cold or cold and low temperature drying cycle with each wash. If you want to know more or want to buy fleece fabrics. Welcome to contact us.

Qikun Fleece is a professional custom fleece fabric manufacturer. We have long-term fleece manufacturing experience in the global export business and a good understanding of market trends. We can provide one-stop solutions for fashion, casual wear, pajamas, home wear, bedding, home textiles, blankets, and luggage fabrics.
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We offer kniting fleece fabrics wholesale including polar Manufacturer and supplier cheap fashion polar fleece brushed