How to Clean Fleece

Fleece fabrics are predominantly made from polyester and are usually outwear because of its water repellent qualities.

Caring for Fleece

  1. Fleece items are generally safe to wash in the washing machine.
  2. When laundering fleece items, wash items inside-out on the gentle cycle using the warm wash and rinse.
  3. Use only mild powdered detergents (such as Dreft or Ivory Snow) as all-purpose liquid detergents may cause the item to lose its water-resistance (a primary quality of fleece, and the reason it is so suitable for outerwear).
  4. Fleece may also be hand washed, again using a mild powdered detergent.
  5. If you place your fleece item in the dryer (rather than hanging to air dry), set the dryer at its lowest setting and remove promptly when cycle is done

Additional Tips and Advice

  • NEVER use fabric softeners or bleach (regular or color-safe) on fleece items as both chemicals will reduce the water-resistance of the fabric.
  • NEVER iron fleece. Direct contact with even a warm iron may leave a permanent mark on the item.


  1. Mital says:

    How do you get rid of the small threads and pet hairs that get stuck on the jacket and won’t come out even after a wash?

  2. E says:

    I’ve had success with two methods:

    Lint rollers work pretty well, but are expensive, so an alternative is wrapping a length of duct tape, sticky-side out, around your hand.

    A kitchen sponge works too. Make sure it’s new or very clean. The modern ones are always flexible, so no need to dampen. The old-fashioned inexpensive ones get hard after they dry so either buy a new one and use it right away or dampen a non-smelly old one. Stroke the fleece in only one direction.

  3. Rosie says:

    How can you get out a strong perfume odor from fleece fabric? Thank you.

  4. Melanie says:

    You could try using the same tricks that are used to remove the odors from books:
    One idea is to place the item in front of a fan for several hours to air out.
    Another idea is to use baking soda. Find a plastic container or storage bin that is large enough for the fleece item to fit inside and pour baking soda across the bottom. Set a baking rack in the container, place the fleece item on the rack and seal the container. Allow the item to sit in the container overnight or for several days if needed.

    Source: HowToCleanStuff – How To Clean Books
    Source: Book Think – How to Remove Odors from Books

  5. Suzy says:

    How can you get the residue from a sticker off of a fleece without damaging the fibers? The sticker was on the fleece when washed and dried…ugh. Thank you.

  6. Chris says:

    Hi, I just wanted to know how to get matting off of the back of my fleece Columbia jacket. It’s clumping really bad on the back. Thanks.

  7. Melanie says:

    This is the article that you need: How to Remove Piling from Fleece.

  8. Nundie says:

    How do I wash a white fleece Columbia jacket…with the whites or the colored clothes??? Help please.

  9. Melanie says:

    Do not wash white fleece with colored clothes in case the colored clothes run. You can wash white fleece with other white clothes, but you cannot use bleach.

  10. Mary says:

    How to get fleece polyfleece jacket white again…got washed with grays.

  11. Melanie says:

    I would start by rewashing the jacket, which will hopefully remove the gray dye. (I’ve had that work for me when I had a white rug turn pink from being washed with a red rug, but it was back to white after another wash). The theory here is that the dye was already loose enough to be easily removed from the gray clothing, hopefully it will still be loose enough to be removed from the white clothing as well.
    If that doesn’t work, you can take a look at this article: How to Fix Dye Transfer. I think that for fleece, you should probably stick to just the borax solution if possible. Any other solution might be too strong for the fleece, so proceed with caution.

  12. Cindy says:

    How do I remove oil that is used on a pipe threader from a polar fleece jacket?

  13. Lydia says:

    I washed my fleece jacket alone as instructed and it came out of the wash SOAKING wet. What should I do now to prevent damage?

  14. Melanie says:

    When that happens to me, it usually means that the washer did not fully complete the spin cycle (which sucks the moisture out of the clothes) usually due to an unbalanced washer (which would make sense in your situation as well since you washed the item alone). You have a couple solutions to choose from.
    It was probably recommended that the item be washed alone because the dye could bleed, so you can wash it again with a similar color of item in the wash (to balance the washer so that the spin cycle is completed).
    You can very gently press the water out of the item (don’t wring it or you could stretch or warp the fabric). Then, lay a towel on the floor (preferably an old towel in case the color bleeds). Lay the fleece item on the towel and roll up the towel like a sleeping bag so that the towel absorbs the moisture from the fleece. After that, most of the moisture should be removed and you can either hang the item to dry or put it through the dryer, depending on the tag instructions.

  15. Jan says:

    Looking for the answer to Suzy’s question regarding the sticker washed and dryer dried on a fleece.
    I was going to try to heat it with an iron until I saw not to on a post above. Any ideas? It’s a North Face, teal color.

  16. Melanie says:

    This is the article that you need: How to Remove Sticker Residue from Clothing. Just be gentle when scrubbing to protect the fleece. Using an old toothbrush is a great way to be more gentle while scrubbing.

  17. Kathleen says:

    Hello there, I am wanting to make a significantly large rug with fleece. What would be the best way to launder it? Thank you!

  18. Melanie says:

    Large items (like comforters) can be taken to a laundromat. Most laundromats have commercial-size washers that can handle larger items. It is always best to avoid a washer that has a central beater bar in it when washing a large item as the bar can damage it. If the item is too large for even a commercial washer, it can be washed by hand in the bathtub or just spot-cleaned as needed. This article can help with hand washing: How to Hand Wash Clothing; just be sure to adjust the information like water temperature or type of detergent to meet the needs of your specific item (fleece).

  19. Kevin says:

    I’d like to know how to get the fleece fabric to look like new as I have patchs along the arms that have flattened. I have washed a few of my jacket/coats, but the flatness is still there, even after brushing while still damp.

  20. Melanie says:

    This article might help: How to Restore Softness to Stiff Garments.
    Or here’s another helpful one: How to Remove Pilling from Fleece.

  21. Sally says:

    Hi Kevin.
    The tool that will un-pill the clumped fleece is a wire flat brush used for dogs or cats. The motion you use is to quickly pull up small areas, NOT comb like you would your hair. The brush actually has a flat area about 2″ x 3″ and the wire has a slight bend at the outer 1/2 inch. Good luck. You may have this already. But, you should buy a cheap one because you will use it again and again for other problem fabrics.
    At the Sally beauty supply shop, buy the largest, coarsest toe nail filing board. Drag this at an angle across heavy “pill-ed” fleece to remove pills.

  22. Erica says:

    How about red wine stains? I had a server spill a tray of drinks next to me and my fleece jacket is now polka dotted.

  23. Melanie says:

    This is the article you need: How to Remove Red Wine Stains.

  24. Shelley says:

    I have an iron mark on some polar fleece. Is there any way or chance of being able to remove it? Help!

  25. Melanie says:

    You can try using the methods in the article How to Remove Burn Marks from Clothing. With polar fleece, you might also be able to sand off the scorch mark with a nail file.

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