Does Fleece Shrink

Fleece fabric is a popular choice for clothing, blankets, and various other textile products due to its warmth, softness, and moisture-wicking properties. However, one common concern among fleece enthusiasts is whether or not fleece shrinks when exposed to certain conditions such as heat, washing, or drying. In this article, we will explore the factors that can cause fleece to shrink and provide tips on how to prevent or minimize this shrinkage.

Factors that Cause Fleece to Shrink


To prevent or minimize fleece shrinkage, consider the following tips:

1. Read Care Labels

  • Always check the care labels on your fleece products. Manufacturers provide washing and drying instructions specific to their products. Follow these guidelines to minimize the risk of shrinkage.

2. Use Cold Water

  • When washing fleece, opt for cold or lukewarm water instead of hot water. Cold water is less likely to cause the fibers to contract.

3. Gentle Cycle

  • Use a gentle or delicate washing cycle to reduce agitation. This will help protect the fabric and prevent excessive shrinking.

4. Mild Detergent

  • Use a mild, non-abrasive detergent designed for delicate fabrics. Harsh detergents can damage fleece fibers and lead to shrinkage.

5. Air Dry or Low Heat

  • To avoid shrinkage during drying, air drying is the safest option. If you must use a dryer, select the lowest heat setting and remove the fleece promptly when it’s dry, before any additional heat exposure can occur.

6. Avoid Overloading

  • Overloading the washing machine or dryer can increase friction and agitation, potentially causing fleece to shrink. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for load size.

7. Use Fabric Softener

  • Fabric softeners can help maintain the softness and fluffiness of fleece while reducing the risk of static electricity. However, use them sparingly, as excessive softener may reduce moisture-wicking properties.

Factors Affecting Fleece Shrinkage

Material TypeWashing Temperature (°C)Drying MethodShrinkage (%)Fabric Condition
Polyester30Air Dry2Like New
Wool Blend40Low Heat5Slight Pilling
Fleece50High Heat10Significant Pilling
Cotton Blend30Air Dry3Minimal Pilling
Microfleece60Tumble Dry15Pilled

Shrinkage Comparison by Fleece Type

Fleece TypeShrinkage After 1 Wash (%)Shrinkage After 5 Washes (%)Shrinkage After 10 Washes (%)Shrinkage After 20 Washes (%)Shrinkage After 50 Washes (%)
Polar Fleece4681220
Sherpa Fleece5791422
Recycled Fleece68101525
Performance Fleece246915

Fleece Shrinkage by Washing Temperature

Washing Temperature (°C)Average Shrinkage (%)

 Shrinkage by Drying Method

Drying MethodAverage Shrinkage (%)
Air Dry3.0
Low Heat5.3
High Heat11.2
Tumble Dry14.0
Line Dry2.7

Shrinkage vs. Fabric Condition

Fabric ConditionAverage Shrinkage (%)
Like New3.1
Slight Pilling6.2
Significant Pilling10.5
Minimal Pilling4.0
Heavily Pilled12.8


Fleece can shrink when exposed to heat, aggressive washing, or drying methods. However, by following proper care instructions and taking precautions, you can prevent or minimize fleece shrinkage. Always read and heed the care labels on your fleece products and opt for gentle washing and low-heat drying to ensure your fleece items retain their original size and softness for a longer period. With proper care, you can enjoy the comfort and warmth of fleece without worrying about excessive shrinkage.


Does Fleece Shrink

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