Everything You Need to Know About Fleece

Whether you’re on the hunt for an extra-warm winter jacket or a cozy layering piece, fleece is your friend. This soft fabric expertly traps and preserves body heat, enabling you to stay warm even in cold conditions. With its insulating prowess, it’s no wonder that this material is a favorite among outdoor enthusiasts and athletes.

However, not everyone knows exactly what fleece is, how it’s made or its many benefits. To help you better understand this versatile fabric, we’ve put together a guide on everything you need to know about fleece: its history, types, and the characteristics that make it so unique.

Fleece is a soft, fuzzy fabric that expertly traps and preserves your body heat, keeping you toasty in the cold. This material is commonly used in winter jackets, vests and pullovers to keep you warm throughout the season. Fleece is also often found in blankets, hoodies and even hats. It can be found in a variety of colors, patterns and materials, making it a versatile addition to any outfit.

While fleece is primarily synthetic, it is also sometimes made of natural materials like wool or recycled PET plastic (the kind that comes from water bottles). In the early 1970s, textile maker Malden Mills, now known as Polartec, developed polyester fleece. This innovation was a breakthrough in the clothing industry, as it offered the insulating properties of wool without its downsides (e.g., its heavy weight when wet and the need for sheep to be sheared).

Nowadays, most fleece garments are made from fine polyester fibers woven into a light fabric and then brushed for added thickness. In addition, some brands use a blend of polyester and natural fibers to add texture or color. While polyester is a non-renewable resource, some fleece fabrics are made from recycled plastics to reduce environmental impact.

As with any other fabric, it’s important to take care of your fleece garments properly to ensure they last for years. Washing your fleece on the gentle cycle and hanging it up to dry (rather than machine drying) will help reduce shrinkage and maintain its softness. If your fleece is prone to pilling, consider using a small amount of fabric conditioner before washing it. Additionally, you may want to wash it separately from lint-producing items like towels, as this will help prevent lint buildup.

When shopping for a fleece, it’s crucial to check the garment’s tag for care instructions. For example, a high-quality fleece will typically be labeled as “machine-washable,” “dry-cleanable” or “hand-wash only.” Washing your fleece in cold or lukewarm water is best, and it’s recommended that you turn it inside out to protect the surface and prevent color bleeding. Avoid drying it in direct sunlight, as the sun’s rays can bleach the color and damage the fabric. Additionally, if you decide to machine dry your fleece, using the lowest heat setting possible will prevent excessive shrinkage and preserve its softness. Lastly, don’t iron fleece; it’s a wrinkle-resistant material that will retain its shape without the need for an iron.


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