It’s So Fluffy: 7 Tips to Help Keep Your Sweatshirt Soft (Even After Washing)

womans hands in fluffy hoodie

We’ve all been there. You found a sweatshirt that is perfectly soft and fluffy. Everything about it feels absolutely amazing, and you just have to have it. But then after you buy it and wash it, it doesn’t feel anywhere near as nice as it did when it was on the rack. Or perhaps you’ve washed and worn it a few times and noticed pilling, lint build-up or matting that has caused it to gradually lose the softness that made you fall in love with it in the first place.

In either case, it’s never any fun when a much-loved sweatshirt loses its fluffiness. Although you can tackle excess lint and fluff with a lint roller, the good news is that there are things that you can do to keep that from happening. While all fabrics change after repeated wearings and washings, properly caring for your fleece sweatshirts can minimize the wear and tear and extend their life. Keep reading to learn how to keep your favorite sweatshirt soft.

Check the Care Label

To keep your sweatshirt soft and fluffy and extend its wearable lifetime, always check the care label before putting it into the washing machine. The care label provides valuable information on washing and caring for the sweatshirt. 

This label usually includes instructions on water temperature, recommended detergents and whether the item can be tumble-dried. By following the instructions, you can prevent damage to the fabric and help retain its softness and fluffiness.

Examine your sweatshirt’s care label to determine the recommended instructions for the washer. The label should indicate if your shirt requires a specific water temperature when using the machine wash setting.  

For example, you may need to use a gentle cycle with cool water to wash fleece, whereas a cotton shirt can typically withstand a normal cycle with hot water. A more delicate fabric, like cashmere or wool, may require you to hand wash the item with cold water

For a sweatshirt made of delicate fabric, you may need to use a laundry bag to prevent damage caused by rubbing together with other items in the washing machine. Your care label should also indicate whether to use fabric softeners or bleach on your sweatshirt. 

When drying your sweatshirt, reference the care label for specific instructions. Some sweatshirts can withstand high heat without losing their fluffy softness; however, other shirts need low heat, or should be hung up to air dry instead.

By checking the care label and following the recommended washing instructions, you can help keep your sweatshirt soft and fluffy after washing. This will ensure that it remains comfortable to wear and looks great for years.

Use the Right Detergent

When you take a trip down the laundry aisle at your local store, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. There are countless laundry detergents to choose from. There are different brands, different formulas, different scents… The list goes on and on. Many people base the decision of what to use solely on price or fragrance, but that isn’t always the best option.

If you want to keep your favorite sweatshirt soft and extend its life, you need to use a mild detergent. Mild detergents only contain surfactants to lift grease and dirt rather than enzymes that can chemically alter the fibers that make your sweatshirt cozy. They are also typically non-scented, pH balanced and perfect for sensitive skin. 

You also need to be sure to use that detergent according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Remove Stains the Right Way

No matter how careful you are, stains are just a part of life. When you need to get stains out of your shirt, be sure to do so the right way. Most stain removal products are harsh and can actually damage the fabric while removing the stain. Instead of using harsh chemicals like bleach to clean your favorite sweatshirt, consider trying some natural stain-removal remedies such as corn starch or table salt. They’re much safer for your sweatshirt and many of them work even better than expensive stain-removal products.

Don’t Use Fabric Softener

Using fabric softener is a great way to keep your sweatshirt soft, right? Unfortunately, no. Fabric softeners tend to build up on garments, and they can actually cause the fibers to flatten or tangle, making them feel less soft. They can also damage certain properties in sweatshirt fabrics so they are best to avoid.

Turn Your Sweatshirt Inside Out Before Washing

Before you place your sweatshirt in the washing machine, turn it inside out. This helps protect the outside of the garment from damage that could occur during the wash cycle. When washing zip-up hoodies, be sure to zip them. This prevents the zipper from getting snagged in the wash. For pullover hoodies with drawstring hoods, you may want to consider tying the string. This will keep it from getting tangled or pulling out.

placing sweater in dryer

Launder Sweatshirts with Similar Items

To keep sweatshirts in good condition, they should be laundered with similar items. They shouldn’t be washed with jeans or heavy jackets that could cause damage. You should also avoid washing your sweatshirts along with towels and other high-lint fleece items like fleece blankets or fleece jackets. Polyester fleece fabric attracts lint, and when it builds up, it can create a scratchy, uncomfortable feeling. Be sure to wash your favorite sweatshirt with other garments that are similar in color, too, to avoid stains.

Run an Extra Rinse Cycle

Normally, we are all about conserving water when running a wash cycle. When it comes to keeping your favorite sweatshirt nice and soft, an extra rinse cycle is a must. Running your sweats through an additional rinse cycle ensures that every trace of detergent has been removed. And ensuring that all of the detergent has been rinsed away is an important step when it comes to ensuring that your shirt stays soft.

Skip the Dryer

Throwing your sweatshirt in the dryer with a few dryer sheets probably seems like a great way to ensure that it stays nice and soft, but doing so can actually do more harm than good. Fleece is a synthetic fabric that is known for its warmth and softness. However, it is also prone to pilling and shedding when exposed to high heat.

Using the tumble dry setting on sweatshirts made of fleece fabric can cause damage to the structure of the fabric. High temperatures and movement can cause the fibers to break down, leading to pilling and a loss of softness. 

Air drying is a much better option because it is gentler on the fleece fabric. It helps the fleece stay nice and soft without using chemicals like the ones found on dryer sheets. By air drying your sweatshirt instead, you can avoid damage and help retain its softness and fluffiness.

To air dry your sweatshirt made of fleece fabric, simply lay it flat on a clean surface or hang it up to dry. Avoid using clothespins or hangers, as they can stretch the fabric and cause it to lose its shape. By taking this simple step to dry fleece, you can help ensure your sweatshirt remains soft and fluffy, even after multiple washes.


portrait of woman in pink sweatshirt

The Bottom Line

While it’s impossible to keep your favorite sweatshirt looking and feeling like new forever, there are things that you can do to keep it soft for several years. By washing and caring for it properly, you can preserve the fluffiness of your sweater and enjoy its toasty warmness for many winters to come.

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