How to Make Scratchy Fleece Soft Again

Cold days are made tolerable with the help of flleece blankets and throws, but quickly disappoint when they lose their softness. Fleece fibers will stiffen after multiple washes due to friction or build up from fabric softener. You don't have to give up on your cozy day just yet -- soften scratchy fleece at home to prepare it for many more hours of ducking winter.

Switch up your laundry routine to revive your fleece blankets and garments. (Image: humonia/iStock/Getty Images)

Things You'll Need

  • 2 cups white vinegar

  • 1 fabric softener sheet

Step 1

Place the garment in the washing machine. Add a gentle powder detergent and allow it to run through the normal wash cycle. Dry in the dryer if the care label says it's safe; otherwise, air-dry. Stiffness is often caused by detergent build up and this may solve the problem without further action.

Step 2

For a persistent scratchy item, pour 2 cups of white vinegar into the detergent compartment of your washing machine. White vinegar will deep-clean the garment without leaving a residue like detergents and fabric softeners.

Step 3

Place the garment into the washing machine and wash it on the regular cycle without adding detergent.

Step 4

Remove the fleece from the washing machine and place it in the dryer. Add one fabric-softener sheet to further soften the item. Dry on high heat or air-dry on a hanger, per the label's instructions.


If the garment doesn't soften with vinegar, your washing machine may be dirty. While the machine is empty, run the wash cycle twice with white vinegar in the detergent slot to deep-clean.

Spritz the fleece with vinegar before cleansing it to ensure that the blend will not stain.

References & Resources