Skip links

Maintain, Wash & Care For Your Flannel

Have you ever wondered how to keep your favorite flannel shirt looking fresh and soft? You’re not alone. With its warm and fuzzy charm, flannel is a staple in many wardrobes, offering a comforting embrace and a cozy feel. But it requires a bit of special care to maintain its quality.

What is Flannel?

Flannel, a crucial element in maintaining your favorite warm and fuzzy garments, is more than just a fabric. Originally, it was made from carded wool or worsted yarn, but today, you can find flannel made from cotton, synthetic fiber, or a blend of both. Understanding this evolution and diversity of flannel can help you better care for your flannel items.

By its nature, flannel incorporates a soft finish on either side or both, a feature achieved through a unique mechanical process called napping. This process, which involves brushing the loose fibers, gives flannel its signature cozy feel.

The strength and durability, reminiscent of its wool origins, make flannel your fashion-forward yet sturdy wardrobe staple. And the warmth? Those are the air pockets created by the brushing process. They trap body heat, making flannel popular for those cooler months.

Distinct types of flannel, such as cotton flannel, a breathable, lightweight variant, or synthetic flannel, which tends to hold up better against washing and drying, provide versatility in your wardrobe choices. Whether you encounter Ceylon flannel, a smooth and fine variety representing the luxury side of flannels, or baby flannel, a double-napped version used for soft baby clothes or cozy bed linens, you can be confident in flannel’s adaptability to various needs.

Are you looking for some iconic styles within this fabric family? Checkered flannel shirts stand out as classic participants in flannel fashion. A popular pattern since the 1850s logging industry, it persists as a household name thanks to its equilibrium of comfort, style, and durability. Let’s remember flannel sheets and pajamas, the quintessential garments that establish flannel’s presence in cold seasons.

Flannel’s gritty history, warmth, durability, and versatility make it an essential fabric in your wardrobe. Understanding its nature further aids in upholding the longevity of your flannel items. This journey into exploring flannel’s identity enhances your ability to maintain it, securing its place as your warm, timeless companion.

Why You Need to Special Care When Washing Flannel

Due to its unique processing method and delicate texture, flannels require special care during laundering. This section explains why it’s crucial to be extra sensitive when washing flannels.

  1. Preservation of Nap: Flannel boasts a fuzzy texture thanks to a process called ‘napping.’ Rough washing can ruin this nap, resulting in a lost cozy feel. So, to maintain that comforting texture, give your flannel the gentleness it deserves during washing.
  2. Fabric Longevity: Given the versatility of flannel—from checkered shirts to warm pajamas—it’s understandable that you’d want your flannel items to endure. However, incorrect laundering practices can significantly shorten their lifespan. Thus, gentle care during cleaning ensures their durability and preserves their style.
  3. Color Retention: Flannel, whether the vibrant checkered shirt or the pastel-colored baby flannel, is celebrated for its range of colors. Harsh washing can cause these colors to fade, robbing the flannel of its charm. By washing it right, you guarantee that the rich hues stay intact.
  4. Shrinkage Prevention: Flannel, like any other cotton fabric, is prone to shrinkage when exposed to high temperatures. Inappropriate washing methods can lead to shrinkage, altering the fit and quality of your flannel item. Special care in washing ensures your flannel keeps its perfect fit.
  5. Prevention of Pilling: Pilling is one of the most common problems with flannels. It happens when the fabric is subject to rough handling during washing. This results in small, fuzzy balls on the surface of your flannel that can degrade its look. Ensuring gentle treatment when washing can prevent pilling and keep your flannel looking its best.

By understanding the need for special care when washing flannel, you’re not just maintaining your flannel items; you’re committing to their longevity. You’re preserving their textures, colors, and, most importantly, their unique cozy warmth. This is your responsibility as a flannel owner.

How to Wash Flannel

Due to its delicate texture, caring for your flannel involves meticulous steps. Follow this guide closely for optimal results.

  1. Inspect your flannel items: Carefully examine them for stains or spots before washing them. Use a laundry stain remover for stubborn blemishes: apply, wait 15 minutes, then proceed.
  2. Consult the care label. Different flannel items, such as shirts, sheets, or pajamas, may require distinct washing instructions based on their material composition. Adhere faithfully to the manufacturer’s guidance provided. You can find laundry care label instructions guide from University of Florida’s care guide.
  3. Prepare your washing machine: Choose a gentle or delicate wash cycle. Cold water, unlike hot water, prevents color fade and controls shrinkage.
  4. Load flannel items sparinglyThis prevents stretching and maintains the fabric’s napping, keeping the flannel’s warmth and softness intact.
  5. Select a mild detergent: A gentle, dye-free, and fragrance-free detergent protects the color and texture of your flannel. Quantities overuse results in dull colors and potential fabric damage.
  6. Air dry when possible: Preserve your flannel’s integrity by air drying. If machine drying, remember to choose a low-heat setting. High heat levels often lead to shrinkage.
  7. Iron carefully, if necessary. Flannel doesn’t typically require ironing. Consider this step, as the fabric might flatten and lose some texture.

Utilize this guide when washing your flannel items, prioritizing maintenance of the unique napping and the prevention of unnecessary wear. This vigilant approach guarantees the longevity of your beloved flannel pieces, thus preserving their inherent attributes, such as softness and warmth.

Dry Your Flannel Without Damage

After gently washing your flannel pieces, they’re ready for drying. Remember, exposure to excessive heat causes flannel to shrink or experience pilling. Here are some expert tips to dry your flannel without damaging it:

  1. Air drying: Opt for air drying whenever you can, as it’s the safest method for flannel pieces. Lay the item on a clean, dry towel, then roll the towel up to remove excessive water. Finally, lay your flannel flat on a clean, dry towel to let it dry naturally. For instance, flannel shirts should be flat to maintain their form and avoid stretching.
  2. Tumble Drying: Tumble drying on a low heat setting is permissible if you’re in a hurry. Add dryer balls to the load, offering a gentler, less damaging method of creating airflow and reducing the chance of shrinkage or pilling. Example: Flannel sheets could stand up to this method if done sparingly and always on a low heat setting.
  3. Avoid Direct Sunlight: Exposure to direct sunlight can cause vibrant flannel colors to fade. Hence, dry your flannel in a shaded, safe place when air drying.
  4. Do not wring or twist: Wringing or twisting flannel fabric can lead to damage or distortion within the weave of the item. It’s best to gently squeeze away any excess water before laying your flannel to dry.

Adhering to these cardinal rules sustains your flannel’s warmth, softness, and overall lifespan. Always remember these steps when drying your flannel garments. Not only will these techniques help maintain the integrity of the fabric, but they’ll also ensure that your flannel pieces continue to provide the comfort and durability for which they’re loved.

How to Store Your Flannel to Keep It Fresh

Once you’ve meticulously washed and dried your flannel items, the process is still ongoing. Correct storage is essential for retaining their tangible softness, vibrant color, and overall quality.

Remember these rules; your flannel fabrics—shirts, sheets, or pajamas—will stay fresh and comfortable for the coming seasons.

  1. Outline a Safe Environment for Storage: Strive for a dark, clean, dry, and well-ventilated space. Direct sunlight, excessive humidity, or dryness could cause colors to fade or the material to dry out, respectively.
  2. Prevent Creasing: Fold and stack flannel neatly, as creasing could weaken the fibers over time. For flannel clothing, especially shirts, hangers offer an optimal solution, helping you keep creases at bay.
  3. Use Natural Scents: Opt for dry lavender sachets or cedar balls. In addition to adding a pleasant, fresh scent to your flannel, these nifty items keep moths and other pests away, acting as a natural deterrent.
  4. Avoid Plastic: Despite what you might think, plastic covers and bags are not ideal for flannel storage. They inhibit natural airflow, causing mildew or even mold. Instead, use breathable cotton garment bags for protection.
  5. Maintain Regular Revival: Even in storage, flannel benefits from regular airing. Every few months, take your flannel garments out of storage, shake them out, and air them for a few hours before returning them.

Take note of these points, and your flannel items will not last–they will thrive, maintaining that cozy feel and classic look season after season. Here’s to flannel, the versatile, practical fabric that, with care, brings warmth and comfort for years.

Maintaining Your Flannel to Make It Last Longer

Continuing from washing and storing, let’s examine the general upkeep of your flannel items to extend their lifespan. Note that the flannel’s warmth and comfort significantly depend on the nap’s condition and how you care for your garments over time.

Start by keeping your flannel pieces away from harsh fabrics or items that might cause abrasion, leading to wear and tear. So, separate your flannel from zippers, hooks, or Velcro during washing. Even in your wardrobe, position flannel far from objects that could snag or tug on the fabric.

Take advantage of flannel’s breathability. Instead of washing it after every use, let it air out after each wear. This technique prevents premature fading and thinning and lets your flannel breathe. Hence, its quality remains, and its life is prolonged.

While flannel is infamous for pilling, regular use of a fabric shaver or pumice stone can keep it in check. Gently brush these tools over your flannel to remove any loose fibers. However, remember to perform this in moderation since too much can distress the fabric and negatively impact its longevity.

Avoid bleaches and fabric softeners. While they might seem like they’ll improve the flannel’s texture and color, they increase the rate of deterioration. Stick with mild detergents and thorough rinsing to achieve clean, vibrant, and long-lasting flannel items.

Finally, although flannel effectively maintains heat, exposure to high heat levels harms its fibers. So, be mindful of the settings on your iron or dryer. Resort to air drying whenever you can, and if you absolutely must iron your flannel, use it on the lowest setting and preferably on the reverse side of the garment.

Incorporating these measures into your care routine ensures your flannel remains soft, warm, and beautifully colored for countless seasons. Consider this an investment in your comfort, style, and the lifespan of your favorite flannel items.


So, you know to keep your flannel looking fresh and feeling soft. It’s about cleaning, proper storage, and regular upkeep. By steering clear of abrasion and harsh chemicals, you’re already ahead. Let your flannel breathe between wears, and use a fabric shaver to stop pilling. Be mindful of heat exposure, too, especially when ironing and drying. These simple yet effective steps will ensure your flannel stays warm, vibrant, and comfortable for many seasons. You’re not just washing flannel – you’re preserving a piece of fabric history. Here’s to your flannel’s longevity!

For those who prefer professional laundry care, Clotheslyne provides an ideal solution. Through the app, you can hire Clotheslyners for expert laundry services, including washing, drying, and folding of clothes and bulky items.

Choosing Clotheslyne ensures your laundry is handled with care and expertise. It’s convenient for those who value their time and prefer professional laundry services.

To use Clotheslyne, download the iOS Apple App or Google Play Store Android app to schedule your laundry pick up.

You can also schedule your laundry pick up through our web portal.

Fill up a tall kitchen bag full of clothes. A Clotheslyner in your community will pick it up and deliver it back to you washed, dried, and folded in 48 hours. It’s that simple.

Got a question for us? Head over to our contact us page and make a custom request by email or by phone! We’re here to help.

FREE pickup and delivery laundry services for less than drop-off at your local laundromat!