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Which soap/detergent for washing fleece?

My fleece is getting pretty dirty and can use a wash, but I’m not sure what the best soap/detergent is. Regular laundry detergent? Specialty stuff from Nikwax, Nathan, etc?

I just use Tide, and toss in the dryer.  None of my fleece items have a liner or shell cover.  Some of my fleece items are 20+ years old and the only sign of age is the seams are starting to fail.

Ed 

Regular detergent for me as well. But no fabric softener, that can impede the fabric's moisture wicking abilities.

Well I ended up just going to MH’s website and they said to do what I do with just about all my machine-washable non-WPB outdoor gear - all zippers & fasteners closed, gentle cycle, cold water, regular detergent. I tumble-dried it on low heat and now it’s nice & soft again. 

I'm the same as JR, just treat them as you would any other article of clothing. Also, fleeces are relatively cheap and easy to replace so I don't care for them the same way I would a wool sweater, for example.

My wife shrunk a really nice wool sweater I had in the early 90s right after we got married. Ironically it fits her perfectly....still wears it on hikes. Hmm. A mistake or is she that good at laundry? 

Women are too smart to make that "mistake", Phil!

I don't want to be too much of a wet (fleece) blanket, but I think the issue of microplastics might be worth bringing up for discussion here. Here's an Outside magazine article about some tests that Patagonia ran about microfibers from fleece garments:

https://www.outsideonline.com/2091876/patagonias-new-study-finds-fleece-jackets-are-serious-pollutant

There is an environmental toxicology group in my department and microplastics are a hot topic for them right now.

I wonder if hand- rather than machine-washing might help keep some of the plastic out of the environment. And of course transitioning back to natural fibers. I have done this rather unintentionally as it turns out. I have a 20 year old Patagonia R2 jacket that I use only rarely and a 30+ year old IME fleece jacket that I use as a cold weather work jacket, neither of which has been washed in quite a while. Now I mainly use a down sweater or a down parka as insulating layers. Oh, and this fleece-line wool vest that I am wearing right now. I still have some (smelly!) capilene base layers and one expedition-weight fleece shirt that see occasional use, but have gone over to wool base layers for most activities. I find that the wool wears out pretty fast, so I only hand wash my Smartwool shirts to try to get them to live a little longer, and since they are amazingly smell-resistant I don't have to wash them all that often. But of course my shell layers are all plastic, again not washed very often and I would think they don't shed as much fiber as fleece. I do have a lot of wicking plastic fiber t-shirts for warm weather activities that I guess I'll have to reevaluate.

Maybe Leave No Trace should include microplastics!

BigRed said:

I don't want to be too much of a wet (fleece) blanket, but I think the issue of microplastics might be worth bringing up for discussion here. Here's an Outside magazine article about some tests that Patagonia ran about microfibers from fleece garments:

https://www.outsideonline.com/2091876/patagonias-new-study-finds-fleece-jackets-are-serious-pollutant

There is an environmental toxicology group in my department and microplastics are a hot topic for them right now.

I wonder if hand- rather than machine-washing might help keep some of the plastic out of the environment. And of course transitioning back to natural fibers. I have done this rather unintentionally as it turns out. I have a 20 year old Patagonia R2 jacket that I use only rarely and a 30+ year old IME fleece jacket that I use as a cold weather work jacket, neither of which has been washed in quite a while. Now I mainly use a down sweater or a down parka as insulating layers. Oh, and this fleece-line wool vest that I am wearing right now. I still have some (smelly!) capilene base layers and one expedition-weight fleece shirt that see occasional use, but have gone over to wool base layers for most activities. I find that the wool wears out pretty fast, so I only hand wash my Smartwool shirts to try to get them to live a little longer, and since they are amazingly smell-resistant I don't have to wash them all that often. But of course my shell layers are all plastic, again not washed very often and I would think they don't shed as much fiber as fleece. I do have a lot of wicking plastic fiber t-shirts for warm weather activities that I guess I'll have to reevaluate.

Maybe Leave No Trace should include microplastics!

 Good call BigRed,

I've been watching this post for a few days and had a dozen articles pulled up so that I could go thru them so as to post a few on the very subject and concerns that you brought up in your post.  It's so very amazing that we, as humans refuse to look at all sides of the issues and would just rather feel good about recycling old plastics in to new uses and then start patting ourselves on the back with out looking at the totality of our actions.  Personally I only buy natural fibers anymore and hand wash all my polar fleece products.  Polar fleece products do not need the intense agitation it takes to clean most natural fiber products that washing machines produce. 

https://response.restoration.noaa.gov/about/media/are-your-clothes-shedding-plastic-ocean.html

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/20/microfibers-plastic-pollution-oceans-patagonia-synthetic-clothes-microbeads

https://www.outsideonline.com/1998166/plastics

Agreed, "Leave as little trace as possible" should start at home.

 

Damn. So, from an environmental standpoint, we would have been better off throwing the empty plastic bottles into the ocean rather than recycling them into clothes that we launder the regular way? Ignorance is was bliss...

October 25, 2021
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