How to Wash a Sweatshirt: Keeping Your Sweatshirt Clean

Learning how to wash a sweatshirt properly is essential to maintaining its quality and ensuring it stays fresh and comfortable over time. Whether it’s your go-to for lounging or a staple in your daily attire, understanding the right techniques can prevent issues like shrinkage, fading, and fabric damage. This guide provides a comprehensive approach to caring for your sweatshirt, covering everything from reading the care label to selecting the right detergent and drying method.

How to Wash a Sweatshirt Properly

Keeping your favorite sweatshirt in great condition starts with knowing how to wash sweatshirts properly. Here’s a step-by-step guide to ensure your sweatshirt stays fresh, comfortable, and long-lasting.

  1. Read the Care Label: Always start by checking the care label inside your sweatshirt. This tag provides specific washing instructions that are crucial for maintaining the garment’s quality.
  2. Pre-Treat Stains: For any stains, apply a stain remover or a bit of detergent directly to the affected area and let it sit for a few minutes before washing.
  3. Turn Inside Out: Turn your sweatshirt inside out to protect the outer fabric, especially if it has prints or embroidery.
  4. Use Cold Water: Wash your sweatshirt in cold water. Cold water helps prevent shrinkage and color fading.
  5. Select a Gentle Cycle: Use the gentle or delicate cycle on your washing machine to minimize wear and tear.
  6. Choose a Mild Detergent: Opt for a mild detergent that’s suitable for delicate fabrics.
  7. Avoid Fabric Softener: Fabric softener can affect the fabric’s breathability and elasticity. It’s best to skip it.
  8. Air Dry: Lay the sweatshirt flat on a clean towel to air dry. Avoid hanging it, as hanging can stretch the fabric.
  9. Low Heat if Necessary: If you need to use a dryer, choose a low heat setting to prevent shrinkage and damage.

woman hand washing a violet sweatshirt in the white bucket

The Importance of Washing Sweatshirts Properly

Washing your sweatshirts properly is essential for several reasons:

  1. Longevity: Proper washing techniques help extend the life of your sweatshirt. Gentle handling prevents wear and tear, so you can enjoy your favorite sweatshirt for years to come.
  2. Fabric Integrity: Following the care instructions maintains the fabric’s integrity. Delicate fibers and embellishments like embroidery or prints require special care.
  3. Appearance: Proper washing preserves the color, shape, and texture of your sweatshirt, keeping it looking fresh and new.
  4. Comfort: A well-maintained sweatshirt feels better to wear. Proper washing keeps the fabric soft and comfortable, avoiding stiffness or roughness caused by improper care.
  5. Hygiene: Washing your sweatshirt properly ensures it’s clean and free from dirt, bacteria, and odors, which is especially important for sweatshirts worn during physical activities.

If you want to know more about stylish way to wear sleeve sweatshirts, Click Here:

Common Mistakes People Make When Washing Sweatshirts

  1. Using Hot Water: Hot water can cause shrinkage and color fading. Always use cold or lukewarm water to wash your sweatshirts.
  2. Ignoring the Care Label: Not following the care instructions can lead to damaging the fabric, shrinking, or ruining special finishes and prints.
  3. Overloading the Washer: Putting too many clothes in the washer at once can lead to inadequate cleaning and more friction, which can damage the fabric.
  4. Using Harsh Detergents: Strong detergents can be too harsh for sweatshirts, especially those made from delicate materials. Use a mild detergent instead.
  5. Skipping Stain Treatment: Not pre-treating stains can make them harder to remove later. Always address stains before washing.
  6. Drying on High Heat: High heat can shrink and damage the fabric. Air drying or using a low heat setting is much safer.
  7. Not Turning Inside Out: Failing to turn sweatshirts inside out can lead to pilling and fading of the outer fabric.
  8. Neglecting Special Care for Embellishments: Sweatshirts with embroidery, sequins, or other embellishments require extra care. Ignoring this can damage the decorations.

The Best Way to Wash Sweatshirts at Home

Sweatshirts are a staple in our wardrobes, providing comfort and style year-round. However, improper washing can quickly turn your favorite cozy garment into a misshapen, faded, or shrunk piece of fabric. To keep your sweatshirts looking fresh and feeling soft, follow these expert tips on the best way to wash sweatshirts.

Step-by-Step Guide to Washing Sweatshirts

  1. Read the Care Label: The first and most crucial step is to read the care label inside your sweatshirt. This little tag contains valuable information about the fabric and how it should be washed.
  2. Pre-Treat Stains: If you notice any stains, treat them before washing. Apply a stain remover or a bit of detergent directly to the stain and let it sit for a few minutes.
  3. Turn Inside Out: Turn your sweatshirt inside out before placing it in the washing machine. This helps protect the outer fabric from pilling and fading.
  4. Use Cold Water: Cold water is your sweatshirt’s best friend. It helps prevent shrinkage and color fading while being gentle on the fabric.
  5. Gentle Cycle: Select a gentle or delicate cycle on your washing machine. This setting is designed to minimize wear and tear on your clothes.
  6. Mild Detergent: Opt for a mild detergent, especially for sweatshirts made from delicate materials. Harsh detergents can be too aggressive and may damage the fabric.
  7. Avoid Fabric Softener: While fabric softener can make clothes feel softer, it can also affect the breathability and elasticity of your sweatshirt. It’s best to skip it.
  8. Air Dry: Lay your sweatshirt flat on a clean towel to air dry. Reshape it to its original form and avoid hanging it, as hanging can stretch the fabric.
  9. Low Heat if Necessary: If you must use a dryer, choose a low heat setting. High heat can cause shrinkage and damage the fabric.

Choosing the Right Water Temperature

The temperature of the water you use to wash your sweatshirt plays a significant role in its care. Here’s a quick guide to choosing the right water temperature:

  • Cold Water (60°F/15°C): Cold water is ideal for most sweatshirts. It prevents shrinkage and color fading while also being energy-efficient.
  • Warm Water (90°F/32°C): Warm water is suitable for heavily soiled sweatshirts or those made of durable fabrics. However, be cautious with colors as they might fade.
  • Hot Water (120°F/49°C): Generally not recommended for sweatshirts, as hot water can cause shrinkage and damage delicate fabrics.

Avoiding Overloading the Washing Machine

One common mistake people make when washing sweatshirts is overloading the washing machine. Here’s how to avoid it:

  1. Leave Space: Ensure there’s enough room for the clothes to move around. A good rule of thumb is to leave about a hand’s width of space at the top of the drum.
  2. Load Size: Follow the washing machine’s load size recommendations. Overloading can lead to inadequate cleaning and increased friction, which can damage the fabric.
  3. Balance the Load: Distribute the weight evenly. Uneven loads can cause the machine to become unbalanced, leading to inefficient washing and potential damage to both the machine and your clothes.
  4. Frequent Washing: Instead of waiting to wash all your clothes at once, consider washing smaller loads more frequently. This reduces the risk of overloading and ensures better care for your garments.

Tips for Washing Sweatshirts Inside Out

Washing your sweatshirts inside out may seem like a small detail, but it can make a significant difference in maintaining their quality and appearance. Here’s why this simple step is so important and some tips to make the most of it.

violet sweatshirt laying on the floor

Protecting Prints, Embroidery, and Fabric Surface

Turning your sweatshirt inside out before washing is crucial for protecting any prints, embroidery, and the fabric’s surface. Here’s how it helps:

  1. Preserve Prints: The agitation of the washing machine can cause printed designs to crack or peel over time. By washing the sweatshirt inside out, you reduce direct friction on the print, helping it last longer.
  2. Safeguard Embroidery: Embroidered details can snag or fray when exposed to the rough and tumble of the wash cycle. Turning the sweatshirt inside out minimizes this risk, keeping the embroidery intact.
  3. Protect the Surface: The outer surface of your sweatshirt is exposed to more wear and tear than the inside. Washing it inside out ensures the outer fabric is less likely to rub against other clothes, reducing the chance of damage.

Reducing Friction and Wear During the Washing Process

Sweatshirts, especially those made of soft and delicate fabrics, are susceptible to wear and tear in the washing machine. Washing them inside out can significantly reduce friction:

  1. Less Abrasion: The inside of your sweatshirt is generally smoother than the outside, which often has prints or textures. Turning it inside out means the smoother side takes most of the friction, protecting the outer side from excessive abrasion.
  2. Gentler Cleaning: The delicate cycle on your washing machine, combined with the sweatshirt being inside out, ensures a gentler clean. This reduces the mechanical stress on the fibers, prolonging the garment’s lifespan.
  3. Reduced Lint Transfer: When clothes rub against each other in the wash, they can transfer lint. Washing inside out helps keep the outer surface of your sweatshirt free from unsightly lint.

Minimizing Pilling and Color Fading

Pilling and color fading are common issues with frequently washed garments. Turning your sweatshirts inside out can help minimize these problems:

  1. Prevent Pilling: Pilling occurs when fibers break and form small balls on the fabric’s surface. Washing inside out reduces the friction on the outer surface, helping to prevent these pills from forming.
  2. Maintain Color Vibrancy: Direct exposure to detergent and water can cause colors to fade over time. By turning your sweatshirt inside out, you protect the exterior from direct contact with washing agents, helping to maintain its vibrant color.
  3. Even Wear: Washing inside out ensures that any wear and tear is more evenly distributed. This helps keep the outer surface looking new for longer.

If you’re looking for unique embroidered sweatshirts tailored just for you, Embroiden is the way to go.


How to wash a sweatshirt properly isn’t just about keeping it clean—it’s about preserving its comfort, style, and longevity. By following these simple yet crucial steps, from reading the care label to opting for gentle cycles and avoiding common pitfalls, you ensure that your favorite sweatshirt remains a cherished part of your wardrobe for years to come. Proper care isn’t just a routine; it’s a commitment to maintaining the quality and comfort that define your favorite pieces of clothing.