When it comes to getting ready for the cozy season, flannel is one of the things that immediately come to mind. As essential as warm cider or snuggling up by the fire with a good book, flannel pajamas, flannel sheets and, of course, flannel shirts are synonymous with comfy cold-weather vibes.
It's no mystery, then, why we love to wear our flannel shirts when the weather turns cool and then cooler. These tops are an absolute must-have for both fall and winter, from crisp fall days at the pumpkin patch or as a layer on the coldest of winter days. After all, what's not to love about this timeless material? Flannel's super soft all-cotton fabric keeps you warm and cozy while its absorbent quality wicks away moisture, making this the perfect option for a snowball fight or another run down the local sledding hill. And the best part? How to care for flannel shirts is no mystery either, meaning you can wear these on repeat season after season.
Read on for a few simple tips and trips that'll ensure you keep your flannel shirts soft and functional wear after wear and wash after wash.
The short answer here is that, yes, flannel shirts are usually machine-washable. That said, following a few golden rules about washing these tops in your washing machine is essential, as always double-checking the specific instructions listed on your shirt's tag before putting them through the wash just to be safe.
For example, using the right temperature (more on this below!) is key, as is washing your flannel shirts on a gentle cycle or permanent press whenever possible. Just like with any of your beloved women's blouses, this will help to keep your pieces looking vibrant and feeling soft wash after wash.
You should avoid washing your flannel shirts in hot water instead of a warm or cold setting on your washing machine. Just like opting for a permanent press or a gentle cycle, sticking to warm or cool water rather than hot water will ensure that your flannel remains bright and soft all fall or winter long. When thinking about the water temperature, you should also consider the detergent you're using. Using a gentle detergent free of enzymes, phosphates, and chlorine can also help keep that soft flannel shirt feeling you love so much. Also, resist the urge to use a liquid fabric softener. These create a type of film on the fabric that clogs the fibers and cause them to stiffen over time. Instead, try adding a ½-1 cup of vinegar during the rinse cycle to help remove soap residue without damaging the flannel.
Nothing beats snuggling up to a soft flannel shirt in front of the fire on one of those harsh winter days. By following the instructions above, like using cool or warm water and a slower wash speed with a flannel-friendly detergent, the washing process will cause less friction on the fabric. This will make your flannel shirts less likely to pill by reducing any stress on the fabric. Following these instructions will also help prevent flannel from shrinking, which is key when you want to layer these over a women's sweater for a bulk-free yet seriously warm cold-weather look.
If you're working with flannel shirts that are made mostly of cotton, you'll know that these are great for keeping you warm and cozy. But, as you know, this also means that these tops are susceptible to shrinkage at high heat.
If you're going to dry your flannel shirt in the dryer, then it's best to do so on low heat and remove it promptly at the end of a cycle to avoid wrinkles. However, if you choose to skip the dryer altogether, most flannel shirts can be air-dried quickly. Just squeeze out any excess water and lay flat to dry, being careful not to stretch the fabric, so it doesn't lose its shape.
When ironing flannel, the most important first step is to read the care instructions and make sure the garment allows for ironing. The tag should also tell you what setting you should iron at and if steam can be used. Typically wool flannels require a wool setting, and cotton flannel is best ironed on the cotton setting. If you're ever in doubt, start with a low heat setting and slowly increase as needed until the wrinkles are gone.
Once your iron is warmed up you have a couple of options. First, you could use a pressing cloth between the iron and the flannel shirt to prevent getting that shininess from ironing too long or too hot. Or you could simply turn the shirt inside out and iron on the wrong side, thus protecting that soft, raised finish on the front.
Spray a little moisture from the iron onto the fabric and move the iron slightly every second or two to keep the fabric from overheating. Wool flannel must be damp when ironed to avoid scorching, and all flannel shirts should be inspected after one or two passes to see if they have been ironed smooth. Basically, don't get too lost in that new TV series you're obsessed with when ironing flannel since this might cause you to risk overheating the fabric (yes, we've all been there!).
By following these easy care steps for your flannel shirts, you'll be set to wear these essential tops on repeat. Layer your flannel under a women's winter coat on a particularly harsh day, or as your top layer when the weather allows for it. With flannel shirts that look as good as they feel, you'll be happy to have them looking and feeling great season after season.