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What is Berber Fleece?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 21, 2024
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Berber fleece is a textile material that is very lightweight, warm, and soft. It is often compared to fur because of the incredibly soft texture when it is well cared for, along with its insulating properties. Many household items are made from Berber fleece, including wraps and throws, jackets, and warm socks to wear around the house. Many people use garments made of it for layering, since the textile is lightweight but very insulating.

To make Berber fleece, yarn is knitted into fabric, which is brushed with wire brushes to pull the material together and to fluff it up. The resulting material has a looped, soft pile, with large air pockets that improve the insulating properties of the fabric. The pile is sheared to create an even length, and the fleece is ready for use. Synthetic materials such as polyester are most frequently used to create the fabric, which tends to be strong, stretchy, and colorfast.

Like all textiles, Berber fleece will ultimately form small “pills,” or clumps of fibers on the surface of the garment. Pills form due to friction, and although the fibers used to make this fabric are engineered to resist pilling, even the best engineering cannot defeat this tendency completely. The pills can periodically be sheared away if they do not drop off naturally. People can also refresh the pile of a garment by gently brushing it with a bristled brush.

In addition to being warm, clothing made of this fabric is also designed to wick moisture away from the surface of the wearer. It will also not absorb moisture as readily as some natural fibers, since synthetics are water resistant. Although this type of fleece cannot be used as a rain coat, it can be worn under one to pull moisture away from the body and prevent garments underneath it from becoming saturated.

Care directions for Berber fleece vary. As a general rule, it can be machine washed in cold or lukewarm water with a gentle soap. It can usually be tumble dried on a low setting, or hung to dry. The material should not be left hanging, because it will stretch the knit and pull the garment out of shape. It is also best to fold it and store it flat. Not all fleece fabrics are Berber fleece, and care directions for different fleeces vary. People should make sure to follow the instructions of the manufacturer, as they may be different depending on materials used to make the fleece and manufacturing technique.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a BeautyAnswered researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon352966 — On Oct 27, 2013

What is the difference between Berber fleece and Sherpa fleece? Are they actually different fabrics, or just alternative names for the same thing?

By anon317397 — On Feb 02, 2013

I have a mountain equipment co-op track suit made of 100 percent polyester. It says "for best results wash garments separately," but I didn't think anything would happen if I washed it with some towels and socks. After it came out of the dryer it was all stretched out. Has this ever happened to anyone? I thought it would be fine.

By John57 — On Jun 26, 2011

If you ever come across some berber fleece slippers - buy them! I ordered some from an outdoors catalog not knowing quite what to expect, but my feet have never been warmer.

It seems like my toes are cold all winter long and I was looking for something I could wear around the house that would keep my feet and my toes warm. These fleece slippers did the trick and I would not be without them on cold winter days.

By julies — On Jun 24, 2011

Since I live in a climate that has very cold winters, I love wearing clothing that is lined with fleece. I have a berber fleece jacket that I purchased several years ago and it has quickly become one of my favorites.

Even though the jacket is lined with the fleece, it is light enough that I don't feel like it weighs me down too much. With the newer polyester materials, you can just throw it in the wash when you need to. I love the warmth and versatility of this fabric.

By Mykol — On Jun 23, 2011

I have a berber fleece comforter that I use during the winter on my bed. Every year I look forward to using this warm, soft comforter. It has berber fleece fabric on one side and corduroy on the other side. The inside is filled with a down alternative, so this is very lightweight, yet very warm.

Another advantage to this is that I can machine wash it and do not have to send it to the dry cleaners. It is one that I look forward to keeping on my bed during the long, cold winter months.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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