If you’re anything like me, Sherpa blankets are a must-have during the winter season–especially this super soft sherpa blanket that’s my all time favorite.. The soft and plush fabric is perfect for cuddling up on the sofa and getting warm. Unfortunately, I used to have a knack for ruining Sherpa blankets once the temperature started rising.
Thanks to its wool-like texture and synthetic materials, Sherpa is notorious for falling apart after a single wash. The fabric isn’t made to withstand the stresses that normal washing puts it through. It can fall apart in your hands and lose that cozy feeling that people love.
If you’re wondering how to wash Sherpa blanket, we have you covered.
What’s a Sherpa Blanket?
First things first, it’s important to understand what Sherpa blankets actually are. Many people confuse the fabric with similar alternatives, such as fleece or shearling. While they look almost identical, Sherpa was created with a very specific inspiration in mind.
Initially, manufacturers modeled the fabric after the garments worn by the Sherpa people, hence the name. Sherpas are native to the mountains of Nepal and live in freezing temperatures. To survive the frigid cold, they line their clothes with wool.
Sherpa fabric takes on many of the same characteristics as natural wool. It has that familiar bumpy texture and acts like an insulator to prevent you from losing body heat. However, the main difference between Sherpa and the wool of the mountain-dwelling people is materials.
A blend of synthetic materials make up Sherpa fabric. These materials may include polyester or acrylic. Some blankets also incorporate cotton, though it’s not as common.
Thanks to the synthetic nature of Sherpa, it’s much more affordable than the real thing. Plus, it can be fashioned into attractive blankets for the colder months.
Recommended Read: Best Throw Blankets
How Can Sherpa Blankets Get Damaged?
Several issues can pop up if you throw your Sherpa blanket in with a normal load of laundry. The most noticeable problem you might encounter is shedding and pebbling. The thick fibers of the blanket will clump up and fall off.
This ruins the finish of the piece and makes it uncomfortable to use. So, why does this happen? It all comes down to the motions of the washing machine.
Your blanket rubs up against other clothing items as it tumbles around the machine. The constant friction causes the individual fibers to get tangled and matted.
Synthetic fibers do not absorb water like natural hair, wool, or cotton. So, they don’t soften. Once matting begins, the blanket is basically ruined.
Cosmetic damage can also occur in the wash. Take a look at the labels on your clothing and your Sherpa blanket. You might see some symbols that recommend wash setting.
These symbols are often used to prevent color bleeding. Unfortunately, not enough people follow the directions accordingly. This results in noticeable staining and discoloration for the entire load.
Cheap dyes and poor coloring techniques are often the cause of bleeding. Introducing warm water into the mix draws the dyes out of the fabric. Then, the tumbling causes the dye to penetrate other items in the washing machine.
How to Wash Sherpa Blanket Safely
Keeping your precious Sherpa blanket in good shape requires some special care. These fabrics are very sensitive to the effects of standard washing. But, other clothing items cause most of those problems.
Using a delicate laundry detergent like this one that is my favorite and smells fantastic helps as well. This will make sure you have a fuzzy blanket forever.
The key to washing your Sherpa blanket safely is to treat it alone. Here are some cleaning tips that can keep your blanket plush and cozy for years to come.
Pretreat Stains First
The first thing you need to do is take care of stains. A washing machine can push the substance deeper into the fibers. Pretreating stains beforehand can help you lift the substance out rather than spreading it around.
Apply a generous among of mild dish soap onto the affected area. Let it soak for about 10 minutes. The soap will loosen the fibers and release the mess. You can also use a delicate and natural laundry stain remover like this one that I’ve been using for a while and recommend.
Avoid using any chlorine-based bleach or chemicals. Chlorine is capable of damaging fabric over time.
If the stain is oil-based, you can also sprinkle some cornstarch on. The powder will work to absorb some of the oil for easy removal.
After the 10 minutes are over, you can blot the soap up with a paper towel. Do not rub the soap in. This will only push the stain deeper.
Using the Washing Machine
You don’t have to hand wash your blanket to keep it pristine. Remember, the problem with washing Sherpa with other clothes is bleeding and matting. It’s not the machine itself that’s causing damage.
Washing machines are fine as long as you wash the blanket alone. Don’t introduce any other towels or clothing items. The blanket needs plenty of room to move around freely.
It’s also important to adjust the wash settings. Usually, hot or warm is best water for washing clothes. For your Sherpa blanket, use cold or warm water.
Cold water is ideal. It reduces the chances of fading. Also, it doesn’t cause any undue stress on the synthetic fibers.
Next, put the cycle on the gentlest option available. Gentle cycles aren’t as vigorous and normal washes. So, the blanket will tumble around softly as its getting clean.
The gentle cycle also prevents harsh agitation. Top-loading washers use a central spinner to get clothes moving. This creates abrasive damage. Some use impellers, which clean without abrasion.
Keeping the cycle on the gentlest setting available will prevent matting and shedding.
To protect the fabric even further, use dish soap instead of your normal detergent. Synthetic fragrances, softeners, and bleach are too harsh for Sherpa. They can break the fibers down and cause more shedding. You might experience even more shedding as a result.
If you have an all-natural detergent that’s gentle and fragrance-free, you can use that. Otherwise, stick to simple dish soap.
Next up is the drying cycle. The best way to keep your Sherpa Blanket damage-free is to hang it up on a clothesline. Air-drying is very gentle on the fabric.
If you have the space for it I recommend using a retractable clothesline that effective and simple like this one. If not you can always opt for a clothes drying rack that is pretty sturdy like this one. Make sure you use a tall one that is big enough for your blanket.
The only downside is that it can take upwards of 24 hours to dry. You can speed the process up by exposing the blanket to more air from a fan.
If you don’t have a full day to wait for your blanket to dry up, you can use a standard dryer. Like the washing machine, settings should be at their lowest.
It’s recommended that you turn drying machine on the tumble cycle. Heat and synthetic fibers do not mix well. Your Sherpa blanket can melt from the heat because there are no other clothing items to protect it.
With the tumble drying cycle, there’s very little heat involved. Instead, the dryer tosses the blanket around the barrel to keep it moving. The little heat that is present will help to evaporate any existing moisture.
Sherpa blankets are a wonderful thing to have around the home. They make great throw blankets for the living room and nightly covers in the bedroom. While they aren’t the easiest things to clean, it’s not impossible.
Knowing how to wash Sherpa blanket can make all the difference. Instead of having to deal with a ruined texture and unsightly color stains, your blanket will be as good as new.
Sherpa Blanket FAQ
How to keep sherpa blankets soft:The key to washing your Sherpa blanket safely is to treat it alone. Washing it wish other clothes and fabrics can damage it.
How to keep sherpa from matting: The most common reason a sherpa blanket is matted is due to incorrect washing with other materials. Wash it alone to prevent this.
How to Clean Sherpa: Clean sherpa by spot treating it and making sure to wash it alone without other fabrics that can harm it in the washing machine.