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.
Sherpa blankets are sensitive to standard washing and mixing them with certain fabrics can cause even more damage. Use a sensitive stain remover first and wash it alone with cold water on a delicates or gentle setting
If you’re wondering how to wash Sherpa blanket, we have you covered.
In This Article We'll Discuss
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.
How to Hand Wash Sherpa
Due to sherpa’s delicate nature you can feel more comfortable hand washing it than a machine. It is more time consuming so no one will blame you for using a washing machine.
- Fill a basin large enough for the item you are using with water. This can be a large kitchen sink, a clean bath tub or large bucket. Make sure it’s with cold water as warm or hot water can damage the fleece.
- Submerge the sherpa fully in the water. Rub it gentle with your hands to ensure the fabric is thoroughly wet.
- Add gentle detergent to the basin. You won’t need much if you are just washing one item. Lather the item in soap and make sure you cover all parts of the sherpa to remove all dirt. Focus in one on stains.
- Try to lift the item in and out of the water to ensure you cover all portions of it. Remember sherpa is an excellent retainer of liquid so it will be much heavier than when you put it in.
- Now you can drain out all the water. You will have to push out all the excess water out of your blanket or sherpa item. Massage out as much water as possible if not the dry time will be extremely long.
- Follow the drying instructions below. Air drying is best but you can gently dry it in a standard dryer.
Make sure you use a bucket or basin large enough for your sherpa blanket. If you use one that is too small you won’t give yourself enough room to properly wash your item. Also, the biggest threat to the quality of your sherpa is friction and you want to give your fabric enough space to breathe.
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.
How do you Prevent Sherpa from Matting?
Matting is never a good thing for blankets and one of the worse things that can happen to a sherpa blanket. If you’ve ever washed sherpa with other items in the washing machine you have experienced this.
The main reason matting happens with sherpa blankets is from washing it and drying it with materials that damage it. The best way to prevent it from matting it washing sherpa items on their own. This will give them enough space.
How do you Fix a Matted Sherpa Blanket?
If you’ve already washed your sherpa blanket with other items and ended up with a matted mess, there is a solution.
You need a plastic brush that is strong but delicate enough that it won’t damage the blanket. A horse hair brush used to shine shoes or a pet hair brush would be sufficient. Always make sure to test it in a small area before working on the entire blanket.
Gently brush the entire blanket to remove all tangles and matting in the blanket. You may need to trim and cut off any particularly difficult portions of the blanket that brushing isn’t sufficient for.
Adding a fabric softener while brushing will speed up the process.
How Often Should you Wash a Sherpa Blanket?
How often you wash a sherpa blanket is going to depend heavily on how often you use it. For a majority of people it will be about once a month.
You will be able to tell once the sherpa blanket starts retaining odors that it’s time to wash it. If you share it with pets this will also make it sooner.
How do you Keep Sherpa Soft?
You bought your sherpa blanket or jacket after you felt how soft and warm it was. Keeping it soft is necessary for enjoying it.
Not caring properly for your new sherpa item is the easiest way to cause it to get damaged and lose its softness. The easiest way to protect it is to make sure you wash it alone. If you mix it with other items it will get matted and hard.
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.
Luis Diaz is the founder of this website and an avid home decor enthusiast. His goal is to help you make the best decisions when it comes to your home. Luis has been working in the home decor field for the past 10 years.