How to wash a Sherpa blanket – 5 tips to maintain the delicate texture

Washing Sherpa incorrectly can ruin its fluffy texture – here’s how the experts keep them in top condition

blue laundry room with washer and dryer
(Image credit: Symphony)

Sherpa blankets are the epitome of coziness. Their fluffy texture and super warm properties make them perfect for snuggling up for long nights on the sofa. But how do you wash a Sherpa blanket without taking away from how they feel?

Between knowing how often you should wash your blankets and how to do laundry with delicate textiles, there are some important rules to follow to avoid damaging the soufflé-like feel.  

Here are the five essential steps textile experts follow when washing a Sherpa blanket to keep it soft.

How to wash a Sherpa blanket

Much like washing fleece or washing a woolen blanket, it is important to check the laundry symbols before throwing your Sherpa in the washing machine, Barbara Stern, textiles expert at Ottoman Textiles, begins:

‘Before washing, it’s prudent to check the care instructions on the blanket's tag, as specific care guidelines might vary from one brand to another. The blend of gentle washing, mindful product selection, and appropriate drying methods will not only ensure the longevity of your cherished Sherpa blanket but also retain its inviting softness and cozy allure.’

farmhouse modern laundry room with a basket, lots of linens, white cabinets and neutral walls

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

1. Stick to spot cleaning when possible

When it comes to delicate fibers like Sherpa, spot cleaning should be your go-to cleaning tip before you even consider throwing it in the washing machine, says Muffetta Krueger, cleaning expert and founder of Muffetta’s Domestic Assistants.

‘If there are specific stains or spills on the Sherpa blanket, it's a good idea to spot-clean them first. Use a mild detergent and water to gently clean the affected area. Avoid harsh chemicals that can damage the fabric,’ she recommends. 

Spot cleaning regularly and as needed will stretch the time between washes, she adds. This can help to preserve the fluffy texture.

Muffetta Krueger
Muffetta Krueger

Muffetta Krueger is a cleaning expert and founder of Muffetta’s Domestic Assistants with over 16 years of operational management experience in the service industry. Muffetta’s Domestic Assistants provides housekeepers, house cleaners and maids, and is based in New York.

2. Use a delicate cycle

Although Sherpa is not so delicate that it requires hand washing, it is essential to use a delicate cycle on a washing machine when laundering this type of fabric, Barbara Stern, textiles expert, advises. This is essential to preserve its softness and reduce static and friction in your machine, she explains.

‘It's advisable to use a mild laundry detergent, steering clear of any harsh chemicals or bleach that could potentially damage the fabric or cause pilling,’ she adds. ‘For an added measure of fabric care, consider using a detergent designed for delicate fabrics.’

3. Avoid fabric softeners

Despite its name, fabric softener does nothing to soften the feel of Sherpa, and should be avoided, warns Tadas Pukas, CEO and founder of Minimalistic Linen. This is because they often contain silicones that coat and stiffen already soft fibers such as Sherpa, he says.

‘Instead, opt for natural alternatives like using vinegar in laundry in small quantities, which helps soften the fabric without causing damage,’ Tadas suggests.  

Cleaning Vinegar | $4.99 at Target

Cleaning Vinegar | $4.99 at Target
Having a container of cleaning vinegar in your cleaning cabinet is essential for all sorts of household chores. 

4. Don’t overload the machine

‘It is so important that you don't overload the washing machine – especially when treating Sherpa,’ begins Muffetta Krueger, cleaning expert. ‘Overcrowding is a common bedding laundry mistake that can cause friction and lead to matting of the Sherpa fabric. It's better to wash the blanket on its own or with a few other soft items.’ 

5. Air dry only

There are several benefits to air drying your laundry be it a Sherpa throw or even drying your clothes.

Lina DaSilva, cleaning expert and founder of Toronto Shine Cleaning, always chooses to air dry blankets to help maintain the soft texture. This is because, even when using the delicate setting on a tumble dryer, high heat can melt the fibers, resulting in a rough finish that is far from comfortable to cuddle up with. 

Lina suggests laying the blanket flat on a drying rack, like this from Amazon, to allow it to dry fully without stretching. You can use a dehumidifier to help aid the drying process too if you don't want to wait around.  

Clothes Drying Rack | $69.99 at Amazon

Clothes Drying Rack | $69.99 at Amazon
This foldable clothes drying rack is perfect for drying your clothes and household linens naturally, and folds up neatly to be stowed away when not in use.


How do I make my Sherpa fluffy again?

If your Sherpa blanket has matted, you can use a soft-bristled brush sprayed with cool water to brush out the tight fibers. Lay the blanket over a flat, sturdy surface such as a table and pull the material taught before working for the best effect.

How do you get debris out of a Sherpa?

If your Sherpa blanket or garment has picked up debris between its fluffy bobbles, then you can turn to either a vacuum cleaner or heavy-duty tape to help remove it without having to go in with a pair of tweezers. Either use a soft upholstery brush to work the debris out of the tight fibers or lay the sticky side of the tape down onto the fleece and pull it away carefully – this should pull the debris with it.  

When keeping on top of your Sherpa blanket maintenance, it is important to only wash them when absolutely necessary. Usually, this will be whenever it starts to smell a little musty, has something spilled on it, or every few months if you use it regularly to keep it hygienic. Spreading the time between washes will improve your chances of keeping it fluffy and fresh for longer.

Chiana Dickson
Content Editor

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for two years, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.