Sherpa blankets and jackets are known for being incredibly soft and warm. The fluffy sherpa material feels great against your skin and provides excellent insulation. However, keeping your sherpa items clean can be a challenge. The delicate fabric and texture require special care to avoid damage during washing.
Follow these tips to successfully wash both sherpa blankets and jackets without ruining the material:
Check the Care Label
The first step is always to check the care label on your sherpa item. The manufacturer’s instructions will provide specifics on washing, drying, ironing and any other care needed for that particular piece.
Some key things to look for on sherpa care labels:
- Washing machine or hand wash The care tag will tell you which method is recommended. Sherpa often should be hand washed or washed on a gentle cycle.
- Water temperature. Look for guidance on washing in cold, warm or hot water. Sherpa typically needs a colder wash.
- Tumble dry, no heat or air dry The label will explain the best drying method to prevent shrinkage or other damage.
- Any warnings Care instructions might advise against chlorine bleach, ironing, dry cleaning or other harsh treatments that could harm the sherpa’s look and feel.
By following the manufacturer’s care label, you can wash your sherpa properly for best results. When in doubt, go with a more gentle approach.
Wash on a Gentle Cycle
Use the gentle or delicate setting on your washing machine, even if the tag doesn’t specify. The agitation of a normal cycle can be rough on sherpa’s soft pile and cause pilling. A gentle cycle cleans efficiently while being kinder to the fabric.
Set your machine to use:
- Cold water, or at warmest the “cool” setting
- Low water level
- Extra slow agitation/spin speed
Washing sherpa items together rather than mixing them with other materials can also help prevent damage.
If needed, wash twice to fully clean while still using a gentle cycle. Dirt and oils can cling to sherpa’s thick pile. Washing twice ensures soils are fully removed. Just be sure to use a gentle detergent, proper temperature and slow settings.
Use a Mild Detergent
Harsh laundry detergents can be too rough on sherpa’s delicate texture. Stick to a mild liquid detergent, not powdered. Liquids dissolve fully and rinse out more efficiently from the thick fibers.
Avoid detergents with:
- Bleach or other harsh chemicals
- Strong perfumes or dyes
- Fabric softeners or dryer sheets
These additives can damage the fibers, cause buildup issues or leave behind unwanted scents/residues.
Look for a detergent that is:
- Free of dyes
- Formulated for delicates/woolens
Baby shampoo or a tiny bit of mild soap like Dawn also work well. The key is keeping it gentle with no additives that could cling to the fabric.
Use minimal detergent. Only add enough to lightly coat the load. Excess suds can be hard to fully rinse from sherpa.
Wash By Hand
For premium care, washing your sherpa item by hand is ideal. This gives you full control over the process for a gentle clean.
Follow these steps for hand washing:
- Fill a basin, tub or sink with cool water. Avoid hot temperatures that could shrink or damage the sherpa.
- Add a small amount of mild laundry detergent or soap. Swirl gently to dissolve.
- Submerge your sherpa item in the water. Let it soak for a few minutes so the detergent can start working on stains.
- Agitate the item very gently to clean. Do not scrub, wring or twist aggressively.
- Drain the wash water. Do not rinse yet. Refill basin with clean cool water for a second wash.
- Let item soak again, then gently agitate. The second bath helps ensure detergent residue is fully removed.
- Drain the basin again. Refill one last time with clean cool water to rinse.
- Gently press out excess moisture. Do not wring or twist. Lay flat to dry.
The hand wash method allows you to be extra gentle and thorough for sherpa’s wellbeing.
Skip the Fabric Softener
Fabric softener seems like it would be nice for fluffy sherpa, but skip this extra step. The oils and chemicals in softener and dryer sheets can leave an unwanted residue on the sherpa that reduces softness.
Softener can also reduce absorbency. This is problematic for bathrobes, blankets and other sherpa items where high absorbency is desirable.
The fabric softener can cling in the thick pile, causing limpness and matting over time. Let your sherpa air dry naturally soft instead.
Air Dry Thoroughly
Always air dry your sherpa blankets or jackets. Avoid putting sherpa in the dryer, even on low heat. The tumbling motion and heat will damage the delicate pile and cause shrinkage.
Here are tips for proper air drying:
- Shake item gently after washing to realign the nap.
- Lay flat on a towel or drying rack, reshape as needed.
- Allow sherpa to fully air dry, rotating periodically. Do not dry near direct heat.
- Plush sherpa may take many hours or even a full day to dry completely. Be patient.
- Fluff gently with your hands once dry to restore loft and softness.
Proper air drying is essential to keeping sherpa looking and feeling its best after washing. Take the time to let it dry naturally.
Between uses, store sherpa properly to avoid creases, dust and other damage:
- Fold gently along natural creases or roll up loosely. Avoid overly tight folds that can break fibers.
- Store in a breathable, dust-free space like under the bed in a cotton bag or shelved in a closet.
- Refold or reshape occasionally as needed.
- Wash before seasonal storage to remove oils and dirt that can attract moths or cause yellowing. Air dry fully before storage.
With some basic care, your sherpa blanket or jacket can stay looking fluffy and luxurious for many cozy seasons ahead. Check those tags, wash gently and air dry for best results.
Frequently Asked Questions About Washing Sherpa
1. Can I put my sherpa item in the washing machine?
Yes, most sherpa can be washed in the washing machine but it’s important to use the right settings. Always check the care label and wash on the gentle or delicate cycle in cold water. Avoid regular agitation that can damage the soft fibers.
2. How often should I wash my sherpa blanket or jacket?
Only wash when visibly soiled. Over-washing can cause excessive wear. For lightly used items, 2-3 times per year is often sufficient. Heavily used bathrobes or blankets may need monthly washing.
3. What temperature water should I use?
Wash sherpa in cold water, or at warmest use the “cool” setting. Hot water can cause shrinking, pilling or other damage.
4. Can I put sherpa in the dryer?
Never put sherpa in the dryer, even on low heat. Always air dry flat to prevent damage to the delicate pile. Proper drying is key to keeping sherpa soft and fluffy.
5. How can I soften up my sherpa after washing?
Skip any fabric softeners or dryer sheets that can leave residue. Simply fluff the pile gently with your hands after air drying to restore loft and softness. The sherpa will naturally soften as it dries.
With some special care, washing your sherpa correctly is certainly possible. By using a gentle cycle, mild detergent and proper air drying, you can keep your sherpa items looking and feeling fabulous. Always follow the manufacturer’s care label for optimal results. With the right techniques, you can safely wash your sherpa time after time without any damage or shrinking. Your favorite sherpa jacket or blanket will stay cuddly soft and luxurious for many cozy seasons to come.