How to Wash a Cotton Blanket

Ronna Pennington

Wash cotton blankets using the gentle cycle and drying at a medium heat setting. Freshen a blanket that is not soiled by hanging it outdoors.

Cotton blankets are not difficult to care for because they can be laundered at home using the gentle cycle of your washer and dried on medium heat. If the cotton blanket is not soiled, you can freshen it by simply hanging it outdoors briefly.

Washing and drying

    Load the Laundry

  1. Load the cotton blanket into the washing machine and close the lid. It is OK to add a moderate number of other cotton items to the washer.

  2. Warning

    Do not overload the washer. The cotton blanket needs to be able to move freely through the water for thorough cleaning.

    Add Detergents

  3. Refer to the instructions in your washing machine manual to determine how much laundry detergent to use. A mild, liquid detergent works best on cotton blankets.

  4. Warning

    Bleach is not recommended because it can break down the blanket's fibers.


    Apply stain removers at this stage if needed.

    Set the Machine

  5. Set the washing machine for the gentle cycle. Select settings for cold wash and cold rinse to avoid shrinking. Start machine.

  6. Dry the Blanket

  7. Remove the washed blanket and other items from the washer and put them into the drier. Clean the drier filter as recommended by the machine's manufacturer. Set the machine to a delicate setting with medium heat and start the cycle.

  8. Warning

    Setting the drier to high heat settings may cause shrinking. Avoid the chance of shrinking by drying the blanket for a shorter period of time at lower heat setting.


    Prevent mildew by drying thoroughly. If the cotton blanket is not dry after its first cycle, continue with additional low-heat cycles. A damp blanket may also be smoothed out flat to continue drying.