How to Wash and Clean Plush and Fleece Blankets

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Some of our most comfortable possessions come in the form of large plush or fleece blankets. But what do you do when it comes time to launder them? Usually it ends with a less soft and no longer beloved blanket.

​How to Wash a Blanket and Keep it Soft

​​Before you reluctantly put your blanket in the washer, take a few minutes to learn more about your blanket so you can take the best care of it.

Read the Tag

​​Does your blanket have a care tag? Most plush and fleece blankets will have a tag located close to the bottom corner seam. Read the tag to see if there are any special instructions for washing your blanket.

If the tag states your blanket is dry clean only, you may still be able to wash it at home. While reading the tag is very important, it is also more of a guideline to advise you on caring for the specific fabric.

Most of these super-soft blankets are made from 100% polyester. The main difference between fleece and super-soft plush blankets is the length of the blanket’s fibers. Fleece will be a shorter fiber while plush blankets have a longer fiber which gives it that luxurious soft feel.

Woman carrying a dark blue, pink, and cream folded wool blankets

​Caring for Fabrics that are not Polyester Based

While most of the plush or fleece blankets you will encounter are polyester based fabrics, there are a other types of blankets that may be considered as beloved as a fleece blanket.

Wool and cotton are the second favorites for a just as comfortable blanket. Knowing how to care for a wool blanket is very similar to caring for polyester. You will want to avoid any and all heat as that can cause wool to shrink.

Cotton’s main difference when it comes to washing and drying is that it can handle a little heat. Follow these washing instructions on your cotton blankets and then you can toss it in the dryer on low heat without worry.

If you are still unsure about how to wash soft blankets, try out these cleaning steps on a pair of fuzzy socks to see if they retain their softness.

​Note: Fuzzy socks and blankets aren’t the only ones that you can use these tips on, these would also work for a similar relative, the shag rug or carpet.

​How to Wash a Fleece Blanket without Ruining it

​​Set your washer to the cold-water option and the gentle or delicate cycle. If you need to sanitize your blanket, you can use a half a cup of white vinegar to aid in the cleaning.

You do not want to add in too much detergent. It won’t get your blanket cleaner and you run the risk of having excess detergent that cannot be rinsed from the fibers. Also, because of the delicate nature of fleece, its usually best to avoid washing these with other sensitive materials, like your mattress pad or other blankets. 

You also want to make sure the detergent you are using is free from bleach, or a natural cleaner you ​made at home. Using bleach can damage or discolor the fibers of your blanket.

When you begin the washer, it is best to let the water run before you add in your blanket. This will allow the water to premix the detergent as well as keep the water from running too hard over the fibers. This could potentially agitate or damage them, like it would wool products like carpets and rugs. 

  1. ​Set the washer and add in the detergent.
  2. ​Leave the lid open and wait until the water has finished filling before you add in your blanket.
  3. Submerge your plush blanket. (it is best to wash blankets alone)
  4. Close the lid and let the full cycle run.
  5. ​Once finished, you will want to skip the dryer, as tempting as it may be. Hang your blanket to air dry.

In a perfect world it is always spring out with a warm breeze and you have a nice long clothesline to use. But, that is not always the case.

If you don’t have a large drying rack for a blanket, you can push your shower curtain to the side and hang your blanket over the pole. You could also spread the blanket flat over a surface that has a few dry folded towels on top and flip it over every few hours until dry.

A white soft blanket hanging outdoors on a clothesline

How to Wash a Soft Blanket

​When it comes to learning how to wash plush blankets, sometimes you don’t need to soak the entire thing. If you have a small stain or spot, you may be able to spot clean it instead of doing a full wash.

Polyester fabric is naturally stain resistant, so you don’t need to soak and scrub it within an inch of its life. Instead, you can use a little bit of detergents or soap products and water.

You should not have to use a hard stain remover or chemical due to the fabric. It’s best to begin with something mild and work up if the stained area does not respond well.

Even if it is a white blanket, do not use bleach. This abrasive chemical can burn the ends of the fibers. This will lead to your blankets losing their soft feeling and being left with a scratchy surface.

  1. ​Treat the stained area with a mild soap or a ​detergent.
  2. ​Agitate the soap with your fingers to activate the cleaning power. (do not rub or scrub hard, this will damage or separate the fibers)
  3. ​Use a clean damp cloth to blot up the soap.
  4. ​Rinse and repeat the last step until the blanket no longer has soap residue.
  5. ​Use a paper towel to blot up as much moisture as you can.
  6. ​Hang up the blanket to let the wet spot air dry before you put it away or use it.

​​If you really want to dry your blanket in the dryer, you can put it on the no heat cycle if that is available. If not, a low heat setting will be okay as well.

Cream blanket curled up on a hardwood floor with the sun directly hitting it

When polyester fibers come into contact with heat, they can be scalded or burned by it. This is why you will want to avoid ironing or steaming your blanket, just in case the thought crossed your mind.


Knowing how to wash plush blankets will help you enjoy those evenings snuggled under a warm soft blanket without having to worry about what happens when you wash it.

Lauren Moldvay is a freelance writer from Virginia and the mother of one (not always) sweet little girl. She specializes in trying to help others find easier ways to clean, manage the home and save money with DIY projects.