how to clean a mexican blanket

How Do You Wash a Mexican Blanket?

Mexican blankets, often referred to as “serapes” or “sarapes”, are vibrant, colorful, and integral to Mexican culture. Not only are they aesthetically beautiful, but they’re also functional, offering warmth and comfort, an important example of Mexican textiles. As with all cherished items, they require special care to maintain their vibrant colors and soft texture. Cleaning them properly ensures they remain in good condition for years to come.

Mexican blankets, known for their vibrant colors and soft texture, are often crafted from materials such as wool, cotton, and synthetic fibers. These materials, combined with traditional woven patterns, give them their unique appeal. So how do you wash a Mexican blanket and retain its quality.

Requiring special care during cleaning, it’s crucial to be aware of the type of yarn used and the blanket’s weight. Hand washing in cold water with a mild detergent is the safest method, while machine washing on a delicate cycle offers convenience. Dry cleaning serves as an alternative for professional care. Steer clear of bleach and harsh cleaning agents, and always opt for air drying in a shaded area to preserve the blanket’s quality and long life.

Let’s dive into these methods in detail so your great example of Mexican craftsmanship can keep as new.

Hand Washing a Mexican Blanket

Hand washing is often considered the safest method to clean delicate items like a Mexican blanket. It allows for a controlled environment, ensuring the colors remain bright and the fabric remains intact.

  1. Prepare the Basin: Fill a basin or bathtub with cold water. Avoid hot water as it might lead to color fading or shrinking.
  2. Add Mild Detergent: Choose a gentle, color-safe detergent. Mix until it fully dissolves.
  3. Submerge the Blanket: Place the blanket in the water, gently moving it around with your hands. Let it soak for about 30 minutes to allow any dirt or residues to loosen.
  4. Agitate Gently: Using your hands, gently move the blanket around in the water to help lift any dirt or residues.
  5. Rinse: Empty the soapy water and replace with fresh cold water. Rinse the blanket multiple times to ensure all detergent is removed.
  6. Press Out Excess Water: Instead of wringing, press the blanket between your hands or against the side of the basin to remove excess water, preserving the blanket’s integrity.
  7. Drying: Lay the blanket on a clean towel. Roll the towel up with the blanket inside, pressing gently to absorb moisture. Unroll and place the blanket flat in a shaded area, ensuring it’s spread out evenly for air drying.

Machine Washing a Mexican Blanket

Machine washing offers convenience for those with limited time or space for hand washing. When approached with caution, a washing machine can effectively clean a Mexican blanket without compromising its quality.

  1. Preparation: Check the blanket for any loose threads or damages. Consider the blanket’s fringe care and fix any issues before washing to prevent further deterioration.
  2. Set the Machine: Opt for the delicate cycle to provide a gentler wash.
  3. Water Temperature: Cold water is the best choice to prevent colors from fading or bleeding.
  4. Detergent Selection: Use a mild, color-safe detergent that doesn’t contain harsh chemicals or cleaning agents.
  5. Place the Blanket: Ensure the blanket is spread out in the washing machine, avoiding any folds or bunching.
  6. Limit Load Size: It’s best to wash the blanket on its own or with similar items to prevent abrasion and to maintain the blanket’s authenticity verification.
  7. Spin Cycle: Use a low spin setting to reduce the risk of stretching or damaging the fabric.
  8. Drying: After washing, avoid twisting or wringing. Spread the blanket out flat in a shaded area, ensuring it retains its shape while air drying.

Dry Cleaning a Mexican Blanket

Dry cleaning is a professional approach to ensuring your Mexican blanket stays pristine. This method uses chemical solvents, rather than water, to remove stains and dirt, making it a suitable choice for preserving delicate fabrics.

  1. Select a Cleaner: Research and choose a reputable dry cleaner in your area, preferably one with experience in handling Mexican blankets.
  2. Discuss Concerns: Before handing over the blanket, discuss any specific stains or concerns you might have.
  3. Check for Color Fastness: Ask the cleaner to perform a color-fastness test, especially if the blanket has never been cleaned before.
  4. Ask About Chemicals: Gain insight into the solvents they use. This ensures they employ materials safe for your blanket.
  5. Request Gentle Treatment: Emphasize the need for gentle care, considering the blanket’s significance and delicate nature.
  6. Pick-up and Inspection: Once cleaned, inspect the blanket at the cleaner’s location. Ensure there’s no damage or discoloration.
  7. Storage: After retrieval, keep the blanket in a cool, dry place. Avoid storing it in plastic, as it needs to breathe. Instead, use a cotton sheet or cover for protection.


Can I iron a Mexican blanket?

Certainly, ironing a Mexican blanket is possible. Opt for a low heat setting on your iron. Placing a protective cloth or a thin towel between the iron and the blanket helps protect its fibers and colors from potential heat damage. This barrier ensures even heat distribution without direct contact, preserving the blanket’s texture.

How do I keep a Mexican blanket soft after washing?

Maintaining the softness of a Mexican blanket post-wash can be achieved by being mindful of the products and techniques you employ. Avoid harsh chemicals or detergents that can strip the natural softness of the fibers. After washing, allowing the blanket to air dry naturally and not exposing it to high heat helps retain its original texture. Gentle agitation during washing rather than vigorous scrubbing also plays a role in keeping the blanket soft.

Can I use bleach to wash a Mexican blanket?

Bleach is not recommended for Mexican blankets. Its strong chemical composition can weaken the fabric and dramatically fade its vibrant colors. Instead, stick to mild detergents and gentle cleaning agents that are designed for delicate or colored fabrics.

Can I dry a Mexican blanket in the dryer?

While it’s preferable to air dry a Mexican blanket, if you are pressed for time or lack the space, a dryer can be used cautiously. Set the dryer on a low or no-heat setting. This minimizes the potential for shrinking or damaging the fibers. Check the blanket periodically to ensure it’s not overheating and remove it when it’s still slightly damp to shape it and let it finish drying naturally.

Will washing a Mexican blanket ruin its colors?

Proper washing techniques preserve the vibrant hues of a Mexican blanket. Cold water, combined with a gentle detergent, prevents colors from bleeding or fading. Hand washing or using a machine’s delicate cycle provides a gentle environment, reducing the risk of color loss. Avoiding direct sunlight when drying also protects the colors from potential fading.


Caring for a Mexican blanket requires attention to detail and gentle handling. Whether you choose to hand wash, machine wash, or dry clean, always use gentle methods to maintain its vibrant colors and soft texture. Proper care ensures your blanket remains a cherished item for years to come.