Can You Machine Wash a Picnic Blanket?

blue checkered blanket with mug

Whether spring, summer, or fall, sometimes there is nothing better than going on a picnic. It’s a great way to get some fresh air, see the outdoors, and spend some time with friends and family, not to mention that things might get romantic, depending on your company. So, can you machine wash a picnic blanket?

There are several things needed for a good picnic, and one is the blanket. If you go on a lot of picnics, chances are that the blanket will get dirty. No matter how careful you are with it, sooner or later, it’s going to require some cleaning.

That said, not all things are machine washable. Many types of clothing need to be hand washed or even dry cleaned. So, what about your grungy and smelly picnic blanket?

Can They Be Machine Washed?

This is not a one-size-fits-all kind of question. Whether your picnic blanket is machine washable or not depends on the blanket. You might think that this has to do with the material it is made of, but this is not always the case.

You could have two picnic blankets made of virtually the same materials, but one is machine washable, and the other is not. The only way to really know whether your picnic blanket is machine washable is to read the label.

The label will say things like machine wash on cold only, dry clean only, hand wash only, etc. That said, if you are going for specialty picnic blankets that incorporate silk or cashmere, you can be sure that you won’t be able to machine wash them, which may also be the case for heavy quilts.

How to Machine Wash a Picnic Blanket

There are three primary materials that picnic blankets will be made of. Let’s talk about how to wash picnic blankets made out of these three f materials.

Fleece and Microfiber Picnic Blankets

gray fleece blanket

Fleece and microfiber and fleece microfiber are not the same, but the washing method is usually the same. For this, you will need laundry detergent, fabric softener, and a clothesline or a drying rack.

  1. Pour your laundry detergent into the machine according to the size of the blanket being washed.
  2. Insert the picnic blanket into the washing machine.
  3. Set the washing machine to the gentle cycle while ensuring that you use cold water.
  4. When it is time for the rinse cycle, add a bit of fabric softener.
  5. Carefully remove the blanket from the washing machine and hand it up to dry. It has to be air-dried. You cannot put your picnic blanket in the dryer, as the materials will clump together, plus the blanket may shrink.

Wool Picnic Blankets

colorful wool blanket

You may have a wool picnic blanket, in which case you will need some very mild laundry detergent and a drying rack. Follow the steps below to machine wash your wool picnic blanket.

  1. Before you start, make sure the blanket is machine washable.
  2. Place the blanket in the washing machine along with a bit of mild detergent.
  3. Set the washing machine to the gentle cycle while ensuring that you use cold water.
  4. Do not allow your wool blanket to go through the spin cycle for more than one minute, or else it will stretch it out.
  5. Hang the wool blanket up to air dry. Never put it in the dryer, or else it will shrink. Wool and dryers don’t mix.

Plastic-Backed Picnic Blankets

brown checkered with plastic-baacked

There are picnic blankets that have plastic backings to keep you dry on wet grass. For the most part, these are not machine washable, although if you are careful, you can take your chances.

You can try washing your plastic-backed picnic blanket on the gentle cycle, using cold water and very mild detergent. Do not let it spin out, or it may damage the plastic. The plastic will hold a lot of water, so you will want to use a bucket when removing it from the washing machine, or you will get water everywhere. As always, hang the blanket up. Do not dry it in the dryer.


With everything we discussed, the final thing that we want to say is that if the blanket is not too bad, try spot cleaning it. Picnic blankets should not be machine washed too often, backings to keep you dry on wet grass.

Leave a Reply