What is a Thermal Cotton Blanket? Uses, Benefits, and More!

cotton thermal blankets

Whether you’re home or at a campsite, nothing feels as great as curling up in a blanket. The fuzzy and cozy feeling instantly the stage for a good night’s sleep. We know winters are still a few months away, but a good-quality blanket should be within reach all year round. 

If you’re looking to buy a new blanket, how about choosing a thermal one over the usual quilts and comforters? Thermal blankets are cleverly designed to keep you warm without being too bulky. Read our blog to learn about what is a thermal cotton blanket and why you should buy one for your home.

Table of Contents

What are Thermal Blankets?

Also known as space blankets and emergency blankets, thermal blankets are specially crafted to trap body heat, keeping you insulated naturally. The right material, construction, and weave can easily put a thermal blanket in the same league as multiple layers of linen, insulation-wise. And it doesn’t hurt that they are incredibly lightweight. Here are some of the most popular thermal blankets you’ll find in the market.

  • Fleece Blanket: Ultra-soft, plush, and cozy thermal blankets made from microfiber fleece are a crowd favorite for the winters. However, these might be a bit too warm for the rest of the year.
     
  • Cotton Blanket: While cotton itself doesn’t have great insulation properties but tightly woven cotton blankets are perfect for all-season warmth.

  • First Aid Blankets: These blankets are usually made from superior-grade aluminized Mylar and are highly effective at stopping body heat loss. Water-proof, airtight, and heat-reflective, these blankets are widely used during emergency rescue operations in extreme weather conditions. 

What is a Thermal Cotton Blanket?

Among various types of thermal blankets, the ones made from cotton are the most versatile. Why? For starters, these are light, airy, and expertly woven for all-weather snuggles. It’s the thermal knit that transforms ordinary cotton into an insulated fabric. 

A thermal cotton blanket provides ample warmth to drive the chill away on cool autumn evenings while being perfect for layering on cold winter nights. These also hold up remarkably well through washing and drying without shrinking or wrinkling. 

Things to Look for in an Ideal Thermal Cotton Blanket

If you’ve made up your mind to buy a thermal cotton blanket for your home, here are a few things to factor in your selection. 

Type of Cotton

Thermal cotton blankets are available in traditionally grown cotton as well as organic cotton fabric. We recommend opting for eco-friendly blankets made from sustainable organic cotton. These blankets are also gentle on the skin as they are free of dyes and harsh chemicals.  

Thermal Knit 

As we mentioned before, it’s the knit that makes all the difference in the case of cotton blankets. Thermal weaves are designed to store the heat in their tiny cellular pockets but are loose enough for the air to circulate. Besides enhancing the insulation properties of cotton, thermal knits add to durability by holding the fibers tightly together. The most common types of thermal knits are waffle, basket, ribbed, dobby, and honeycomb. 

Weight 

Most thermal cotton blankets come with grams per square in the range of 300-450 GSM. These are super light yet surprisingly cozy to keep you insulated in autumns and summers while becoming the perfect base layer during winters. 

Dimensions

When buying a thermal blanket for your bed, keep in mind the mattress size and add a few inches to it. This way, you’ll be sure the blanket will cover the bed and get tucked in. For a queen-sized mattress, your blanket should be 92” x  92” and 100” x 92” if it’s king-sized. Blankets for standard twin beds mattress should measure approximately 62” x 92” 

1. Waffle Weave

waffle weave

A waffle weave blanket has an indented square-ish pattern resembling a waffle that works brilliantly in retaining heat. Their waffled appearance and understated hues are sure to add plenty of texture to any room or bedding. 

2. Honeycomb Knit

Much like a waffle knit, a honeycomb weave creates three-dimensional cellular pockets to trap heat and keep you warm. These blankets are soft, plush, and durable, depending on the quality of cotton. The ones made from organically grown cotton usually come in neutral earthy shades that pair beautifully with a variety of home decors.

3. Rib Weave

rib weave

A rib weave blanket is like any other thermal cotton blanket - light, snuggly, and breathable for all-season use. In looks, however, a ribbed thermal cotton blanket is more understated than its waffle and honeycomb counterparts. It’s nevertheless a timeless pattern that complements modern and traditional aesthetics. 

4. Herringbone Design

herringbone weave

These uniquely woven blankets aren’t there just to layer up in the winters. They are pretty eye-catching too! If you haven’t guessed already, a Herringbone pattern is inspired by fish bones, such as that of a herring. You’ll notice small rectangular shapes all over, laid out in a zig-zag.

5. Dobby Weave

dobby weave

It’s fascinating how knitting can transform cotton from a breezy, summer-friendly fabric to winter-ready. A cotton dobby weave blanket is made using cotton threads on a special dobby loom. It has small geometric shapes all over that enhance the thermal qualities of the cloth while making it look attractive. 

6. Basket Weave

basket weave

Most frequently spotted among all thermal weaves is the classic basketweave design. These cotton blankets are tightly knit to emulate the criss-cross pattern of a wicker basket. Like other thermal weaves, not only does a basketweave stop body heat from escaping, but the texture keeps the fabric from clinging to the skin, in turn improving heat distribution and airflow. 

7. Combed Cotton

Combed cotton is not a weave but a type of cotton which is softer and more delicate than ordinary cotton. The fibers undergo a sophisticated treatment to remove the shorter fibers before spinning them into yarn. Blankets made of combed cotton are lusciously soft and cozy - ideal for wrapping around yourself in the winters while being light and airy to comfort you even on balmy summer days.

8 Amazing Benefits of Thermal Cotton Blankets

Whether you choose regular or organic variety, the benefits of a thermal cotton blanket are too many to ignore! That said, whenever you have to choose between something made from conventional cotton and organic cotton, we’d urge you to go organic every single time. 

1. Eco-Friendly and Sustainable

Conventional cotton is often called the “dirtiest” crop for being high on pesticides and responsible for releasing staggering amounts of greenhouse emissions. In comparison, organically grown cotton produces 40% less greenhouse gas emissions. It also requires 91% less water than regular cotton and is grown without harmful chemicals or pesticides. 

Related Article: 50 Tips on How to be More Sustainable

2. Skin-Friendly and Non-Toxic

In contrast to any conventionally grown natural fiber or synthetic fabric, organic cotton is highly unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. It is free of pesticides, dyes, and pigments - basically anything that could be harsh on the skin. 

3. Soft and Breathable

While cotton scores big in softness and breathability, organic cotton is a few steps ahead. Thermal blankets made from 100% certified organic cotton are not just soft but also hypoallergenic. Plus, the woven texture makes these blankets comfier vs. plain fabric by allowing for excellent airflow and insulation. You’ll never get too sweaty or chilly with these!

4. Lightweight and Durable

When it comes to keeping the winter chill out, a thick, thermal knit cotton blanket can take on a heavy-duty traditional blanket or comforter. It’s much lighter in comparison, making it perfect for use at home or to carry around on your travels and adventures. Cotton blankets are also exceptionally sturdy, thanks to the weave that keeps the fibers interlocked. You won’t find these shrinking, shedding or piling even after repeated wash.

5. Designed for All-Year Use

The air permeability of textured thermal weaves is much lower than that of plain fabric. The weave adds thermal resistance to cotton by making small pockets to trap warmth between yarns while allowing for good air circulation under the blanket. No matter the season, a thermal cotton blanket will serve you well by keeping you warm and relaxed throughout the year.

6. Stylish

The gorgeous patterns and earthy colors will add charm to any room or bedding ensemble. Thermal cotton blankets, especially the smaller-sized ones, are light enough to be used as an inviting throw blanket. Place it on a couch, reading chair, or bed and watch the room come to life.

7. Pocket-Friendly

Between a traditional blanket or quilt, a thermal organic cotton blanket is a more cost-effective option. They are woven to last and can be used all year compared to blankets made from wool, fleece, and polyester, which can only be used in winter.

8. Easy to Wash and Store

While some winter blankets (think wool, faux fur, and electric) might require special care, the upkeep of cotton blankets is a fuss-free affair! You can toss them in the washer with the rest of your laundry and line-dry or tumble-dry. Thanks to the weaves, these blankets are usually wrinkle-free. Once clean, fold and store them anywhere. These hardly take up any space.

Final Thoughts

The thing about thermal cotton weave blankets is that they are as pleasing to the eyes as they are cozy. Available in a wide array of designs, knits, and earthy shades, you can use them alone in the summers or as an extra layer in winters—all in all, a wonderful invention that deserves to be a part of every home.

Author: Karen Lamar

Karen is the Chief Content Officer at Organic Cotton Mart. She has a Master's Degree in Environmental Science from NC State with a special focus in Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy. Since her High School days, she has been an Environmentalist and was the President of her High School's Environmental Club for 3 years before starting her freshman year at NC State. She has a deep knowledge and understanding of various environment-friendly movements like zero waste, minimalistic living, recycling, and upcycling.

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