How to Choose the Best Hospital Blankets for Your Patients

Many things need to be considered when choosing hospital blankets. Importantly, there’s no single “best” option. Choosing the blankets to equip your rooms is a balancing act where you evaluate multiple properties of the blanket. 

What Makes a Good Hospital Blanket?


Although texture preferences can vary from person to person, most people want a blanket they consider soft. This is especially true if a person is going to need to be in contact with the material for a long period, which can certainly be the case for those staying at a hospital. 

Admittedly, this isn’t a particularly hard trait to find in a blanket. The common materials used to make blankets—such as cotton, wool, linen and more—are all soft to varying degrees. A hospital blanket also doesn’t necessarily need to be luxuriously soft, although certain high-end facilities may want blankets of suitably high-quality materials. 


Breathable blankets allow air and some water vapor created by sweat to pass through the material more easily. There’s a balance to be struck here because too breathable a fabric may not trap enough heat, but a blanket can be reasonably breathable and warm. 

Cotton is known to be reasonably breathable. It is typically an excellent choice for a hospital blanket unless you specifically need something else.


Unless a hospital is in an especially warm climate, a patient is going to want their blanket to keep them warm. Although it’s reasonable to have different blanket thicknesses available, especially if temperatures can vary in your hospital’s rooms, you will ideally want some options that can trap enough heat so a patient doesn’t need multiple blankets. The more blankets a person needs to be comfortable, the more those blankets see wear and need to be cleaned over the course of a patient’s stay.


Cost can’t be the only factor when choosing blankets for a hospital room, but it should be considered. A hospital may need dozens or hundreds of blankets, depending on its size. At that scale, even small savings per blanket can add up. 

Blankets also wear out, so they aren’t a one-time expense. Although a hospital will almost certainly have bigger expenses, good blankets are available at reasonable price points. Don’t assume a pricier blanket is necessarily better. If you’re going to pay more for something, research its qualities and make sure it’s worth that expense.


Durability is often underestimated when considering cost. Imagine a blanket that lasts five times as long as another but costs twice as much. On the surface, that first blanket seems like the pricier option (and initially it is). However, the less durable blanket will wear out (in theory) five times before the more durable option. In the end over time, that means going with the initially cheaper option would be much more expensive than the more durable one.

Special Accommodations

Some patients will have unique needs or preferences that make a hospital’s default blankets unsuitable. If a hospital makes the (perfectly reasonable) choice of primarily equipping rooms with cotton blankets, they should keep in mind that some patients may have a cotton allergy. These patients will need a material that doesn’t irritate their skin. 

Other patients may not need but still want blankets of varying textures, breathability and warmth. Although it may not be possible to make every patient happy, having a wide variety of blankets in storage can help make most patients happy with your accommodations. As a general rule, if a patient has a reasonable request regarding how you might improve their stay, it’s best if you can meet it.

Important Considerations for a Medical Setting

Medical settings like hospitals see conditions different than something like a typical hospitality business. Because hospitals see a cycle of sick clients flowing into their rooms, it’s critical that blankets and other linens are thoroughly cleaned in a way that minimizes the chance of germs surviving on these materials as much as is feasible. Although hygiene is important in a hospitality business, it is literally an issue of life or death in hospitals and clinics. 

This means a hospital blanket should be easy to clean, able to handle a potentially harsher cleaning process than normal and be of a color that doesn’t hide signs of staining or any health issues. Although a hospital blanket can still look aesthetically pleasing, it’s important that any aesthetic choice being made doesn’t affect the life span or safety of using the blanket in a medical setting.

We discuss the differences between two common blanket materials, cotton and polyester, in this article. If this is a topic you’re interested in, go there to learn more!

Alsco’s Medical Linen Services

Broadly, a good hospital blanket delivers a comfortable experience to patients without being expensive to a facility that may need dozens of them and to replace them semi-regularly. This typically means using cotton blankets because they’re widely available and affordable. Although cotton blankets can have the qualities patients want, other options are still worth researching. 

It’s also worth noting that you don’t need to buy blankets. At Alsco, we offer a variety of services, including linen rental, which can allow you to get quality, clean bed linens and more at an affordable rate. We pride ourselves in managing and cleaning linens, so you don’t have to worry about the day-to-day details. Reach out to us today to learn more about how we can keep your hospital stocked with clean, fresh and quality blankets.

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