A phosphoramidate flame retardant (dimethyl N , N -bis(2-hydroxyletheyl)phosphoramidate, DMBHP) was synthesized and applied to cotton fabrics for enhancing the flame retardancy. The structure of DMBHP was characterized by FT-IR and NMR. The flame retardancy and combustion behavior of the treated cotton fabrics were evaluated using the vertical flammability test (VFT), limiting oxygen index (LOI), and the cone calorimetric test. Moreover, to further analyze the flame retardant action of DMBHP in cotton fabrics, thermal degradability of the treated fabrics, as well as the chemical structure, surface morphology, and element contents of the char residue of the DMBHP-treated fabrics were also evaluated. The results show that, after treating with DMBHP, the cotton fabrics acquired a LOI value from 18.1 to 31.1 with the concentration increasing to 30% and self-extinguished in VFT tests when treated with up to 15% DMBHP. Besides, the total heat release and the peak heat release rate of DMBHP (30%)-treated fabric decreased obviously compared with the pure cotton along with more residue retained. TG, SEM, and EDS results of treated cotton fabric and the corresponding residue after burning showed that DMBHP has the capability of enhancing char formation. In addition, DMBHP will confer cotton fabrics a certain durability against washing with the help of 1,2,3,4-butanetetracarboxylic acid (BTCA) and citric acid (CA).