Your weighted blanket arrived, and you immediately snuggle under it’s weighted goodness. You get your coffee, maybe a book; your cat jumps in to check it out. You sink into your favorite chair. You’re all set. You take a deep breath. Mmmmmmm. You feel the calm sweeping over you like a gentle breeze on a summer day.
Fast-forward a few weeks. You’ve accidentally spilled some coffee on your blanket, or something more exciting, or your visiting niece had an unfortunately timed diaper accident. Whatever the reason, it’s time to give the blanket a good washing.
How should I wash my weighted blanket?
The basics (the TL;DR) are these:
To keep your blanket in tip-top shape, wash separately, in a cool wash with gentle detergent (no chlorine bleach or fabric softener) and either hang dry or tumble dry on low.
But since each weighted blanket can be a different combination of fabrics, here is some more specific information.
Rated for the dryer
All the blankets I make are rated for the dryer. The fabrics can be dried, and the poly pellet filling can be dried without melting into hard blobs of awfulness. The reason I recommend cool dry or hang dry is not for the filling. No siree. It’s for the fabric, which will stay nicer longer when gently laundered.
When you hang dry
If you choose to hang dry your blanket, hang it evenly over your laundry line or a tub in order to help the blanket maintain it’s shape. It is best not to hang a blanket, especially a weighted one, from one edge.
The good news about hang-drying is that most washer machines do a really great job during the spin cycle of getting most of the water out (if it doesn’t, is it worn out?), so drying shouldn’t take too long.
Should you head to the laundromat?
If your blanket is over 20lbs, be kind to your home washer and take the weighted blanket to the laundromat and use their largest, commercial size machines for washing and drying, following the same instructions above. Typically I recommend using a duvet with blankets over 20lbs to reduce the number of times that special trip has to be made (because even if you’re already making that trip, you might not want to lug a 20+lb blanket to the laundromat regularly), but there are definitely times when even the hard-to-wash items need a good spring cleaning.
Detergent, fabric softener, bleach
For best results, use a gentle detergent, no fabric softener or dryer sheets, and only non-chlorine bleach when necessary. Fabric softeners can build up in the blanket making it less soft (or even rough and scratchy, depending on the fabric). Chlorine will break down the fibers in the blanket.
Do not iron
I’m having a hard time envisioning a scenario where anyone would feel the need to iron their weighted blanket. But in case you were considering it, just don’t. The only situation where it probably wouldn’t be an issue is if you have a 100% cotton blanket weighted with glass beads… but I’m sitting here imagining the blanket slipping off the ironing board and thinking, “nope, too much work!” That said, if it’s really important to you to cover/hide any wrinkles, I recommend embracing whatever natural look it is presenting to you, and either covering the bed with another blanket or using a duvet.
What about my duvet?
To wash a duvet, follow the same instructions for washing a weighted blanket. The primary difference is that, if you are so inclined, you CAN iron it — with steam, on low-to-medium heat. Just, please, don’t iron the zippers. They will thank you.
Minky is an awesome fabric that washes easily and comes out just as soft as when you put it in. The plush minky fabrics do their very best when washed alone, eliminating extra friction the other laundry items can create. If you have a stubborn stain, use non-chlorine bleach or an oxygen bleach. If you have a large blanket that you only want to spot clean, use a toothbrush to help scrub out the stain.
Wash your Fleece in a warm wash and rinse; dry on low heat. If there is a particular stain that you are wanting to wash out, let your fleece blanket soak for 45min or so to loosen the stain. In previous experience it might seem like machine washing did your fleece a disservice, but it is often the products we are using that keep our blankets from coming out of the dryer soft and fluffy. Use a gentle to mild-powered detergent. Also, fleece is one of the fabrics that can tolerate fabric softener, and you might find that it really helps, in this case. Runing an extra rinse to eliminate any extra detergent or softener that remains in the fabric will help ensure your blanket is soft when it dries. To reduce pilling, air dry only.
Many of my blankets are made with 100% Cotton. For best results wash and dry in small loads or separately. Large loads can create extra heat or agitation which wears on the blanket. To keep colors bright, add 1/2 cup of vinegar to the wash.
Another form of the cotton blanket is flannel. Wash cool or warm — do NOT wash with hot water as this will increase wear and tear on the blanket. Dry on low heat and remove from the dryer immediately to avoid over-drying the fibers. It is okay to use fabric softener and/or dryer sheets with flannel; however, if the fabric starts to lose it’s softness, wash without and run an extra rinse — extra residue can cause the fabric to feel stiff.
Finally, if your blanket is made with a linen-rayon blend, only use diluted bleaches for stain removal to avoid weakening the cellulosic fibers. Oxygen bleach is best, when needed. While most rayon fabrics must be dry-cleaned, this particular blend that I use is washer and dryer friendly.
What do I do if I spilled ____ on my blanket?
Honestly, I’m not a stain expert. The only hard-earned tip I have is, whatever you do, treat your stains and be sure they’re gone BEFORE you put your blanket in the dryer, because the dryer acts like an oven and bakes it in… and it will be permanently set.
Since not everyone goes for the “it might be stained but I swear, it’s CLEAN” look (ahem), here are some links that might be helpful:
So let your kid drag their blanket to the dentist
or to grandmas or take your own blanket on that trip you’ve been planning. Know that your blanket is easily washed when you get home.
You can pull it out of the dryer, all soft and cuddly, and snuggle under it’s weighted goodness. You can get your coffee, your book, the cat, and sink into your favorite chair. Take a deep breath. Mmmmmmm. Feel the calm sweeping over you all over again.