You ordered it, unwrapped it, and immediately go underneath it. You’ve let it hug you all night, every night. You’ve even shared it for a minute with a friend, your kids, and the dog.
The one thing you haven’t done is put it through the wash. The instructions on the label say it’s okay to machine wash it, but you’re not quite ready to throw it in with the rest of your bedding.
Relax. Don’t ruin all the calming benefits of using your weighted blanket by worrying about washing it. We’ve put together this post especially for people who are in love with it but aren’t sure how to wash a weighted blanket.
Read our mini-guide to caring for your weighted blanket and enjoy many more nights of sweet dreams.
Read the Care Instructions First
It may sound like common sense, but the day your child spills red juice on your blanket is the one day you’ll forget about reading a care label. The care label on most weighted blankets says they’re machine washable.
If your blanket doesn’t have a care label, it’s likely someone made the blanket by hand. In that case, use extra caution when washing the blanket. Sometimes people who make weighted blankets by hand use dried beans, corn, rice, barley as filling. Imagine the problems you could have after a blanket filled with a food product gets wet.
The easiest way to find out about care instructions when you’re missing the label is to contact the manufacturer. Most weighted blanket manufacturers have websites where you’ll find instructions on how to contact customer care.
Washing a Weighted Blanket in a Washing Machine
Wash your blanket by itself. For most fabrics, you should wash in cold water and use your machine’s gentle cycle. Fabric is the biggest determining factor for how you wash your blanket. We’ll look briefly at the most popular weighted blanket fabrics next.
The other thing to consider when throwing a blanket in the washing machine is weight. Unless your blanket weighs in at 20 lbs. (or over) wash it in your laundry room. Blankets weighing 20+ lbs. do much better in a commercial size washing machine at a laundromat.
Tip: Just because you can your blanket in your washing machine doesn’t mean you should. Frequent washing may put an extra burden on your washing machine and cause it to wear out faster.
Now, we’ll move on to the relationship between fabric and how you wash your blanket.
Fabric Type Determines How You Wash
Each manufacturer uses a unique blend of fabrics and materials when they construct weighted blankets. You can buy blankets made from cotton, flannel, wool, and fleece. Minky is another popular weighted blanket fabric.
All these fabrics except wool do well in the washing machine. Wool does best if you handwash in cold water. Use a detergent made especially for delicate fabrics.
Blankets made of cotton need a cold water wash on the gentle cycle. Be careful not to wash cotton in water any warmer than 50 degrees Celsius (122 F) as it may shrink. Wash a cotton blanket with a non-chlorine powder or liquid.
Flannel, another easy to wash fabric, needs a mild detergent, the gentle cycle, and either cold or warm water. Fleece does best in a warm water wash, gentle cycle, with a gentle detergent. Fleece has a water repellent finish, meaning you should avoid fabric softener.
If your blanket is made from Minky, your wash instructions are a bit different. Minky, an ultra-plush 100% polyester fabric, can go in the washing machine, but it’s best to wash it alone. Pre-treat stains with non-chlorine bleach, then wash on cold, delicate cycle, with a gentle detergent.
What Is Inside Your Blanket?
Your blanket’s fabric determines how you wash it, but the filling also matters. Remember our earlier comment about filling made from food products? We’ll begin there.
Maybe your blanket was a gift made by someone who loves you. They chose an organic filler, perhaps because it’s less expensive and easy to find. Opt for spot cleaning blankets filled with food products since the filling won’t hold up well after frequent rounds in the washing machine.
The more widely used fillers are plastic poly pellets, micro glass beads, and steel shot beads. Every one of these fillers tolerates the washing machine and warm water temperatures, except plastic poly pellets.
Since they’re made from plastic, you shouldn’t wash poly pellets on high temperatures. If you do, there’s a risk of the pellets melting.
The only caution for micro glass beads and steel shot beads is not to wash in hot water.
Some DIYers use unconventional fillers, including river stone, pebbles, or sand. Pebbles and stones can likely tolerate any washing conditions but use caution if you have a blanket filled with sand.
When wet, sand expands (think of building sandcastles at the beach), and when it dries it clumps if not dried correctly. The best advice we can give about washing sand-filled weighted blankets is don’t wash them frequently.
The Best Cleaning Products for Weighted Blankets
With such an array of products available to wash clothes, towels, and bedding, how can you choose the best ones for your beloved blanket?
The keyword when selecting products is gentle. Many detergent manufacturers today make detergents considered gentle on skin and fabrics. Check the labels.
You can also use a detergent made especially for delicate fabrics or baby clothes.
Fabric softeners, another popular laundry product, is something you should be careful about using on your blanket. The problem with fabric softeners is they often build up and can make your blanket feel scratchy. Also, one fabric—fleece—doesn’t tolerate fabric softener at all.
Wondering about bleach? While using a small amount of bleach in a load of whites may work fine to perk up dinginess, never use chlorine bleach on a weighted blanket. If you find a stain, use a small amount of non-chlorine bleach.
If you prefer not to use non-chlorine bleach, you can always spot clean stains with baking soda or a dab of detergent.
The Gentlest Method Is Washing by Hand
While a washing machine is fine in most cases, you may feel more comfortable washing your blanket by hand.
Even though most manufacturers design their blankets for machine washing, they will tell you hand washing is more recommended. When you hand wash anything, you avoid putting it through the wear and tear fabric goes through in a washing machine.
Sure, you’re washing a big, bulky blanket by hand — but you can do it. Try washing in the bathtub or a deep laundry sink. Use a gentle detergent, and no bleach or other harsh cleaning products.
What about Drying My Weighted Blanket?
We’d be remiss if we showed you how to wash your blanket and left you out to dry on the rest of the care routine.
First, check your care label as it not only gives you washing instructions but should also list how to dry. Even so, not all dryers are the same, and you must take care when setting the dryer temperature.
Most labels indicate you should tumble dry on the low setting. If your blanket has a microbead filling, it can tolerate a little higher temperature than most poly pellets. That said, it’s not always the filling we’re worried about, it’s the fabric.
Any fabrics used for weighted blankets will look and feel fantastic longer if you give them TLC during the drying process.
If you can, think about hang drying your blanket. You can either drape it evenly over your laundry sink or hang it outside.
What Not to Do
There’s always that one friend who comes along and tells you about what you shouldn’t do—that’s us! We want you to enjoy your blanket for as many years as possible so we’re sharing two big do not dos!
You may feel tempted, but don’t iron your weighted blanket. Sometimes after washing some blanket fabrics look wrinkled. Let them stay wrinkled or cover them up with a duvet cover. Ironing isn’t necessary and, for some fabrics and fillings, it can damage the blanket.
Also, don’t take your blanket to the dry cleaner. It’s another cleaning process that may cause damage.
Now You Know How to Wash a Weighted Blanket
Whew! That’s a bit of information, isn’t it? Hopefully, we’ve helped you see how easy it is to care for your blanket. It’s simple, really: check the care label, wash in cold water (depending on the fabric), use gentle detergent and no bleach or fabric softener, then dry on low (or hang).
Now that you know how to wash a weighted blanket, are you ready to enjoy one of your own? Maybe you’ve fallen in love with a blanket and want to share with a friend?
We’d love to help you choose a new weighted blanket! Contact us today and let’s talk.