Adult and young child working together to clean blankets

Time to Get Cozy: How to Wash Weighted, Electric & Wool Blankets

Last Updated: August 12, 2022

Keep your favorite bedding clean and comfy with this helpful guide on how to wash even the trickiest of blankets — from wool to weighted.

Blankets are the perfect mix of cozy and homey. Whether it's your favorite electric blanket or a massive wool blanket passed down through your family, these warm swaths of fabric are functional, beautiful, and sentimental.

The down side — the only down side — of blankets is that caring for them can be rather cumbersome and confusing. If you have tons of blankets of all different fabrics and sizes, you probably have no idea how each should be washed. You may even be tempted to just put your dirty blankets away somewhere out of sight and out of mind until you need a dropcloth or a kennel blanket. That's why we're demystifying how to wash blankets of all kinds: so you can curl up in their warm, eternal embraces without fear of lingering smells or stains.

How often should you wash your blankets?

Illustration of a calendar with a monthly to-do

Depending on use, most blankets can get by with an annual or semi-annual washing. The best time to wash any blanket is at the start or end of the chilly season, before or after its long hibernation in your storage closet.

Of course, if there is a blanket you, your kids, or your pets use every single day, washing once a month is appropriate — or more often, if the kids and pets snack and/or drool all over them.

Tips & tricks for washing your blankets

Washing your blankets doesn’t require any special gizmos and gadgets. The most important thing is the washing machine, its settings, and the detergent you use.

Can you put a blanket in the washing machine?

Most blankets can be put in the washing machine. However, there are always exceptions. Don’t put the following blankets in the washing machine:

  • Natural wool blankets
  • Hand-knit, crocheted, or afghan blankets
  • Certain weighted blankets

If it’s still attached, check the care instructions tag on your blanket, which will tell you its material and whether it can be machine-washed and dried. If the care tag is long gone, you’ll have to go with your gut – or ask someone who knows their fabrics by touch.

What’s the best washing machine setting for blankets?

Washing blankets is best done in a large, front loading machine. Top-loading machines with large central agitators can easily damage blankets of all kinds. If you don’t have a front-loading washing machine — or you've got a particularly large blanket on your hands — pay a visit to your local laundromat, which will have just the right machines.

Likewise, the dryer should be roomy enough to tumble the blanket so that there’s plenty of air circulating all around it. For the settings, each type of blanket does best with a specific washing setting (and temperature of water) — see below for material-specific advice.

What detergent is best to use to wash blankets?

Use a mild detergent that’s free of bleach, synthetic fragrances, fabric softeners, and other harsh-on-blankets and unhealthy-to-humans chemicals.

How to wash & dry blankets by fabric

Every fabric is different, so every blanket requires specific care. If you have no earthly idea what your blanket is made of, ask someone — or do a little research, and take a wild guess.

If the blanket is an absolute treasure, and you’d be devastated if something went wrong, take the blanket to your local cleaners and let the pros sort it out. With all that in mind, let’s get washing!

How to wash a throw blanket

Throw blankets are smaller than regular blankets and are usually draped on furniture. Throws are made out of a variety of materials, including cotton, wool, and fleece. Check your throw’s care tag for material details, and machine-wash, handwash, or spot-clean according to the previous sections above.

Can you machine-dry throw blankets?

Depending on the material used, you’ll machine-dry, line-dry, or flat-dry your throw. When in doubt, check the care tag.

How to wash a fleece blanket

Fleece is a synthetic material that’s great for consistent warmth in cold climates. It’s a good alternative to wool, since it’s hypoallergenic, less itchy, and machine-washable. To machine-wash your fleece blankets, choose a gentle, cold-water cycle, and go easy on the detergent.

Can you machine-dry fleece blankets?

Although fleece is prone to pilling and lint when exposed to high heat and agitation, you can toss it in the dryer on low settings — gentle, delicate, or air-only. You can also line dry your fleece blanket for a few hours in the breeze and sunshine.

How to wash a wool blanket

Naturally, wool makes for great blanket material. Warm, soft, and durable, wool is easy to love and can last a lifetime — if you wash it right. Always use detergent specifically formulated for wool.

  • To machine-wash a wool blanket: As we mentioned above, we definitely don't advise machine-washing woold blankets. But if you absolutely must, stick to cold water and a gentle wash cycle.
  • To handwash a wool blanket: Fill a tub with cool water, add detergent, and soak the blanket for 15 minutes. Drain the tub, run lukewarm water, and rinse the blanket until the water runs clear.

Can you machine-dry wool blankets?

Never put wool in the dryer, unless you want a blanket perfectly sized for your house elf. Instead, lay your wool blanket flat on top of dry towels in a warm, breezy room, and flip and rotate it every hour or so until it’s dry.

How to wash a weighted blanket

Weighted blankets are amazing to curl up beneath for comfort and stress relief. Washing weighted blankets is a bit tricky, though, since the filler — the key to their weight — may not be washable.

Blankets with microglass bead fillers are machine-washable, but those with fillers like rice or sand can only be spot-cleaned. Check your tag, or judge the filler as best you can with your fingers and your intuition. Again, we're big advocates for seeking out professional advice if you're not sure, especially if you want to avoid inadvertantly ruining this often pricy purchase.

  • If you’re machine-washing: Stick to cool or warm water and a gentle cycle.
  • If you’re handwashing: Add a small amount of natural detergent to lukewarm water in a sink or tub, submerge the blanket, and gently rub the fabric together in the sudsy water. Let the blanket soak for at least 15 minutes, then rub again, and drain the water. Run clean water, and rub the fabric together underneath it until the soap is gone.
  • If you’re spot-cleaning: Mix a little water with a small amount of detergent, and rub the mixture into problem spots using a microfiber cloth.

If your weighted blanket has a removable outer cover, it’s probably made of cotton, flannel, or a synthetic fabric that you can wash and dry the same way you do your sheets.

Can you machine-dry weighted blankets?

Weighted blankets with microglass bead filling can be machine-dried on low settings. All other weighted blankets need to dry flat.

Lay your weighted blanket on a bed of dry towels or another dry blanket. Press down on the weighted blanket with additional dry towels for extra absorption. Let the blanket dry for one to two days, flipping it every four or five hours or so. Avoid hanging or line-drying a weighted blanket — gravity will shift the filler into uneven clumps.

How to wash an electric blanket

Electric blankets are super toasty — they offer peak coziness during freezing-cold winters and can even relieve muscle soreness. Thankfully, modern electric blankets are designed to be machine-washable and dryable.

  1. Remove all electronics: Be 100% sure you have removed all detachable heating elements, electronics, and cords before washing your electric blanket.
  2. Add a mild, natural detergent: Fabric softeners and other additives in conventional detergents can damage your blanket or create chemical films that may react negatively to future heating.
  3. Mind the settings: Use a front-loading machine, and choose a gentle, cool-water cycle.

Can you machine-dry electric blankets?

Yes, modern electric blankets can be machine dried on a gentle, low cycle. Depending on your electric blanket size, you may only need to dry for a half- or quarter-cycle.

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From natural household to personal care, everything at Grove is healthier for you and the planet — and works! We recommend monthly shipments and product refills that you can edit or move at any time. No monthly fees or commitments required.

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