Washing blankets may seem simple, but if you stray from the guidelines, you may negatively affect the coziness and longevity of your blanket.
Good quality blankets will, in many cases, last a lifetime if cared for correctly. We all want this, but too many don’t pay much attention to blanket care instructions.
How many of us store or brush our blankets correctly after washing them? Minor issues like this make blanket shopping more common than it should be.
Blankets are subjected to various conditions and accumulate an array of nasties, like skin flakes, skin oil, pet hair, grim, and dirt. Night sweats can result in fungal growth in your blanket over time if left unchecked.
Incorrect washing procedures can rob your blanket of its softness and may cause your blanket to make you itch at night.
This may sound unpleasant, but it’s a reality many of us unnecessarily live with. By properly caring for our blankets, we will always have great blankets that add warmth and comfort to our homes.
Let’s look at the five pivotal points to washing your blankets without damaging them.
Steps to washing blankets without damaging them
Washing a blanket involves more than popping it into the washing machine and then into the tumble dryer.
Here are 5 essential steps to follow to avoid damage when washing your blankets:
Step one: Read the care label
Reading the care label is vital to prevent unnecessary damage to your blanket. Care labels appear to be all the same; however, they differ between the many blanket types. Every care label provides specific care instructions that should be followed.
The care label will provide information on the recommended washing temperature, whether the blanket can be machine washed if it needs to be hand washed, and if it can be tumble dried or air dried.
Following the care label instructions will help ensure that your blanket is washed correctly and doesn’t get damaged in the process.
If you are still determining the exact process, you can contact the blanket manufacturer directly, and they will provide you with the necessary care instructions.
Step two: Pre-treat stains
Before washing your blanket, it’s crucial to pre-treat any stains. This will eliminate the need to wash your blanket a second or third time to remove stubborn stains.
Use a stain remover or a mixture of water and laundry detergent to spot-clean any stains on your blanket. Remember to spot-clean both sides. Regular dishwashing liquid is safe to use, but you may have to dilute it a little.
Let the spot-clean pre-treatment sit for a few minutes before dabbing the excess moisture away. This will help to remove the stains during the wash cycle.
Do not use strong detergent or bleach, especially on colored blankets, as it can cause discoloration.
If you cannot remove a specific stain and your blanket can be drycleaned, this may be an excellent option to try.
Ideally, try and remove stains as they occur or as soon as you notice them. Spot-cleaning a blanket between washes will not harm you if you rinse all the detergent or cleaning agent from the area you’ve just cleaned.
Step three: Choose the correct washing machine settings
If the care instruction indicates that you can machine wash your blanket, choosing the correct washing machine settings is vital to ensure that the blanket is cleaned effectively without causing damage. A gentle or delicate cycle with cold water is recommended for most blankets.
Only use a mild detergent; do not add fabric softeners to your wash. Fabric softeners tend to leave a residue on the blanket, reducing its softness over time. It’s imperative that you only use a small amount of mild detergent.
Too much detergent could cause clogging between the blanket fibers, ultimately leading to a damaged blanket.
If your blanket is particularly large or heavy, consider washing it in a commercial-sized machine or at a laundromat to ensure it is properly cleaned.
Most home washing machines can wash blankets weighing up to 20 pounds using a gentle cycle with cold water and mild detergent.
One blanket type that can cope with regular use and still look good and smell fresh is a pure wool blanket. Wool blankets naturally repel dirt and stains and only need to be washed in water a few times a year.
When you wash your prized wool blanket, it should ideally be gently washed by hand in cold water. The blanket should be pressed and folded while washing. There is no need for rigorous washing techniques or stamping the blanket with your feet for what seems like forever.
Wool blankets are hypoallergenic, antibacterial, antifungal, and odor resistant. Cleaning a wool blanket, in most cases, is as simple as airing the blanket out on the washing line for a few hours. The wind will blow any trapped dust away.
Alternatively, you can refresh a wool blanket by shaking it out before you hang it in the wind. Once done, brush the blanket with a soft-bristled fabric brush to retain the fluffiness.
Always brush the blanket in the same direction to prevent damage to synthetic blanket fibers. This applies to most synthetic blanket types.
A cold-water wash, either in a washing machine or by hand, is a standard prerequisite for nearly all blanket types as it prevents possible shrinkage, deformity, or colors running or fading.
Step four: Dry your blanket properly
After washing your blanket, it’s essential to dry it properly to avoid damage or shrinkage. If your blanket is made of a delicate material like wool or cashmere, lay it flat on a clean towel to air dry.
If your blanket is dryer-safe, load it evenly into the dryer drum and select a low or no-heat setting to help prevent heat damage to the fabric.
This is a standard recommendation on the care label. You can also add a few clean tennis balls or dryer balls to help fluff the blanket and prevent clumping.
When using a tumble dryer, avoid using high heat or over-drying your blanket, as this can damage the fibers and reduce the longevity of your blanket. Typically, the last part of the drying process involves hanging your blanket on the line or laid out flat on a clean surface. This will ensure your blanket is optimally dried and ready for use or storage.
Once a blanket has been hand washed, you should drain all the clean water used to rinse the blanket. You then fold the blanket and press down on it to release the water in it. This will take a few minutes but avoid wringing the blanket to remove excess water. This could stretch or deform your blanket.
Once most excess water has been pushed out of your blanket, you can either hang it over a few wash lines to dry or lay it flat on a clean surface. Using a few wash-lines limits water accumulation on the bottom edges from stretching your blanket.
Step five: Store your blanket correctly
Once your blanket is clean and dry, it’s essential to store it correctly to keep it in good condition. Fold it neatly and place it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and moisture. UV rays weaken certain fibers and cause colors to fade.
Avoid storing blankets in plastic bags or airtight containers, as this can trap moisture and lead to mold or mildew growth. Instead, use a breathable fabric storage bag or wrap it in a cotton sheet to protect it from dust and dirt. The more breathable the storage space is, the better for our blankets.
A final blanket care tip
Many of us purchase seasonal blankets, which must be stored for half of the year, either in the summer or winter months. This usually creates a storage space issue in some homes.
By investing in the right blankets from the beginning, you can have two sets of year-round blankets for each bed and rotate them whenever you schedule a blanket wash day.
Wool blankets are breathable and thermoregulating. They provide the optimum sleep temperature all tear through. There are breathable synthetic blankets available, but none match the thermoregulating characteristic of wool.
Choose your blankets wisely, and you will save time and effort in the future. Easy-to-clean blankets are ideal on any scorecard; if you have the quality and longevity to match, you have a winner.