Maintaining your electric blanket is important for its longevity, as well as the safety of you and your family. While cleaning an electric blanket may seem like a simple task, there are many things that can go wrong when washing.
Follow these step-by-step instructions to ensure that you clean your electric blankets properly in order to prolong their life and keep everyone safe in the process.
What You'll Need
- An electric blanket that is no longer being used.
- Warm water and a bathtub or bucket large enough for your electric blanket to fit inside.
- A mild detergent such as Woolite, dishwashing soap, or a gentle laundry detergent designed specifically for delicate fabrics.
- Butter knife
- Clothesline or drying rack
Disconnect the Power Cord from the Blanket
Most modern electric blankets have power that you need to disconnect from the outside before you can safely wash them. Unplug your blanket from both ends before washing it, and make sure the cord is dry before plugging it back in. Before removing the cord, make sure you turn off the blanket and then unplug it from the wall. Unhook the blanket from the foot of your bed and then unplug the cord on each side of the mattress. Don't submerge the cord in water.
Before cleaning, ensure all the wire heating elements are positioned as they should be. If the connection between your electric blanket and the control cord is damaged, then you should replace the cord. Don't wash it in a washing machine if you have an older electric blanket with detachable wire heating elements.
Prep the Blanket
Before washing, use a lint roller to get rid of pet hair, dust, and other grime build-ups between the heating wires. Once you've turned it off and unplug it from power, gently scrape away any excess debris or dirt using a plastic lint roller, a butter knife, or a cotton ball dipped in isopropyl alcohol.
Check the Manufacturer's Instructions
Check your electric blanket's manufacturer's recommendations for cleaning before you do anything else. Some blankets can't be washed at all, while others need to be dry-cleaned or hand-washed in a solution of mild detergent and cold water only. You'll get washing instructions from the user manual that comes with your blanket.
The washing instructions may include a product care label that will tell you how to clean your electric blanket. You'll be required to pre-soak the blanket, wash it briefly on a gentle cycle, then rinse. A spin cycle will also be recommended.
Pre-Soak Your Blanket
Most manufacturers will recommend that you soak your blanket for at least 15 minutes in cool water with a gentle detergent. This will help remove any grime, dust, or dirt collected on the blanket since it was last cleaned.
Wash Briefly and Gently
All modern electric blankets can be washed in a washing machine. You'll want to make sure that you wash your blanket on a gentle cycle. It's also important to remember never to mix colors and whites when washing delicately in the same load. Also, make sure you know the washing machines to avoid so you don’t end up damaging your electric blanket.
Even though most manufacturers do not recommend a full wash cycle, most blankets only need a few minutes on your machine's delicate and gentle cycle. Use only a small amount of mild washing detergent and not bleach.
Rinse Your Blanket
You should always rinse an electric blanket after it has been washed. The rinse will help remove any excess soap residue from the blanket. You can perform the rinse in much the same way as you would wash it. Use cool water or lukewarm water. Also, remember that most electric blankets benefit a lot from a single standard spin cycle.
Carefully Hand Wash Your Blanket
If you do not have a front loading washing machine, you should carefully hand wash your electric blanket. Never place the blanket in the bottom of the tub. Instead, lay it on top of some absorbent material.
Then, run some cool water over the blanket and gently squeeze soapy water through it until all the dirt is gone. When you are finished, remove the blanket from the tub and set it out to dry. You may want to use a towel to remove excess water. Consider learning how to make DIY laundry detergent so you can use it in washing your blanket.
Dry Your Electric Blanket
Do not put your electric blanket in a dryer because it will damage the electrical wiring and ruin your blanket. Instead, hang it outside to dry or lay it on a towel and let air dry for 24 hours before using it again. Dry blanket on a clothesline or flat surface, away from direct sunlight.
The clothesline can help your blanket stretch back to its original shape. A flat surface also spreads the blanket evenly out into its original shape.
Air Dry Your Blankie
In order to allow the blanket to dry the best way or if you want to air-dry your bedroom friend, then drape it over a shower rod. You can also use a clothesline as they can both bear the weight of your heavy cloth. Remember that it's extremely important to wait until your blanket is air dry completely before plugging it or using it.
Do Not Dry Clean Your Blankie
Dry cleaning is not gentler as you might think, thus making it a bad option for washing your electric blanket. With that said, it's good to avoid dry cleaning your blanket because not only can it shrink, but the harsh chemicals that are used in the process of dry cleaning can damage your blanket. These chemicals can damage the insulation that surrounds your blanket's heating elements.
Avoid Ironing Your Electric Blanket
A lot of people tend to run their electric blanket through the dryer or iron it to get rid of wrinkles. You should avoid this because, just like with dry cleaning your blanket, you're risking damage to the insulation around your heating elements.
Take Care at the Laundromat
Most manufacturers will direct you not to dry your bedding in a commercial dryer such as a Laundromat. But if you must use a Laundromat dryer, set it on the lowest heat possible and remove your blanket as soon as it is dry to reduce any chance of damage. Be careful when using commercial dryers since they can get hotter and damage your blanket.
Remove the Blanket from the Dryer Immediately
Don't leave a wet electric blanket in a dryer, even in a no-heat setting. The blanket's insulation can be damaged by heat and cause short circuits or shock hazards. Hang to dry, or lay flat on a large towel to air dry for about an hour.
Inspect the Blanket for Damage
If you dry your blanket, check its items closely after drying to make sure it is still in good condition. Look for any tears or burned areas on the fabric or electrical cord insulation. Set the blanket aside if there are any problems. If you dry an older blanket, there's a chance that the heating wires inside might be damaged, so don't use it.
Protect the Blanket from Other Items
Don't leave an electric blanket in a dryer with other items like clothing or towels. The blanket will become tangled or hooked on hangers and can cause damage to the fabric. It's also possible for small metal objects to accidentally fall into the dryer with the blanket and hit the heating wires, causing a short circuit.
Spot Treatment for Stains
If you want to remove stains from your electric blanket, commercial stain removers work well, but the best method is to spot treat them. You can also try rubbing alcohol or ammonia.
If neither of those work, there's a chance the stain will set permanently after repeated washing. In this case, follow the procedures you used in both hand washing and machine washing your warm friend to remove the stains.
FAQs on How to Wash an Electric Blanket
What is the best way to wash a heating blanket?
You can either hand wash or machine wash an electric blanket. If you plan on washing it by hand, soak both sides of the blanket in soapy water for at least 30 minutes before rinsing with clean water and allowing it to dry. Never use bleach because it can deteriorate the heating components.
Can you put a heated blanket in a dryer?
Never place an electric blanket in a dryer, as the heat and tumbling will break down the insulation and zapping wires. It can also damage the heating elements.
How do you wash heating pads or electric throw?
Always check for cleaning instructions first; some manufacturers recommend hand washing while others suggest washing cold with mild detergent. Line dry or tumble on low. If it doesn't have special cleaning instructions, turn off the power source and use a mild dishwashing soap with warm water to spot clean the area you wish to clean.
Final Thought on How to Wash Electric Blanket
Now that you can safely and properly wash your electric blanket, you can look forward to many more years of enjoyment. Just be sure to follow the guidelines for caring for your specific blanket. This pricey item is an investment that can benefit you both mentally and physically.