Weighted blankets have become the newest cozy-must have with its unique ability to provide you with the warmth of a calming, gentle “hug.” This deep sense of relaxation and calm, given by the weighted blanket’s light pressure, has long been a beneficial tool for treating children with special needs, especially children with an autism spectrum disorder who struggle with sensory processing issues.
The deep pressure stimulation provided by a weighted blanket releases oxytocin replicating the feeling you’d have if you were being held or hugged. This release of oxytocin can provide you with anxiety reduction, better sleep quality, decreased stress hormones, and quickly de-escalate a meltdown or sensory overload. It’s no surprise that the general public has taken such an interest in this uniquely effective stress-relieving tool.
Yet, with weighted blanket ownership uptick comes the baffling question, how to wash a weighted blanket? If your weighted blanket is as loved in your house as it is mine, you’ll need to know how to clean it and how to do it right!
Should You Clean A Weighted Blanket?
Long before weighted blankets hit the mainstream market, this valuable product was always beneficial for our young daughter with autism. Her weighted blanket, lovingly known as her “hug blanket,” went everywhere, which meant it frequently fell victim to juice box spills and sticky little fingers
Even if your weighted blanket isn’t snuggling up to a child, a cleaning routine must be established if it’s being frequently used. Just like regular bedding, your weighted blanket gets dirty too.
How To Clean A Weighted Blanket
1. Read Your Weighted Blankets Care Instructions
First things first, start by reading the laundry tags. It will eliminate a lot of frustration, and possibly some tears when it comes to laundry fails.
Your laundry tag is your starting point for how to tackle your weighted blanket washing dilemma. The care tag on my tiny six-pound weighted blanket filled with glass beads says machine wash on gentle cycle, no bleach, dry cleaning, or ironing. That’s a fair amount of information to get started, so you don’t have to play the guessing game with a rather expensive product.
Pay special attention to your weighted blanket’s care tags if it’s a popular brand such as Helix, Gravity, or Baloo; they may have special washing instructions. Some blankets also come with a removable duvet cover that can be washed and dried separately. Duvet covers are excellent options for weighted blankets, as they’re much easier to clean, allowing you to wash weighted blanket less frequently, as well as extending the life of your weighted blanket.
2. Pretreat Stains
Accidents do happen, so when they do, make a plan. Don’t toss your weighted blanket with a stain in the washing machine and hope for the best; you may not be happy with the results. Remember how that plan turned out with your favorite t-shirt? Not so great.
Start by running the stain under cold water. Colder temperatures will loosen the fibers, while hotter temperatures may cause the stain to set further into the fabric.
If your stain is protein-based such as blood, or sweat choose a stain remover, free of bleach removing agents suitable for your weighted blankets type of fabric. Apply the remover and work the stain with your fingers or a toothbrush.
If your stain is oil-based, such as pizza, or pasta, use a gentle soap such as blue Dawn. Do not use any bleach removing agents. As you would with a protein-based stain, use your fingers or toothbrush to scrub the stain.
Rinse the stained area in cold water, and repeat the process if the stain is still visible.
3. Wash Your Weighted Blanket
Before you place your weighted blanket in the washing machine, it’s essential to peek at the care tag as washing instructions can significantly differ between blankets and their materials.
Depending on the fabric its made from, you’ll determine whether or not to wash your weighted blanket in warm or cold water. Always avoid bleach, and skip fabric softeners. Weighted blankets can be washed with a mild detergent on a light setting. If you have a weighted blanket weighing more than 12 pounds, it’s recommended that you bring your blanket to a laundromat to use a commercial machine to avoid damaging your washer or dryer.
- Minky: Avoid hot water and high heat settings when washing weighted blankets with Minky fabrics. For Minky weighted blankets to maintain their soft-texture machine wash cold.
- Cotton: Wash cotton weighted blankets separately in cold water.
- Rayon-Linen Blends: Machine wash cold and air-dry only.
- Fleece: Can be washed in warm water, dependent on the weighted blanket’s filling. Recommended the fleece weight blankets air-dry to reduce pilling.
- Flannel: Machine wash cold or warm, dependent on weighted blankets filling.
- Plastic Poly Pellets: Weighted blankets filled with round plastic beads should not be washed in warm or high temperatures. Heat could cause the plastic in the blanket to melt or clump.
- Glass Beads: Glass beads do not melt so it is safe to wash in warm temperatures depending on the weighted blanket’s fabric. However, it’s not recommended to wash in hot water as it will put wear and tear on the blanket.
- Sand: It’s not recommended to wash a weighted blanket with sand filler often, thus making it a great candidate for a duvet cover. The sand will become clumpy in the blanket after it goes through the wash, making the weight in the blanket feel unevenly distributed.
- Rice, Beans, Various Natural Material: When weighted blankets first became available, you could find blankets filled with natural materials such as beans, and rice. However, washing such weighted blankets poses a health risk. Natural material when wet and not dried appropriately have the potential to grow mold and other harmful bacteria. It’s not recommended to wash these types of weighted blankets at all. You’re better off purchasing a new weighted blanket, that can be washed and dried with zero concerns for your health.
Can I Handwash My Weighted Blanket?
If going to the laundromat is not an option for you, or you’d rather avoid it. You can handwash your weighed blanket in your bathtub. Start by filling the tub halfway with cold water, then add a 1/2 cup of mild detergent with no bleach removing agents.
Submerge your weighted blanket into the soapy water, and knead the blanket until clean. Drain the water from the bathtub. Refill with cold water. Rinse the blanket, removing the soap. Repeat this step until the water runs clear. Remove as much excess water from the weighted blanket as possible and allow it to dry.
4. Dry Your Weighted Blanket
Depending on what your weighted blanket is filled with, it may or may not be appropriate to dry in the dryer. Check your care tag on your weighted blanket for special instructions, and or see our filling considerations above before placing your weighted blanket in the dryer.
If you’re given the green light to place your weighted blanket in the dryer, it’s recommended that blankets be placed on a low to medium setting, depending on your blanket’s fabric.
Alternatively, weighted blankets can be air-dried over a banister with regular shaking to redistribute the beads, but will take about 24 hours to dry. You can also lay the blanket flat in the sun to dry. Avoid placing your weighted blanket on a clothing line as this can unevenly redistribute the beads in the blanket to one side.
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