Weighted blankets have grown in popularity in the last few years, with some claiming benefits like easing anxiety and improving sleep. These blankets can be filled with glass beads, down-alternative material, cotton or other materials to add weight to the blanket. The added weight is distributed evenly throughout the blanket, which puts gentle pressure on your body; some compare it to the snug feeling of a hug.
If you enjoy this type of cozy blanket, whether you use it night after night or occasionally, eventually you’ll find it needs a good washing. However, these blankets can be tricky to wash because they are heavier than regular comforters (some weighted blankets can weigh up to 30 pounds!). To learn how to wash a weighted blanket, we turned to our experts in both the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab and the Apparel and Textiles Lab to get their best advice on how to wash these heavy items. Read on for how — and how often — to wash a weighted blanket and expert tips on how to care for one.
How to wash a weighted blanket
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Before washing a weighted blanket, it’s important to check the care instructions. “In our weighted blankets tests, we’ve noticed that the care instructions vary greatly,” says Lexie Sachs, executive director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles Lab. Some weighted blankets are machine washable, and others have an outer cover that is machine washable whereas the inner blanket is not. Finally, there are weighted blankets that are spot clean only. Below is our expert advice on how to wash a weighted blanket.
✔️ Machine washable
If the care label on your weighted blanket states that it’s machine washable, beyond following the wash instructions, you’ll also want to consider the size and capacity of your washer. Carolyn Forté, executive director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Home Care and Cleaning Lab, says that while extra-large home washers and dryers can often handle mixed loads of 22 to 24 pounds, a solid mass of a single 20-pound item can put undue strain on your machine. Even if your washer can handle a 20-pound weighted blanket, our experts recommend not washing a weighted blanket of more than 15 pounds because of the large mass.
Sachs also recommends selecting the lowest spin speed when washing a weighted blanket because of the extra weight. For all washing machines, and especially for top-loading washers that have an agitator, you’ll want to make sure the weight of the blanket is evenly distributed to keep the machine balanced. It may be necessary to pause the cycle periodically to reposition the blanket if the machine goes off balance.
Finally, if your blanket can’t move freely in the washer because of its size, it won’t get thoroughly clean. When Jodhaira Rodriguez, Good Housekeeping Institute Home Appliances and Cleaning Products Lab Analyst, washed her Nuzzie Knit Weighted Blanket at home, the blanket’s bulkiness prevented adequate movement in the wash cycle, and she questioned whether it actually got clean. If you have to force the blanket to fit into the washer, it’s best to use a commercial machine.
GH Lab tip: When we tested weighted blankets in the Textiles lab, we found that the weight of a 15-pound blanket caused our top-loading agitator-style machine to make odd noises during the spin cycle. So if your blanket is 15 pounds or heavier, consider using a commercial washer.
✔️ Machine washable cover
For blankets that have an inner layer with an outer cover, the outer cover can generally be washed like any other duvet cover, but be sure to check the care instructions for confirmation as well as for water temperature and cycle.
✔️ Spot clean only
If the blanket, outer cover or inner layer are spot clean only, Forté advises using a sudsy mix of a mild dish soap and water. “Use a cloth dipped in the suds to blot the stain, and then rinse it with a cloth dipped in clear water,” she says. Repeat this blotting process if necessary, then let it air dry.
GH Lab tip: If your weighted blanket is spot clean only, our experts recommend purchasing a machine-washable cover for it to help keep it clean and to protect it from dirt and stains.
Is it safe to put a weighted blanket in the dryer?
When reading the care instructions before washing a weighted blanket, note the instructions for drying as well. Some blankets can be tumbled dry on low, and some require air drying. If tumble drying, ensure that your dryer has enough room so air can circulate freely around the blanket. You may also have to stop the dryer occasionally to fluff the blanket and then repeat until it is fully dry.
When air drying, you’ll want to spread out the blanket as much as possible so that air can flow through and around it. You can also hang the weighted blanket over something like a shower door; however, be sure that whatever you hang or lay the blanket on can handle the weight. Take note: In our experience, weighted blankets take a long time to air dry.
How often should you wash a weighted blanket?
Our experts recommend washing a weighted blanket once mid-season and then again before storing. Keep in mind you may need to wash it more or less depending on how often it’s used and how dirty it gets. It’s best to take care of spills or stains right away so they don’t set in. For the occasional spot of dirt or two, it may require only a good spot clean.
GH Lab tip: Allergy sufferers and those with pets who sleep on the weighted blanket may need to wash every other month or so, depending on how dirty the blanket gets.
How to store a weighted blanket
Weighted blankets should be cared for like other blankets for your home. Before putting them away for the season, make sure the blanket is freshly laundered. Since these are heavier than a typical blanket, make sure you are storing them on a shelf or in a bin or basket that is strong enough to handle the weight.
Pay close attention to the care tag on any weighted blanket before you wash or dry it. And then be sure to clean it at least mid-season and before storing it at the end of the season. If your washing machine or dryer cannot handle the weight, consider using a commercial machine. Other sites may suggest hand washing, but we don’t. These blankets are just too heavy and cumbersome to handle when wet to be hand washed.
Jamie Kim is a consumer products expert with over 17 years of experience in areas of product development and manufacturing. She has held leading roles at both mid-size consumer goods companies and one of the most notable and largest apparel brands in the world. Jamie has contributed to several of the GH Institute Labs, including Kitchen Appliances, Media and Tech, Textiles and Home Appliances. In her free time she enjoys cooking, traveling, and working out.
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