If you love the feel of a hug but don't always want one from a human, buying weighted blanket could be the answer. A heavy blanket, it gives a warm, cosy, comforting hug which can help calm your nervous system and help you better deal with stress, anxiety and sleeplessness.
Once you've chosen the best weighted blanket in Australia and bought it, it's time to make sure you enjoy it for years to come. Learn how to wash a weighted blanket.
How often should I wash my weighted blanket?
How often weighted blankets should be washed depends on how often you use it. If it's used every night (and perhaps you eat on it...), it should be washed every few months. This will help remove a build-up of sweat and body oils.
If you only use it occasionally, as a lap blanket on the couch, aim for 3 to 4 times a year. Because washing a weighted blanket affects its feel and fill, it's best to only wash it when it's really needed (think: stained or smelly).
How to wash a weighted blanket
Most weighted blankets can be cleaned in some way, although it will depend on the material that's used. A cotton weighted blanket or a minky fabric, flannel, fleece or wool one should be suitable for machine washing
Generally, weighted blankets come with the following care instructions:
- Machine wash and tumble dry.
- Machine wash and air dry.
- Machine wash, cover only.
- Spot clean or dry clean only.
Step 1: check the manufacturer's care instructions
Your weighted blanket will come with care instructions built in. Have a look for a little label inside the cover or attached to the edge of the blanket. Read these carefully as they'll tell you if your blanket can be washed and if yes, how.
Weighted blankets are more difficult to wash and dry than regular blankets. Their washing instructions will differ depending on the fill (like plastic poly pellets or glass beads) and material used. It's important to follow them as closely as you can - you don't want a shrunken or clumpy weighted blanket!
Step 2: remove the cover
Blanket is machine washable? Excellent! If it's got a cover, now's the time to remove it. Watch out for ties you might need to unfasten first. The cover and weighted blanket are best washed separately.
Step 3: check for stains
Have a good look at the blanket and cover for any stains, especially bodily fluids or food. You can spot clean stains. Simply wash the stained area under cold water, apply a mild detergent (no bleach please) and then thoroughly rinse. A stain remover can be too harsh on your soft blanket.
Step 4: double check your washing machine
Before loading your blanket, check how heavy it is. Most washing machines have a 7kg weight limit. If your blanket is heavier than 7kg, you'll need to hand wash it or take it to the launderette.
Step 5: wash it!
Finally, the good stuff. If your washing machine can take the weight, it's time to wash it. If you can, it's best to wash the inner blanket and the cover separately. First, wash the inner blanket.
- Use a gentle cycle, ideally a hand wash setting. This avoids the vigorous spin cycles of other settings which can damage the glass beads or plastic poly pellets.
- Use a gentle laundry detergent, ideally one for delicates.
- Set the temperature to 30 degrees. Warm or cold water cares for your blanket best.
Once that's done (see the next step for how to dry the inner blanket), you can wash the cover. Although it depends on the cover fabric (cotton, minky material, fleece, etc.), generally:
- Use cold or warm water. Around 30 degrees is good.
- Avoid detergents with bleach.
- Avoid fabric softener.
Step 6: dry it
Some weighted blankets are tumble dryable but for best results (and to keep them soft, fluffy and clump-free), you might want to go for air drying. For the cover:
- Tumble dry on low, if you really need to. It's best not to tumble dry covers with minky material as it can damage the soft, long threads.
- Otherwise, hang it to air dry (inside or outside).
For the inner blanket:
- Dry it horizontally inside or outside on a drying rack - don't hang it up. Drying it horizontally ensures the beads don't bunch up so that they offer even weight distribution.
- Flip and occasionally shake it every few hours until completely dry.
- Wait between 12 and 24 hours.
Pop the cover back on and that's it - a beautifully clean and sweet-smelling weighted blanket is yours again!
What if I can't machine wash my weighted blanket?
If your weighted blanket isn't suitable for machine washing, you still have cleaning options including:
- Spot cleaning. Tackle any stains or odours with mild detergent and some cold or warm water then dry thoroughly.
- Hand washing. You'll probably need a bathtub or laundry basin to fit the entire blanket in. Half fill it with lukewarm water then add gentle detergent. Add the blanket and completely submerge it. Gently rub it against itself and then leave it for 15 minutes before repeating the rubbing. Drain the tub but keep the weighted blanket in. Add clean water and rinse. The rinse water needs to be completely clear. Once it is, remove excess water by gently rolling and squeezing the weighted blanket. Avoid wringing it. Then leave it on a flat surface and flip and shake every few hours.
- Dry cleaning. Check the washing instructions to see if the blanket is safe for dry cleaning.
Here's a handy overview of what to avoid when washing a weighted blanket:
- Use cold or warm water only, not hot.
- Use the hand wash or delicate washing machine settings to avoid harsh spin cycles.
- Don't use strong cleaning products, bleach or fabric softeners (especially if the cover is minky or plush).
- Try not to tumble dry it.
- Don't hang the inner blanket to dry - it should dry flat.
- Ironing weighted blankets isn't recommended as the filler material might react to the high heat - it might melt or gel the micro beads together.
- Don't wring it if you hand wash it.