There's nothing better on a cold winter's night than snuggling up in an electric blanket on the couch. The difficulty with owning an electric blanket comes when it's time to clean it, though it's really not hard at all if you know the proper steps.
How to Wash an Electric Blanket
The main concern with washing an electric blanket is not damaging the wiring. Most companies provide specific washing instructions with their blankets, so your first step should be to follow those. However, if you don't have the original information that came with the blanket, follow these steps:
- Obviously the first step is to unplug the blanket so it's no longer receiving any electricity.
- Look to see if you can unplug the electrical cord from the blanket. Most models allow you to do this and you can put the cord aside.
- Take the blanket outside and shake it to remove any loose dirt and debris.
- If the blanket has a lot of pet hair on it (because what dog or cat doesn't love snuggling in there with you), you should do what you can to remove hair before washing it. You can use a lint roller, pet hair roller or rubber gloves work well to remove hair.
- Now turn over the blanket on each side and look for a manufacturer's label. If you can find one, look to see if it has cleaning instructions on whether you can use a washing machine or if you must wash by hand.
- If you are using your washing machine, choose the gentlest option your washer has and use cold water. You also want to use a mild laundry detergent and keep the amount of soap small. Do not use bleach with an electric blanket.
- If the blanket is heavily soiled, it's a good idea to give it a soak prior to the wash. Once your laundry machine has finished filling in all the water and after you have added the soap, turn the machine off. Put the blanket in and make sure it's fully submerged and set a timer for up to 15 minutes.
- Check the blanket for any stains you are concerned about. If they are still heavily soiled after the soak, you can also consider pre-treating stains using a stain remover.
- Turn the machine back on and allow it to run through its full cycle.
- While it's safe to allow the machine to run through a full cycle, another method is to shorten the cycle by allowing it to run for up to five minutes and then skipping the rest of the cycle and going straight to the final rinse and spin
Putting an Electric Blanket in the Dryer
You might be worried about the effect of the dryer heat on the electric blanket's wiring but it's actually quite safe, although only with home dryers. Do not take your blanket to a laundromat to use a commercial dryer as these will be too hot.
- Place the blanket in the dryer and set it to the lowest possible heat setting. Avoid any high heat settings as these can hurt the blanket's wiring.
- Set a timer for about five to ten minutes.
- Remove the blanket after the timer ends. You will air dry it after this by either using a drying rack, outdoor clothesline, or find an area where you can drape the blanket safely and allow it to dry, such as on a non-carpeted floor or across a big table.
- When placing the blanket for air drying, you will need to move and gently stretch the blanket with your hands to fix any areas that have gotten out of shape or appear to have shrunk.
- Make sure that the blanket is not set in a position where the wiring will be bent out of place. Avoid using any clips or clothespins as well, unless you're sure they are not pressing on the wiring.
- It may take up to 24 hours for your blanket to dry fully. Make sure you run your hands all over it to ensure there are no wet or damp spots before plugging it in again.
Drying an Electric Blanket Without a Dryer
If you can't fit the blanket in your dryer or you prefer to air dry it 100%, just make sure that you lay or hang the blanket so it's flat. You do not want it to dry with any of the wiring getting pinched or crimped due to the blanket position or hanging tools like clothespins. You should also make sure that you manipulate the blanket fabric so it's in its proper position before drying.
Washing an Electric Blanket By Hand
If you have an electric blanket that requires hand washing, or your washing machine is too small for the blanket, you can follow similar steps to clean it. Do not take it to a laundromat to use a commercial machine as these will be too rough on the blanket.
- You can wash the electric blanket in a large plastic tub that fits your blanket or use your bathtub.
- Fill the tub with cold water and a touch of mild laundry detergent.
- Shake the blanket to remove loose dirt and do as much as you can to remove any pet hair on the blanket.
- Put the blanket in the water and press down to ensure it's fully submerged. Set a time for about 20 to 30 minutes.
- You should occasionally check in on your blanket and move it around in the water with your hands to help move dirt off of it.
- Remove the blanket from the water. Use your hands to to remove excess water. You do not want to wring the blanket too hard as this can damage the wiring.
- You can follow the same steps above for drying the blanket.
Dry Cleaning Electric Blankets
While dry cleaning might seem like the way to go with an electric blanket, it actually can seriously damage them if the chemicals are not used properly. However, don't automatically rule out using a dry cleaner. Many dry cleaners are well versed in how to clean electric blankets safely and may have alternate methods that do not involve dry cleaning chemicals. Speak with your dry cleaner first to make sure they have experience with electric blankets and a successful track record of cleaning them.
Keeping Your Electric Blankets Clean
It's a good idea to give your electric throw blankets a thorough cleaning at least once a month, especially if you use it often. Cleaning should also be done before you store it after winter is over. Don't be afraid to use your washing machine as all it takes is a few simple modifications to the regular laundry process to clean your electric blankets safely.