Weighted blankets are a revolution in product design. Humans take pleasure in blankets because we have an instinctive desire to be wrapped up and compressed, as we were in the womb. Weighted blankets seek to create this feeling.
But for decades, blankets and other beddings have had to market themselves as if the need they are fulfilling is complex and never quite within reach. Blankets have become about the warmth, about the material, about everything except your comfort.
The biggest concern about weighted blankets is how to wash them. This article seeks to provide help for that problem. You might expect it to be a laborious process. It’s easy to be cynical over simple things when so many projects are designed to break. Even many clothes will come apart in the wash. But, as you are about to see, it can be exceptionally simple.
There are many different types of weighted blankets. Some of them are different weights or are weighted by different methods, while others are either explicitly or subtly made of different materials.
The big thing you are probably going to want to know is that yes: Weighted blankets can go into washing machines. They are rather large however, and older, smaller, more rickety washing machines might have trouble keeping balanced with the blanket inside them.
Laundromats will usually have large, front-loaded washing machines that will accept all shapes and sizes. If you do not have access to one, or don’t want to lug your weighted blanket all the way there, a top-loaded one can work. Just be prepared for it to make some noise.
This might seem like an obvious step, but consider this: If you have ever been annoyed by a particularly insistent paper tag on a blanket or piece of clothing, you probably tore it off without a second thought. That tag, however, is legally obligated to be there, as it contains instructions for washing the clothing.
That tag is the blanket’s “care instructions. Seek out those care instructions on your weighted blanket. It will give you a basic idea of how to wash it, but it will also tell you it’s weight, its material composition, and many other things that you might need to know.
Its care instructions won’t give you all the nuances about how to wash your weighted blanket though.
The big thing to remember about weighted blankets is that they have more in common with the material of a couch than the material of a blanket. This is because even if they are made of the same material, they are thick like a milkshake.
For that reason, stains will seem harder to clean out due to having more material to soak into. Weighted blankets don’t stain easier, but they do stain deeper. But worry not; the trade-off is that weighted blankets won’t come apart under the strain of washing them.
Another way of removing stains is with dish soap. This is something that would wear away at a normal blanket immediately. Weighted blankets don’t mind so much though, so use it as much as you want.
These are the easiest to wash, but they are also the fastest to degrade, especially if you made it yourself. In short, cotton is the most common kind of weighted blanket. That doesn’t mean there aren’t stand-out products among the type, but it does mean they are produced to be cheaper rather than better.
Washing a weighted blanket made of cotton is exactly like washing a cotton shirt. You give it cold water to start that warms up during the wash cycle, and viola, it’s clean.
Flannel feels more sensitive than it is. Similar to cotton, it prefers cold and warm temperatures, but be sure that you are using a softener or more gentle detergent. Flannel is absorbent, and you do not want your flannel coming out of the machine stiff with thick detergent that has settled in.
For this same reason, be sure to tumble dry it. It will not be immediately apparent, but drying flannel without keeping it moving is the fastest way to cause it to rip.
Silk can be a bit of a chore to wash. Whereas most weighted blankets are easier to wash than normal blankets, silk is always the diva of the bedding material world, which also makes it the coolest.
Silk should be hand-washed in cold water with a small amount of the mildest detergent or dish soap you can get your hands on. The physical process of washing it will also take a light touch.
The reason for this is probably obvious: Silk is sensitive. It’s beautiful, but it will come apart if you look at it funny. So try not to put it under too much strain.
Wool is in an interesting place between silk and cotton. As a material, it’s a little too durable. If you try washing it with detergents, or even water, it stands to absorb these things and never let them out. Consider a blanket cover if you are worried about high-maintenance materials like these. What this means is that your best bet is to dry clean wool. There are plenty of places that offer this service, but you can also do it at home if you are willing.
Similar to silk, rayon likes to be hand-washed more than machine-washed. This has more to do with shrinkage than frailty, however. Washing machines going from one temperature to another can cause rayon to change size suddenly, which makes them more prone to damage in machines.
They’ll be fine being washed by hand. Even if you wash them vigorously, as long as the water maintains a solid temperature the rayon won’t shrink or get damaged.
As with the flannel example above, any weighted blanket that you wash by machine should, preferably, be dried by tumble dryer. Thicker materials like those that comprise weighted blankets hold a lot more heat than thinner ones.
This means that if they sit in one spot and receive heat, they can very quickly become stiff, shrunken, or even damaged. Most dryers are tumble dryers however, so it’s likely you’ll be fine.
If you choose to dry your weighted blanket out in the open air, don’t worry, that’s fine too. The biggest note on air-drying your weighted blanket is that it needs to be laid out as much as possible.
Whether you are on a balcony or a clothes line, let the fabric breathe without overlapping. This might be a pain if it’s huge, but huge blankets are the best. This will keep it from sticking together, or hiding a spot of moisture that you only end up finding later when you are trying to curl up and relax.
Weighted blankets are a product designed with human needs in mind. They appeal to a very innocent primal need that has not always been acknowledged in modern society.
The funny thing is, the whole reason a guide to cleaning them exists has less to do with the complexity of the weighted blankets themselves, and more to do with the expectations that have been built up around bedding and comfort products.
Think about it: How often have you ruined clothes in the washing machine? If you are a woman, the answer is likely “A lot”, as many articles of women’s clothing are designed to come apart when washing.
It builds this expectation that making clothes and washing them must be hard. It must be this struggle, where our clothes are in a constant state of entropy from which only the most expensive detergents can save them. This is not the truth of the matter, however. Learning how to wash weighted blankets is easy. Now go, and be comfortable.