How to Wash an Electric Blanket: The Instructions You Were Looking For

Yes, you can wash your electric blanket if you know how to do it safely. We'll explain all the nuances in this post.
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Last updatedLast updated: September 29, 2021
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In winter months, when it gets especially cold out, most people start to look for ways to stay warm. While you can heat your whole house, which results in increased energy bills, sometimes you just want to keep yourself warm. Fleece sheets are great for when you are asleep, as is a feather mattress topper. However, once you are forced to get out of bed, electric blankets allow you to control your own temperature as you cuddle up on the couch, reading a good book or watching a movie. However, once you have such a product, the next question is how to wash an electric blanket? These blankets have wires inside of them, as well as an outlet to plug in. It can be unnerving to think that something electric can be exposed to water. But, with constant use, washing a heated blanket is a necessity. We’ll walk you through the steps you can take to ensure your trusty accessory will keep you warm all winter, while still retaining its cleanliness.

How to wash it in a washing machine:

Yes, your electric blanket can be washed in a washing machine. If, however, you aren’t completely sure, simply check the tag on your blanket or any instructions that it came with. If it is not machine washable, there will be a large warning sign indicating so.

You should definitely check the manufacturer tag to see what steps should be taken. This can include pre-soaking your electric blanket and how long the spin cycle should be. If you have accidentally removed the tag, or you can’t read it, follow our steps which will apply to most electric blankets.

Remove the cords and controls

The first step to machine washing your electric blanket is to remove any cords or controls. These should definitely not go in the washing machine as the exposure to so much water will damage them.

Start by first unplugging the blanket as you don’t want to accidentally shock yourself. Then, remove the cord from the blanket. It might be a bit tricky, depending on how it is positioned, but if the blanket is machine washable, then this step is possible.

Another thing you need to look out for are the wire coils that criss-cross your blanket. These coils need to firmly be inside your blanket and should not be exposed. Sometimes, when you use an electric blanket a lot, the fabric naturally becomes worn in some places. If you ever see the metal coil poking out, then you should not use your electric blanket anymore as it isn’t safe.

Shake the blanket out

There’s a good chance your electric blanket was used while you were munching on some snacks. Shake your blanket out to remove any crumbs or extra debris. This can include food stuff as well as pet hair.

Load the blanket in loosely

How to Wash an Electric Blanket: The Instructions You Were Looking ForDepending on how large your electric blanket is, you will probably just have enough room for it in your washing machine. If you have an older machine and are worried about it not balancing properly, you can always add a few towels or even linens like earthing sheets.

Try not to bunch your blanket up and instead place it in loosely, spreading it around, especially if you have a top-loading washing machine with a central agitator.

Pre-soak your blanket

For this step, you should consult the manufacturer’s recommendations and instructions. Most electric blankets need to be pre-soaked. However, if the tag doesn’t explicitly state this, you can choose to follow or skip this step.

Soak your electric blanket for 5 to 15 minutes. This should be done with water that is either cold or warm. If there are no instructions, choose cold water and soak your blanket for 10 minutes.

Set the right temperature and add detergent

Now it’s time to actually wash your electric blanket. However, don’t simply set the controls as you would a normal load of laundry. Most blankets, like the Biddeford model need to be washed on a gentle cycle. Your electric blanket has a lot of parts and the inner coils can rub against the outer material if the cycle is not gentle enough.

As for the detergent, aim for a quarter of what you would normally use. Your blanket will be a smaller load than what you’re used to and it shouldn’t be particularly dirty. Furthermore, you will only wash it for a short amount of time. If too much detergent is used, it won’t have a chance to be properly rinsed.

Also, for the detergent, choose a mild, unscented one. You don’t want a detergent that is too harsh or full of chemicals as this can wear away the fabric of the blanket.

Depending on your washing machine, you may have a few options when it comes to choosing the cycle. Your electric blanket should only be washed for a few minutes on a gentle cycle. Hopefully, your washing machine has this available. Front-loading machines will lock in place once they are running and not allow you to open the door until the cycle is completed. If you have a front-loading washing machine, make sure you have the right cycle picked first before you press that start button.

Once you have selected your wash cycle, it’s time to pick the rinse and spin options. Rinsing should be done with cold water and last no more than 5 minutes. As for the spin cycle, you can actually choose a standard length for this.

Air dry

If you have placed your electric blanket in the dryer and it is still damp, or if needs to completely dry, now is the time to air dry it.

Interestingly, you may need to stretch your electric blanket as it can shrink a bit from the washing and drying. Ask for help from a partner and give the blanket a slight tug between the two of you.

Now it’s time to fully dry your electric blanket. You will want to either hang the blanket up on a clothesline or overtop of a shower rod, as long as it can hold its weight. If need be, you can drape the blanket over a few chairs.

The blanket should be in a warm place with plenty of air flow so that it can dry completely. Never fold it up or put it away until it is completely dry. Otherwise, mold can set in.

Hand washing your electric blanket

How to Wash an Electric Blanket: The Instructions You Were Looking ForIf you have to handwash your electric blanket, start first by removing any cords. Due to the large size of your blanket, you will have to wash it in your bathtub as the sink will not be big enough.

Use warm water to hand wash your blanket. Fill the tub up and then add a small amount of a mild detergent, agitating the water with your hands to disperse the soap.

Place your blanket in the water and let it soak for 15 minutes. Go over each part of the blanket, gently squeezing it to release and dust.

Empty the bathtub and rinse the blanket under warm water, again gently squeezing it so that there is no extra detergent left.

How to dry it in your dryer

Whether you can place your electric blanket in your dryer depends on both the manufacturer’s recommendations and the size of your blanket. If the instructions say that it can be machine dried, then be sure to follow this. If the instructions say it has to be air dried, or if your blanket is too big to comfortable fit inside your dryer, then you will need to air dry it.

To dry your electric blanket in a machine, select the lowest setting and place your blanket in for five to 10 minutes. It will still be damp when removed but your electric blanket should not be in the dryer for too long.

While still damp, follow the instructions for air drying your electric blanket, as seen above.

How often should you wash your blanket?

How often you decide to clean your electric blanket is mostly dependent on how often you use it. Like most blankets, you will want to wash it at least once a month.

Smaller blankets, such as this Sunbeam throw electric blanket, are often used regularly, so you should aim to wash it every two to three weeks.

Furthermore, if you spill anything on your electric blanket, then you should wash it immediately so that stains don’t set in.

Important things to remember and what to avoid

Now that you know the basics for washing and drying an electric blanket, there are a few more tips to help you keep it in the best condition and to stay safe.

In addition to only using a gentle laundry detergent, you should never use bleach on your blanket. This will discolor your blanket and is not necessary. The detergent will properly clean and disinfect your blanket.

How to Wash an Electric Blanket: The Instructions You Were Looking ForWhile most people will probably not think about ironing their blanket, if you feel the urge, please don’t. The heat from your iron can actually damage the wires and their insulation inside your blanket.

You might think that all these steps are too confusing or time-consuming and instead want to simply drop your electric blanket off at the drycleaners. However, dry cleaning uses chemicals that are too harsh for electric blankets. The heating coils can become damage and end up ruining the entire blanket.

Due to the sensitive nature of electric blankets, take the time to inspect it for wear and tear. Washing your blanket is a good time to do this. Both before and after it is cleaned, perform a quick inspection, looking for holes in the fabric of your blanket and any exposed coils.

While it might seem like a waste, if your electric blanket has any deficiencies to it, it should not be used again. There are too many risks, including burns to yourself and electric shocks, so your electric blanket needs to be in the best condition possible.

Final thoughts

Your electric blanket should keep you warm whenever you need it, and thus it should be kept in good condition. Aim to wash your electric blanket at least every month, although if it is used regularly, you can wash it ever two to three weeks. Keep your blanket on a gently cycle with warm water. While most electric blankets can now be machine washed, there are a few that need to be hand washed, so use care while performing this task. Once washed, air dry your blanket, ensuring it is completely dry before storing it away. How to wash an electric blanket takes a bit more effort than other blankets because of the internal wiring. However, it is a necessary task that will prolong the lifespan of this important warming tool.

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