How to Wash a Weighted Blanket

Weighted blankets are more popular than ever. Like any piece of bedding, they need to be washed regularly.

country chic white blue bedroom beams
Photo: Edmund Barr

Weighted blankets continue to grow in popularity as people discover their many benefits, including restful sleep, anxiety reduction, and pain relief. Weighted blankets mimic the feeling of being held, sending signals to the brain that it is safe to release tension. But if you sleep or lounge with a weighted blanket, it will eventually need to be cleaned. Because of their weight and variables in fabrication, there are a few things you need to know to avoid damaging the blanket, or worse, your washing machine.

This guide to washing and drying weighted blankets covers care instructions for every fill type, stain removal tips, and cleaning alternatives.

Before Getting Started

Before attempting to wash a weighted blanket, check the tag for care instructions. Most weighted blankets can be machine washed, but many fabrications cannot safely be machine dried, and it is critical to know this information to avoid ruining the blanket. 

If the weighted blanket has a removable cover, it can and should be washed regularly, depending on how frequently the blanket is used. A general guideline to follow is to wash the removable cover three to four times a year, and the weighted blanket itself once a year.

The weight and fabrication of your weighted blanket will inform how it is washed and dried. If the weighted filling is made of microglass beads, the blanket can be machine washed and dried. If the weighted filling is made of steel shot beads, riverstones or pebbles, or poly plastic pellets, the blanket can be machine washed but should be air dried rather than dried in a machine. If the weighted filling is made of organic materials, such as sand, beans, or rice, the blanket should not be machine washed or dried. Air drying a weighted blanket can take 24 to 48 hours, so plan accordingly.

Weighted blankets up to 15 pounds can be safely washed in a front-loading washer or a top-loading washer that does not have a center agitator. If your machine is a top-loading style with a center agitator, it's best to wash the weighted blanket at a laundromat, clean it by hand, or have it professionally cleaned. The same is true for weighted blankets that weigh more than 15 pounds.

How to Machine-Wash a Weighted Blanket

Most weighted blankets can be machine washed, but it is critical that you consult the care tag for specific instructions to ensure the type of weighted blanket you have can be safely laundered in a washing machine.

What You Need

  • Stain treatment product(s)
  • Laundry detergent
  • Dryer balls or plastic sheeting

Step 1: Remove Cover and Treat Stains

If the weighted blanket has a removable cover, take it off and wash it separately. Check the cover and the blanket for stains and treat them with an appropriate stain remover prior to laundering.

Step 2: Choose the Right Washer Settings

Washer load size is measured in two ways: How full the drum of the machine is or by weight. An extra-large load is one that fills the drum of the washer or that is 12-15 lbs. When washing a weighted blanket, select the washer setting for an extra-large load. Weighted blankets can be washed in cold water, using the slowest wash and spin cycle settings available on your machine.

Step 3: Dry the Weighted Blanket

If your weighted blanket is filled with microglass beads, it can be machine-dried on a low heat setting. Because of its bulk, a weighted blanket can take up to two hours to fully dry in a machine; using dryer balls can help move airflow through the drum, speeding up drying time.

Weighted blankets that are filled with steel shot beads, riverstones or pebbles, or poly plastic pellets should be air-dried flat. Iif necessary, lay plastic sheeting under the blanket to protect the floor. Turn the blanket every three to five hours to promote even drying, redistributing the filling if it has shifted. Do not hang-dry a weighted blanket.

How to Spot Treat a Weighted Blanket

A stain removal technique called spot treating is a smart way to clean a weighted blanket in between, or in lieu of, machine washing. Unlike deep cleaning, spot treating addresses a specific stain in a specific place, including along the top hem of a blanket, where body soils like sweat, sebum, and dead skin build up and create dark, dingy staining.

What You Need

  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • Stain treatment product(s)
  • Light-colored cloth or laundry brush

Step 1: Apply Detergent to Stain

Dip a light cloth or a laundry brush into diluted liquid laundry detergent or a stain treatment product. Using the cloth or brush, dab or gently scrub at the stain or discolored area. Take care not to scrub so hard that you damage the fabric, as excessive friction can cause fraying or pilling.

Step 2: Rinse Detergent

Rinse the cloth in clean water, and go over the area you've treated several times to remove detergent, rinsing the cloth as necessary until all the residue is removed.

Step 3: Allow the Blanket to Dry

Allow the weighted blanket to air dry completely before using it.

laundry room white cabinets and stacked washer and dryer

Better Homes & Gardens / David Land

Alternative Methods for Cleaning a Weighted Blanket

Because there are a number of variables when it comes to washing a weighted blanket, it can be helpful to know that there are ways to clean one that don't involve using a washer. It's also much easier to care for a weighted blanket that has a detachable, machine washable cover. If the weighted blanket you purchased did not come with a cover, consider buying one separately.

If washing is not an option, or if you prefer to avoid the long drying time, a weighted blanket can be cleaned using a handheld or upright clothes steamer or an upholstery cleaning machine. 

To clean a weighted blanket using a steamer or upholstery cleaner, lay the blanket flat and work in a straight line from hem to hem, overlapping your passes slightly to ensure even cleaning of the fabric. Allow the blanket to dry completely before using. 

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