If you're anything like me (I'm almost always too cold) then your electric blanket is your BFF—at least, until you realize it's been stored in the back of your closet since last year and has never been cleaned. Washing your electric blanket may seem like a risky challenge because of the wiring throughout it, but it's actually not that hard—a little tedious, sure, but worth it to have a blanket as clean and fresh as it is warm.
Whether your blanket has been a staple in your home forever or you're considering buying an electric blanket and worried about the cleaning process, here's everything you need to know.
First and foremost, before you do anything, make sure your blanket is unplugged and that you disconnect the cord from the blanket itself, to avoid any damage. Once you've double-checked and made sure all the cords are disconnected, fill up a tub with lukewarm water (enough for the blanket to be able to move around freely, according to eHow—so how much water you add will depend on the size of your blanket). Then add mild laundry detergent and swish it around by hand until the water is sudsy. Finally, add your blanket and let it soak for 15 minutes.
When your blanket is done soaking, gently squeeze your blanket for a minute, then take it out of the sudsy water and rinse it. Gently squeeze the blanket to remove excess water, but don't wring it out.
If hand-washing isn't your thing, you can machine-wash electric blankets—you just have to do so cautiously. For this, you've got a few options.
Sunbeam suggests pre-soaking your electric blanket in cold water with mild soap for 15 minutes before washing. Once it's soaked, wash the blanket in mild soap and water on the "delicate" or "gentle" setting for 2 minutes. Then, rinse in cold, fresh water, and let it spin dry.
According to eHow, you can also start by filling the washer with lukewarm water (make sure it's set to "gentle" or "delicate") and detergent and letting the washer agitate for a minute. Once that's done, stop the washer and add the blanket in, allowing it to soak for 15 minutes with the washer off. Then, turn the washer back on for 2 minutes, and run it through the rinse and spin cycles.
Despite what you might think, you actually can dry electric blankets in a dryer—at least partially. You just have to be careful to use a low setting, which means you should avoid laundromats and commercial dryers since they tend to get very hot and can damage the blanket's wiring. Sunbeam suggests turning your dryer to the low setting for 2 minutes, then putting your blanket in and letting it tumble dry (still on low) for 10 minutes. After that, you'll have to hang it out to dry.
If you can't use a dryer or would just prefer not to, you can hang dry your blanket from the start, but the steps are the same. Make sure you carefully stretch the blanket out to it's original shape and size and hang it over a clothesline—and note: according to Sunbeam, you should never use clothespins.
Make sure you don't use your electric blanket again until it is completely and thoroughly dry, or you could damage the wiring.
- Don't use bleach or other cleaning fluids—just mild detergent.
- Don't iron your electric blanket.
- Don't dry clean electric blankets or heating pads, as the solvents used can damage the wires.
- Don't use mothball spray or other sprays on your electric blanket.
- Don't ever submerge the blanket's controller in water.