If you have anxiety, depression, or simply struggle to get a good night’s sleep sometimes, you ought to try a weighted blanket. These heavy blankets typically weigh between 10 and 30 pounds (though some are even heavier than that), and they press down on you, imitating a warm hug. That extra weight helps to settle your body and keep you relaxed so you can doze off. However, the heaviness also poses a challenge: How do you wash a weighted blanket? To help you keep your investment in the best shape possible, we’ve created a guide on how to clean a weighted blanket based on the fill and material.
Don’t have time to read the details? Here’s the quick answer: Weighted blankets are made with a variety of fills and materials, and your cleaning method will depend on the brand. Some blankets, such as those filled with poly pellets, can be machine-washed on a gentle cycle with cold water. Others must be spot cleaned. Weighted blankets should last years (and the most durable ones should last a decade) — so above all, follow the cleaning instructions provided by the manufacturer to extend the life of the material.
Cleaning Requirements for Different Weighted Blanket Materials
While every brand is different, you can predict how to wash a weighted blanket based on the type of filling that weighs down the fabric. There are six main fillings that manufacturers use, and they each have advantages and disadvantages:
- Glass beads. These beads are incredibly small, at about one millimeter (mm) in diameter. Pros: They are hypoallergenic and non-toxic. Cons: Blankets with glass beads, and no other fill, are not machine washable. Some are the size of grains of raw sugar, and may eventually filter through the blanket seams. Manufacturers will instruct you to spot clean these blankets, or they will provide a washable cover. Blankets made with glass beads are usually on the pricey side.
- Ceramic beads. Like glass beads, ceramic beads are very small. Pros: Some brands claim that ceramic beads are more comfortable than glass beads and more durable than plastic. Cons: These are not machine washable unless blended with another materials. Manufacturers will instruct you to spot clean or wash the cover only.
- Polyester pellets, or poly pellets. These are plastic, and considered safe and non-toxic. (Poly pellets are often used to fill beanie babies.) Pros: They are machine washable and durable. Cons: Without additional filling material, they may make the blanket feel lumpy and uncomfortable. They are also not environmentally friendly if you choose to throw out the blanket.
- Steel shot beads. Slightly larger than glass beads, steel shot ones are cost effective and durable. Pros: They last longer than glass beads, ceramic beads, and poly pellets, and they are mold resistant and machine washable. Cons: These blankets may be noisy (you might hear the beads rolling around when you move under the blanket), and they’re hard to find.
- Silicone beads. Though not as weighty as steel beads, silicone beads provide even weight throughout the fabric. Pros: Blankets made with silicone beads are usually durable and machine washable on a gentle cycle. Cons: Silicone is not biodegradable, but some people argue that it is still environmentally friendly because it lasts a long time.
- Knit fabric. Some weighted blankets are heavy simply because they are made of thick, knit woven material. Pros: Knit blankets are machine washable, usually on a delicate cycle. Cons: They are usually pricier than most weighted blankets. Depending on the material, they may snag more easily. Also, they tend to be very warm. (Some weighted blankets have cooling materials so you can use them in hot weather.)
How Much Weight a Washing Machine Can Hold
A blanket marketed as machine washable isn’t always washer-friendly. If you have a top-load washer, the max is about a 12-pound blanket. For a standard, front-load washer, the max is about 15 to 18 pounds. An extra-large front-load washing machine can hold about 20 to 22 pounds. Check your washing machine’s manual to find out its exact weight range.
If you think your weighted blanket is too heavy for your washer, bring it to a laundromat and use a large, commercial washer that’s capable of handling heavier loads. Removable covers are perfectly fine to wash at home, as long as you follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
How To Wash a Weighted Blanket Based on the Material
Most companies will use a blend of materials to try and get the best of both worlds. For instance, many brands use a blend of beads (glass, ceramic, steel, or silicone) and polyester, sewn into squares to evenly distribute the weight. This makes the blanket more durable, so that it can withstand a gentle cycle in a washing machine. However, some blankets still need spot cleaning. Below are instructions on how to care for a weighted blanket depending on the makeup and material. (For the most accurate advice, follow the cleaning instructions provided by the manufacturer.)
For a Weighted Blanket With a Machine-Washable Cover
Many weighted blankets made with glass or ceramic beads are not fully machine washable. As such, manufacturers provide a removable cover. To clean a weighted blanket with a cover, first unzip or unbutton the cover and remove it from the inner weighted blanket. Toss it in the washing machine on a gentle cycle, preferably with similar laundry or without any additional laundry. Meanwhile, spot clean the inner layer using a rag or soft brush, and warm soap and water. Try your best not to overly-saturate the material — keep it damp, but not wet. (This will prevent mold from growing inside.) When the cover is ready, toss it in the dryer on low heat. Make sure the inner layer is completely dry before replacing the cover.
For a Machine-Washable Weighted Blanket (No Separate Cover)
Weighted blankets that are fully machine washable aren’t indestructible — they still have delicate materials that require more care than your everyday laundry. To clean a machine-washable weighted blanket, place it in the washing machine on a delicate cycle with cold water. Don’t add any other laundry to the cycle, and don’t use bleach or fabric softener. Tumble dry on low. Remove it as soon as the dry cycle ends, and hang dry until fully dry. Avoid ironing and dry cleaning.
For a Weighted Blanket Made of Knit Fabric
Knitted, weighted blankets are usually handmade, so they also require a careful hand. To clean a knit weighted blanket, machine wash it alone on a delicate or permanent press cycle using cold water. Tumble dry on low for two or three cycles, or dry flat on a table. Do not hang dry, which could stretch and warp the material.
How Often You Should Wash a Weighted Blanket
The number of times per year you’ll need to wash your weighted blanket will depend on the material and how often you use it. For instance, you can wash blanket covers as frequently as you would like — once per month, or even once per week, is fine. Machine-washable blankets that don’t have separate covers should be washed infrequently, or around four to five times per year. This will extend the blanket’s longevity. Feel free to spot-clean in between full cleanings.
Most importantly, remember that weighted blankets need more TLC than regular blankets. If you treat them well, they should last you a very long time.