Whether you have a lightweight blanket or a weighted throw, chances are, it lives somewhere central—couch, chair, or corner of your bed—and you don’t give it the attention it deserves or needs. In fact, you likely have many throw blankets scattered throughout your home that you use for different purposes.
Your throw blanket, like anything else, requires regular washing. But how much? How often? And are there specific care instructions? Are you washing your throw blanket enough? To be honest, probably not. We consulted with bedding and cleaning experts to get the details.
How Often Should You Wash Your Throw Blanket?
The short answer to this question is that your washing frequency should largely depend on use. If your blanket is being used almost every day or week by guests, pets, and people in your home—then you should wash often. If it’s used less frequently, you should still wash it routinely so it stays clean.
“If [the blanket] sit[s] draped on the couch with little use, you’re probably fine to throw it in the wash once a month,” says Stephen Light, Co-Owner of Nolah Mattress. “[However], if you wrap [the blanket] around yourself every day, your pets sleep on it, and it drags along the floor as you shuffle to the fridge and back, you’re better off sticking to once every week or two.”
If you do have pets, you may want to consider washing throw blankets even more often. “Pet owners should wash their throw blankets every 1-2 weeks,” says Michael Sweigart, Inventor and Founder of Fur Zapper. “To enhance the effectiveness of fur removal [when washing and drying], use a tool that picks up lint and hair and moves it to the lint trap of your dryer.”
Sweigart suggests using a chemical-free method for removing some of the heavier debris from throw blankets rather than using detergents or cleaning agents that may irritate your (or your pet’s) skin. He also recommends considering the blanket’s material and how this may impact the washing process and frequency.
Do Different Materials Require Different Washing Processes?
It’s important to remember that not every blanket is made the same. In fact, if you’re washing a more sensitive or ‘fragile’ fabric, like wool, for example, you’ll need to be a bit more cautious.
“If [you’re washing] wool blankets, they should be washed by hand only,” says Steve Evans, Founder of Memphis Maids. “This material is very resistant but at the same time too delicate to be put in a washing machine.”
Rather than risking damage to the material, Evans recommends handwashing. “Just let [the wool blankets] soak in water with some neutral or gentle laundry detergent for 30 minutes,” he says, “[Then] squeeze softly until the soapy water is gone. Repeat as many times as necessary.”
Despite the extensive process, on the bright side, wool blankets don’t always have to be cleaned as frequently as other materials. “Wool blankets naturally repel dirt, stains, and odors, so you typically need to wash them only a few times each year,” says Jessica Samson, cleaning expert at Maids.com. “Between washes, you can freshen up a wool throw blanket by shaking it out and brushing it.”
Other types of blankets, like weighted blankets made with heavier fabrics and organic materials, also have different rules when it comes to washing. Kathrin Hamm, founder of Bearaby, says that organic throw blankets require specific care instructions.
“Wash separately in cold water and select the delicate or permanent-press cycle,” she says. If you have a velvet blanket, she recommends dry-cleaning in order to ensure the fabric stays soft, clean, and high-quality.
For weighted blankets in generals, she suggests using tumble dry and low heat. However, for blankets that have loops or woven fabric, Hamm advises against hanging these materials to avoid stretching out and ultimately running the construction of the throw blanket.
“Make sure to check your washing machine’s weight capacity [too],” she says, “While our delightfully heavy blankets are great for deep sleep, it’s essential to check beforehand if the washing machine and tumble dryer model you have can bear the full weight of your blanket.”
Consider Different Cleaning Methods
Another good rule of thumb when it comes to washing throw blankets is to remember that, while frequency is important, there are also ways to maintain your throw blanket with a few laundry hacks. For example, addressing or pre-treating stains is a good idea for any problem areas before you toss the throw blanket into the wash.
“Pre-treat any stains,” says Samson. “Allow solution to work into the fabric for 10 minutes before
gently blotting the stain with a paper towel.” When it comes to washing, she suggests a gentle cycle. “Don’t overdo it with detergent; too much can break down your blanket faster,” she says. “You should also avoid fabric softeners, which may create buildup that gives your blanket a scratchy feel.”
When it comes to drying, it’s a good idea to check the label or washing instructions first. “If you have a dryer without a moisture sensor, dry your throw blanket on low heat and remove it before it’s fully dry,” says Samson. “Take your throw out of the dryer when it’s about 80 percent dry, and air dry the rest. Air drying it towards the end will safeguard your blanket from shrinkage and over-drying (which can harshen fibers and make your throw less comfy).”