When we think of thick blankets, we often think of comfort: a soft, fluffy blanket that keeps us warm and comfortable. However, did you know that these blankets can also be a breeding ground for mites and dirt that builds up over time, increasing the likelihood of an allergic reaction? Keeping the thick blanket you use clean is vital for your health, as well as the lifespan of the blanket itself. While cleaning a thick blanket is a task that may seem difficult at first, don't worry, washing any type of thick blanket is a task you can do.
Part 1 of 3: Preparing to Wash Your Thick Blanket
Step 1. Read the ingredient care label
Your blanket should have a material care label outlining instructions for cleaning the blanket. Most all types of thick blankets, whether the stuffing is down or synthetic, can be washed at home with detergent, although certain blanket labels state that blankets can only be cleaned by dry cleaning (cleaning without using water).
Do not deviate from the specific instructions on the label. These instructions may also suggest proper temperature settings for the washer and dryer, etc
Step 2. Determine if the thick blanket you are wearing needs to be washed
Blankets may need to be cleaned every few months. However, if you have allergies, you may have to wash your blankets every month.
You don't need to wash the entire blanket if the problem is just one stain. See Step 4 to learn how to remove stains
Step 3. Check the seam strength and see if there are any holes on the surface of the quilt
Before you actually wash the blanket, make sure that there are no loose threads or torn surfaces. Even if there is, hopefully the tear isn't too big and can be easily repaired with a few stitches. You may spend more time, but sewing on the torn area will prevent larger rips when washed.
Step 4. Clean the stain
You can clean the stain with a small amount of non-detergent cleaning liquid diluted with a little water. Or, use a paste made from a mixture of baking soda and water, a 50:50 solution of baking soda and vinegar, or sparkling water.
- Slide the stuffing material inside the thick blanket away from the stained area.
- Apply a small amount of cleaning solution to the area.
- Dry with a clean white towel or cloth.
- Alternatively, rub the stained fabric to remove the stain, and rinse with a little water. Squeeze the water with your hands and then dry with a clean white towel.
- If you're not going to wash the blanket afterward, let the area you just cleaned dry on its own, or dry it with a hairdryer. Make sure the area is completely dry.
- Never use bleach or other dyes.
Part 2 of 3: Washing Your Thick Blanket
Step 1. Put your blanket in the washing machine
Make sure the blankets don't just stack on one side. Blankets need enough space for the washing machine to clean them thoroughly. If the washing machine in your home seems too small to wash heavy blankets, take the blankets to the laundry or laundromat and use one of the larger washing machines with the front door.
Step 2. Select the washing machine setting used to wash delicate fabrics, then select the water temperature
You should choose a gentle wash setting in an effort to prevent damage to the surface of the blanket. Choosing a water temperature depends on several factors.
- Use cold or hot water (according to the instructions on the label).
- Use hot water if you don't have a tumble dryer but you want to get rid of mites on your blanket. Hot water reaching 54 degrees Celsius will kill the mites; but if you are afraid of damaging the fabric or the color of the blanket when you wash it in hot water, use cold water. You can use the heat later during the drying process.
Step 3. If possible, repeat the rinse cycle
Depending on the type of washing machine you are using, you may be able to make this choice up front. Or, you may need to do it as an extra step after the first wash cycle is over.
Step 4. Use a small amount of mild detergent
Choose a detergent that is safe for soft fabrics. Using a small amount of detergent will prevent excessive suds in the machine, as well as reduce the chances of downfall from thick blankets.
Step 5. Insert a pair of clean white tennis shoes, or tennis balls
Adding these items to the washing machine will help balance the load and ensure effective cleaning.
Make sure the suit you have chosen will not damage the shoes
Part 3 of 3: Drying the Blanket
Step 1. Put a thick blanket in the dryer along with tennis shoes or tennis balls
Ensure that the blanket is evenly distributed in the engine compartment. Shoes or tennis balls will balance the load of the laundry.
Alternatively, you can use rubber balls called dryer balls, which make the fabric softer and dry faster, or use down fluffer rings which clean laundry and, for thick blankets, make it softer
Step 2. Dry the thick blanket with a dryer on a low heat setting
Blankets take some time to dry completely, maybe a few hours.
Use a high heat setting to kill the mites, but only if the care label on the blanket allows it. Remember, however, that tennis balls and shoes may not be exposed to the heat of a dryer set to overheat
Step 3. Pat the blanket thickly periodically during the drying process
Pull the blanket out of the dryer and pat the surface once every half hour. This will help to evenly distribute the stuffing material inside the thick blanket. In addition, the blanket will also dry thoroughly because of the air. You can also check for possible signs of the fabric burning (although this is rare on a low heat setting, it's still a risk on a high setting).
Step 4. Dry the thick blanket outside
If the weather outside is relatively dry and sunny, end the drying process by drying the blanket outside for a few hours. Drying the blanket outside will ensure it is completely dry, which is also important to prevent mold from growing. Sunlight also helps kill mites.
- If the weather is warm and sunny outside, you can directly hang the blankets to dry without having to use a tumble dryer. If you do this, position the blanket so that the surface is completely dry. Be sure to pat and turn it 90 degrees every few hours to prevent the stuffing inside the blanket from sticking together in one spot.
- If the weather is not favorable, dry the blanket in a dry room with good ventilation. Placing it on a drying rack will make it quite dry. Be sure to pat and turn it periodically, as instructed above.
- Protect the blanket from dirt and dust with a cover. The cover covers the duvet surface well and can be easily removed and washed with the sheets in the washing machine.
- If the care label on the blanket recommends washing by hand only, you can wash it with a mild detergent in a bathtub or large sink.
- Shake the blankets every morning, and dry them on dry, windy days at regular intervals. This will help the stuffing inside the blanket get good circulation and remove moisture, preventing mold from growing.
- Most manufacturers prohibit the use of bleach, because bleach has the potential to damage the surface of the blanket and the stuffing inside, causing them to spoil quickly. However, bleach is an effective liquid to get rid of mites; so if mites are a problem for you, you might consider adding a little bleach during the wash cycle.