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What’s not to love about a weighted blanket? A Swedish study published last year found that they really do help you fall asleep, get quality shut-eye, and reduce anxiety. Among all those benefits, however, there is one not-so-great part: figuring out how to wash a weighted blanket after the excitement wears off.

Don’t just throw it in the machine like any old throw. “You want to ensure that your weighted blanket stays in good shape for many more peaceful nights,” says Kathrin Hamm, founder and CEO of Bearaby. Here, Hamm and Lori Williamson of Now It’s Clean break down how to do it step-by-step. Fair warning: It’s not as difficult as you may think, but you will get an arm workout.

Does Material Factor Into How You Wash a Weighted Blanket?

Short answer: yes. “Many weighted blanket manufacturers use artificial fillers and synthetic fabrics, often resulting in a blanket that’s not machine washable,” says Hamm. (Think: sand, beans, pebbles, glass, plastic, or steel beads.) You most likely will only be able to launder the cover or have to stick to spot cleaning. 

That’s not the case for Bearaby, however, whose blankets are filler-free and crafted from organic cotton that is machine washable. The same goes for Baloo. In the end, always refer to the care instructions or the company website for your particular weighted blanket.

Team Hand-Wash or Team Machine-Wash?

While handwashing and air-drying would be a more gentle process for your blanket, it would be time-consuming and very, very heavy. (Imagine hand-wringing water out of a 15-pound textile. No, thanks.)

Machine washing is a lower lift, literally. Just double-check your washer and dryer’s weight capacity to ensure they can bear the full weight of your blanket, taking into account it will be heavier once wet. If you have a small washing machine or a top-loading washer or dryer with an agitator, the answer is likely no. In that case, Hamm says, take it to a laundromat where there are heavy-duty machines.

How Often Should You Wash a Weighted Blanket?

If you cuddle up with yours daily, Hamm recommends tossing it in the wash once a month. Occasional users should aim for four or five washings per year. In the meantime, Williamson suggests freshening up your weighted blanket with a handheld steam cleaner, like the Bissell SteamShot, then laying flat to dry. “Steam is a great way to get rid of dust mites, dirt, dead skin skills, and bacteria,” she says.

How to Wash a Weighted Blanket

The Supplies

  • Mild detergent
  • Stain remover spray or liquid dish soap
  • Laundry brush
  • Wool dryer balls
  • Lavender essential oil (optional)

Step 1: Read the Care Label

Follow the instructions on your blanket’s care label or the manufacturer’s website. As we mentioned earlier, some are machine washable; others are not. Better to realize this before you’re halfway through the process.

Step 2: Remove the Cover If There Is One

Wash as you would any duvet cover (but again, check the label first). 

Step 3: Pretreat Stains

Check your weighted blanket for spots or stains and pretreat them with a stain remover spray or mild liquid dish soap, applying it with a laundry brush.

Step 4: Wash With Cold Water on a Gentle Cycle

Wash your blanket—and only your blanket in its own load—on the cold water and gentle settings with a mild detergent. Instead of bleach, Williamson says to pour ¼ cup white distilled vinegar into the fabric softener compartment at the beginning of the wash cycle (or directly to the drum during the rinse cycle). “Vinegar acts as a natural fabric softener and will leave the blanket soft and fluffy,” she explains.

Step 5: Dry, and Possibly Dry Again

Move the blanket to the dryer and tumble dry on a low heat setting. Don’t be shocked if two or more cycles are necessary. To speed up the process, throw in a few wool dryer balls. Bonus points if you include a couple drops of soothing lavender essential oil. Alternatively, lay flat to dry, flipping once the top half is dry.