The Everyday Home: Washing your blankets and throws

Sonya McDaniel, extension educator, FCS/CED
OSU Extension Center

After recording breaking lows, thermostats lowered to conserve power, etc. our blankets and throws were a mainstay for every family member for days, whether on the couch or in bed. If you feel like they need a little TLC there are some things to keep in mind to help keep your blankets and throws germ free and soft all season long.

According to most laundry experts, blanket and throws should be washed every two weeks, to be safe, but at least once a month. Frequency depends on a few factors. If you tend to eat while snuggled up, if you have been sick or have a four-legged snuggler as a companion then you will need to follow a two-week schedule.

Washing your favorite blanket every two weeks may begin to break down the fibers and effect the softness of your favorite item. It is important to check the care label for direction from the manufacturer. Most blankets can be washed in cool to warm water using a standard laundry detergent. But, don’t over-do it with detergent or fabric softener because these products could break down your blanket faster.

If you’re dealing with an extra delicate material or construction, such as woven or knitted, then place the throw in a mesh laundry bag before placing in the washing machine. Or, it may be better to handwash. Try using the bathtub so there is more room for movement and ability to rinse thoroughly.

Take special care when drying your throw or blanket. According to experts, how you dry your throw blanket can make or break its softness—and life expectancy.

When there is no moisture in material, the fibers will contract and shrink. So, avoid over drying or using high heat cycles. Using a low heat cycle and removing items before they are completely dry is best practice for maintaining softness and lifespan of your blankets. Air drying is normally the best practice for throws and blankets. But, if you have to have it before your movie starts follow the low heat method and check on it frequently so you don’t over dry it.

Following these laundry tips through the fall and winter will help keep you and your blankets comfy all season.

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