How to wash blankets and still keep them soft and fluffy

Experts share how to wash blankets so you can freshen up those throws without losing their glorious cozy-factor

Cream colored chunky knit blanket on white bed
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It's time to learn how to wash blankets so you can give your living room or bedroom a true deep clean. Often neglected when it comes to laundry, freshening up your throw blankets and duvets can make all the difference. 

Throw blankets can accumulate all kinds of stains and odors. From food spills after movie night on the couch to pet hair and dander, your blankets may be dirtier than you think. 

Thankfully, you don't have to rush out to the dry cleaners every time you need to wash blankets. You can easily wash your gorgeous throws at home after learning how to do laundry, without losing their soft and cozy feel.

How to wash blankets at home

A good cozy throw blanket, like this celeb-favorite blanket, is essential in every home from snuggling on the sofa to adding extra warmth in bed. If your throw blankets have gotten a lot of love, it's time to give them a wash.  

You may be worried about damaging your blanket or losing the original softness from throwing it in the washing machine, but our experts break down how to get blankets looking as good as new. Although, you may have to take some extra steps if you're washing a wool blanket or cleaning a weighted blanket.

Close up of gray fuzzy fleece blanket

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Step 1: Check the care label

Washing anything you're unfamiliar with should always start with checking the care label for instructions and laundry symbol meanings

Cleaning expert, Karina Toner says, "Before washing a blanket, it's crucial to examine the care label provided by the manufacturer. This label often contains specific instructions tailored to the particular material and the best care practices. 

"Whether it recommends dry cleaning, hand washing, or machine washing, adhering to these guidelines helps ensure the longevity and quality of the blanket."

Karina Toner, Operations Manager, Spekless Cleaning
Karina Toner

Karina Toner is a cleaning expert and the Operations Manager at Washington D.C.-based Spekless Cleaning. 

Step 2: Treat stains

Throw blankets can run pretty large so make sure you look over the whole thing to check for any stains you may not have noticed before. It can be a challenge to remove food stains but the sooner you find them, the better. 

"Address any stains with a mild detergent or a specialized stain remover. Blot the stain gently, avoiding rubbing," says Angela Rubin, a cleaning expert from Hellamaid.

We recommend adding Miss Mouth's stain treater available on Amazon to your laundry room essentials for tough messes. 

Angela Rubin, cleaning expert at HellaMaid
Angela Rubin

Angela Rubin works at Hellamaid, a top-rated cleaning company in Canada. Hellamaid are industry experts specializing in residential and commercial cleaning services. 

Step 3: Wash with cold water

Load the blanket into the washing machine by itself to ensure it has enough room in the drum. "When placing your blanket into the washing machine, make sure to give it some breathing room. Overcrowding is definitely not the way to go. Always allow your blanket the freedom to move, ensuring a more thorough clean," says Karina.

Wash with a mild detergent such as Tide Free & Gentle detergent, available on Amazon, and cold water to avoid damaging the fibers in the material. 

If you're trying to remove stubborn odors, try adding a cup of white vinegar (you can't go wrong with classic Heinz vinegar on Amazon) to the wash. It's a great way to get rid of pet odors in a small space.

Step 4: Air dry or tumble dry

If your blanket is holding onto excess water, try removing it by using towels to gently squeeze it out. 

"Lay the blanket flat on a clean, dry towel after washing to maintain its shape," says angela. "Gently roll the towel and blanket together to remove excess water."

If the care tag on your blanket advises air drying, try draping it over a drying rack like this highly-rated Amazon Basics rack

If your blanket has more of a fluffy texture, you may prefer to dry it in the tumble dryer with some wool dryer balls to restore its texture (this set of six wool dryer balls from Amazon is really handy and has over 76k great reviews.)

It's a pretty common laundry myth that you have to take larger items like blankets and comforters to the dry cleaners to get them washed when you could actually do it at home for a lot less. 

Just make sure not to use excess heat or use bleach on bright colors as you may end up damaging your blanket. If you stick to the basics, your blanket will be looking and feeling as cozy as ever.

Emily Lambe
Deputy Editor

Hey! I’m Emily and I’m the deputy digital editor at Real Homes. I’m here to bring you the latest decor trends, inspirational ideas and the best budget-friendly buys. I live in a rented apartment, making the most of small spaces and using accent pieces to make things pop. When I’m not writing, I’m usually doing yoga, eating chocolate or working on my skincare routine.