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How to Wash Throw Blankets the Right Way According to a Tide Scientist

A yellow knitted throw blanket is draped over a couch with a throw pillow on top.
New Africa/Shutterstock.com

When it comes to getting cozy, nothing does the trick quite like the perfect throw blanket. Unfortunately, these warm and fuzzy blankets are prone to getting dirty. After all, many of us cart them around our homes like emotional support items.

So how do you wash throw blankets the right way and ensure they stay as good as new?

LifeSavvy spoke with Darenton Randall, Tide Scientist, on the best ways to care for your throw blankets, and it’s easier than you might think.

How Do You Wash Throw Blankets The Right Way?

A person sits on a couch under a blanket while wearing striped socks.

When the time comes to wash your blanket, you might be tempted to toss it into your washing machine without a thought. You’ll toss your usual detergent into the drum, set the cycle to regular, and think you’re good to go. According to Randall, though, cleaning blankets is a bit more complex. And the first thing you should do is check the care label.

“Not all blankets are alike,” said Randall. “It is important to follow the care label for any specific instructions to ensure proper handling of the blanket.”

How to Wash Machine Washable Blankets

Of course, your care label is the best place to start, but if you mistakenly cut it off or don’t understand the confusing laundering symbols some have, Randall does have a few common steps for machine washable blankets.

  1. Choose the gentle or delicate wash and spin cycles, and then, change the water setting to cold.
  2. Add a laundry detergent formulated to target invisible staining. Randall recommended Tide Hygenic Clean.
  3. To add scent and remove odor, Randall also recommended an add-in that helps dissolve odor-causing residues and other types of build-up to keep the blanket vibrant and fresh.
  4. Adjust the cycle to add an extra rinse cycle to ensure all detergent is removed.
  5. Tumble dry the blanket on extra low heat. This could take a few hours due to the setting, but adding a dry towel that can help absorb moisture can speed up the process.

Bounce Pet Hair and Lint Guard

You can also use dryer sheets to help treat your blanket.

How to Wash Non-Machine Washable Blankets

What if you have a blanket that’s not machine washable? Can you still get it clean on your own? According to Randall, yes, but you’ll be doing a bit of extra work.

  1. Fill a tub or sink with cool water which will help preserve colors.
  2. Add one teaspoon of detergent to the water.
  3. Submerge the blanket into the tub or sink and gently stir and swirl the blanket by hand.
  4. Empty the tub or sink and refill it with fresh water.
  5. Add fabric conditioner to rinse water and stir the blanket several times before allowing it to soak for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Gently wring the blanket and dry flat.

How Do You Spot Clean a Throw Blanket?

A person removes a throw blanket from a washing machine.

So what if your entire throw blanket doesn’t need cleaning? Maybe you just tossed it in the machine a few days ago, but oops, that peanut sauce from your Thai food last night dripped onto the edge. Well, the good news is that Randall says you can spot-clean a blanket, and it’s not that difficult.

INDRESSME XXXLarge Cotton Rope Basket

Keep your blankets stashed and away from potential soiling with this container.

First, you’ll brush or blot off as much of the stain as possible. Then, apply a small amount of detergent to the soiled area. Blot the stain with a clean, white cloth, and then, rub the blanket’s fabric together. Allow the blanket to try and repeat if necessary.

Of course, if you take your blanket on the go (or have kiddos who love carrying their favorite around), having detergent nearby might not be possible. In this case, Randall recommends keeping Tide To Go Wipes nearby for emergencies. Even if you do get something on your blanket while home, they’re still great, easy ways to get light soiling out of fabric before your blanket’s next wash.

Tide To Go Stain Remover Wipes

Everyone loves an easy cleanup.

Why Is Washing Your Throw Blanket So Important?

A cream colored faux fur blanket is throw over a bed and a chair.

When you start seeing food stains, discoloration, or feeling a weird oily residue, the time has come to wash your throw blanket. That’s pretty obvious, but if you’re waiting until those signs appear before washing you might be doing your blanket a disservice.

“The average person excretes up to one liter of sweat per day as well as 60 grams of dead skin, salt, and sebum,” Randall said. “Now, let’s be realistic. It is safe to say that most of us do not wash our blankets every single day. So, just think about the copious amount of body soils, dust, and potential food stains your blanket is collecting!”

GONAAP Faux Fur Throw Blanket

Fuzzy faux fur? We love to see it.

Those bits of dirt, sweat, and dead skin cells might not be immediately visible to the naked eye, but according to Randall, they can alter the way your blanket looks. He told LifeSavvy that over time the collection could make your blanket appear dingy, and eventually, odors could begin.

Do you need to wash your blanket every day, then? No, not according to Randall. However, when wash time does come around (which is usually every two weeks or so), it’s important to use a high-quality detergent to remove both visible and invisible dirt.

Tide Hygienic Clean Heavy

Say goodbye to all that dirt and grime.

Whether you’ve got a favorite blanket that you want to make sure stays in tiptop shape for as long as possible or you realize it’s been a minute since you cleaned your kids’ blanket, these expert tips from a Tide Scientist on the right way to clean throw blankets are must know.

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is the Assignments Editor at LifeSavvy. Previously, she worked as a freelance writer with a focus on beauty and lifestyle content. Her work has appeared in Bustle, Allure, and Hello Giggles. Read Full Bio »
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