A wool blanket is the perfect companion to have around on a cold winter’s night when you’re snuggling up on the sofa with a cup of hot chocolate.
But how do you clean a woollen blanket and make sure it stays fresh too?
Your luck is in. Keep on reading to find out how to clean a blanket made from wool, and more importantly, how often you need to clean it.
How to Wash a Wool Blanket
Follow the steps below to clean your woollen blanket.
Tips before cleaning a wool blanket
- Shake the blanket before you clean it – This will dislodge any dirt from the fibres.
- Give the wool blanket a brush down with a soft brush on a regular basis. This will ensure that any ingrained dirt is removed.
- Always read the tag on the blanket to discover the exact washing and drying instructions.
- ‘Dry clean only’ means dry clean only when it comes to a wool blanket.
- If you don’t have a ‘wool’ cycle on your washing machine, a ‘delicate’ or ‘hand wash’ cycle should be used instead.
- Treat stains before you start cleaning.
- Don’t use hot water, as this will shrink the material. You should only wash wool blankets in cold water.
- Air drying is essential. Don’t tumble dry your blanket, because this may shrink the wool.
- You must use a specialised wool detergent because regular detergents are too strong (some contain enzymes and bleach).
- Don’t scrub the wool blanket. Instead, simply blot at stains to remove them!
There are three ways you can wash a wool blanket, let’s find out what these cleaning methods are.
Method 1: Machine washing a wool blanket
What you need:
- Wool blanket
- Soft-bristled brush
- Wool detergent
- Small pot
- Washing machine
Steps to follow:
- Read the tag on your blanket to see if it can be machine-washed. Continue with this method if the tag says it’s okay.
- Grab your blanket and take it outside.
- Give the blanket a good shake so bits of dirt and dust fall off it.
- (Optional) Lay your blanket flat out on a large clean surface and start brushing it with a soft-bristled brush to dislodge more dirt.
- Spot and treat stains you see. Simply mix some wool detergent and cold water in a pot, then soak a damp cloth in the water and start blotting at the stained patch.
- Put the blanket into the washing machine on its own. If you add other clothes to the machine, you risk snagging the wool, or as the materials rub together bobbles will start to appear on the wool because of the friction.
- Select a ‘wool’ or a ‘delicate’ cycle.
- Make sure only cold water is going to go into the machine – below 30℃.
- Add your specialised ‘wool detergent’ – for example, Woolite Laundry Detergent.
- Start the wash.
- Air dry the blanket.
Method 2: Hand washing a wool blanket
What you need:
- Wool blanket
- Soft-bristled brush
- Bathtub/big bucket
- Cold water
- Specialised wool detergent
Steps to follow:
- Check the tag on your blanket to make sure you can hand wash the item.
- Take your blanket outside and shake it, so bits of dirt fall off.
- (Optional) Brush the entire blanket with a soft-bristled brush to remove even more dirt.
- Fill a bathtub or large bucket with cold water/below 30°C. Make sure the tub/bucket is clean.
- Add a measure of specialised wool detergent to the water, for example Clothes Doctor No 3 Eco Wash For Cashmere and Wool.
- Slosh the water around to mix the detergent in.
- Add the wool blanket to the water.
- Make sure it is submerged in the water.
- Leave the item in the water for the amount of time it says on the bottle of your chosen detergent.
- Check the blanket.
- Gently rub any stains you see on the blanket. Carefully massage the dirty spot between your finger and thumb. Don’t scrub it!
- Pop the blanket back under the water for another two minutes.
- Empty the water away.
- Hold the blanket under the cold water tap and rinse it. Make sure all the detergent has gone.
- Air dry the item.
Method 3: Dry cleaning a wool blanket
In some cases, you will only be able to dry clean your wool blanket. So, you’ll need to find a dry-cleaning shop in your area and take your blanket to them.
How to Dry a Wool Blanket
You should only air dry a wool blanket because the heat and motion inside a tumble dryer can warp the delicate material.
To dry a wool blanket lay a big towel flat out on a large clear surface, then lay the blanket directly on top of the towel.
You will then need to start rolling the blanket up in the towel (this exercise will remove a lot of moisture from the blanket).
You should continue to do this very carefully, until most of the moisture has been removed from the woollen blanket.
Throughout this process you will need to change towels because they’ll get saturated, so have a stock of them at the ready!
If the blanket doesn’t feel too wet after it’s been washed in a washing machine, you may be able to skip this step and just hang the blanket up to dry.
Once you’ve extracted as much moisture as possible from the wool, you can move on to air drying the blanket outside.
Don’t leave the wool blanket in direct sunlight as the light may dry out the material and could discolour it too.
Also, position the blanket carefully on the line, so the wool dries uniformly and remains in shape. You shouldn’t pull and stretch the blanket because it will fall out of shape very quickly.
Alternatively, if you cannot dry the blanket outdoors, drape the woollen item over a door or a clothes horse. And make sure plenty of fresh air can get into the room, so the blanket dries.
How Do You Keep Wool Blankets Looking and Smelling Fresh?
Here are few things you can do to keep your woollen blanket looking and smelling clean:
- Spot clean stains off the blanket.
- De-pile the blanket (remove the bobbly bits that you see).
- Make sure the blanket gets plenty of air (pop it outside/put it on a clothes horse).
- Comb the blanket to remove dirt from the fibres.
- Store your wool blanket in an air-tight bag, so protein-loving moths don’t get to it.
- Repair any holes you see, so they don’t get worse.
- Make sure your blanket is completely dry before you store it.
How Often Do You Need to Wash a Wool Blanket?
Not very often! Wool is a delicate material that possesses some antibacterial properties, and to some degree is odour-resistant, so you don’t need to wash it that much. But if you really must wash the blanket, only do this every few months.
You should, instead, try to maintain your wool blanket, rather than washing it over and over again.
Here are some ways to keep your woollen blanket fresh:
- Air it outside – You should air your blanket outside when you can to refresh it. But don’t leave the wool to sit in direct sunlight for too long as this can discolour and make the material rougher to the touch.
- Air it inside on a clothes airer – Or you could drape your blanket over a large clothes horse indoors and leave it to sit there to air for a few hours with a breeze coming in.
- Shake it outside – You could also give your blanket a good shake outside every few days, so that you get rid of any debris that’s lodged into the material.
- Brush your blanket – In addition to this, you could brush your wool blanket down with a soft bristled brush to dislodge clumps of dirt that have been embedded in the material’s fibres.
Further to this, it’s better to spot treat stains on your woollen blanket as and when you need to, rather than washing the whole blanket all the time.
In most cases, all you’ll need to do is blot the dirty patch with some wool detergent and water.
If you practice the above your wool blanket shouldn’t need to be washed very often. And by not over-washing your blanket it should stick around for a very long time and remain in good condition.
Can a Wool Blanket Be Washed in a Washing Machine?
It’s important to read your wool blanket’s care label before you wash it because there’ll be information on the tag that tells you how to wash and dry the item.
Based on the information on the tag you will either be able to wash the wool blanket at home, either in the washing machine or by hand, or you will need to take the banket to a dry cleaners.
Some woollen blankets can be washed in a washing machine and by hand, others need to be washed by hand only, and a few can only be dry cleaned.
Either way, it’s important that you follow the advice on the tag because washing your blanket in the wrong way could ruin it beyond repair.
Can You Wash 100% Wool at Home?
Before you wash a wool blanket, you should always read its care label.
And as long as the care label says that you can machine wash/hand wash the blanket at home, you can clean the blanket at home.
However, if you see that the blanket should be cared for in a particular way, say ‘dry clean only’, then you need to stick to the advice given. Going against this information and washing your blanket at home may damage it.
Can You Wash a Woollen Blanket That Says ‘Dry Clean Only’?
When it comes to wool, you’re always better off sticking to what it says on the care label.
Given the fact that woollen blankets are not the cheapest of blankets to buy as well, it’s even more of a reason to stick to what it says on the tag.
If you see ‘dry clean only’, you need to take your wool blanket to a dry-cleaning store.
Can You Use Fabric Softener on Wool Blankets?
It’s not essential to use fabric softener when cleaning a wool blanket.
In fact, fabric softeners can leave streaky traces on this kind of material, so it might be better to avoid using such a product on your wool blanket.
Also, some fabric softeners are too chemical-ridden for the wool, so they could end up causing more damage than they’re worth.
And wool, if cared for correctly, should be quite soft anyway. So, it’s unlikely that you’d need to use such an item.
Bethan has a passion for exploring, reading, cooking and gardening! When she’s not creating culinary delights for her family, she’s concocting potions to keep her house clean!