Electric blankets are amazing at keeping you warm and cosy during the long winter months.
While they can be used just like any other blanket, their internal wiring means that electric blankets can also provide the user with a comforting level of heat that can be adjusted to suit anyone’s preferences.
To ensure that an electric blanket is kept in the best condition, you must wash it to remove any unwanted build-up of dirt or unpleasant odours.
Unfortunately, the electrical components can make this difficult, as any damage to the blanket’s wiring will reduce the effectiveness of the blanket and make it unsafe to use.
To help you in this process, we have written a step-by-step guide on how to wash an electric blanket safely and effectively.
We also list some tips on caring for an electric blanket, explain how often they need to be cleaned, and discuss whether they are worth using above your central heating.
Can You Wash an Electric Blanket?
When it comes to washing an electric blanket, many people are wary. And rightly so!
In the vast majority of cases, electronics and water don’t mix, so it is a combination we tend to avoid.
Fortunately, most modern electric blankets are completely safe to wash, both by hand and in the washing machine.
They can also be placed in a tumble dryer to speed up the drying process. Details of how to safely wash and dry your blanket in these ways are given below.
Before cleaning your blanket in any way, we highly suggest you check the care label instructions just to be safe.
Each blanket will be able to withstand slightly different temperatures and washing methods, so you want to ensure you are following the label instructions to prevent unwanted damage.
How to Hand Wash an Electric Blanket
The gentlest and safest way of washing an electric blanket is to hand wash it.
However, to do this, you will need access to a bath or large tub to clean the blanket in, so it may not be the best option for those living in smaller homes.
To safely hand wash an electric blanket, you will need to:
- Unplug the blanket and remove the electrical cord. Shake any loose debris from the fabric to help facilitate the cleaning process.
- Fill a large tub with lukewarm water and add some mild laundry detergent. Swirl the detergent around until the water becomes sudsy.
- Submerge your blanket in the water and leave it to soak for 15 minutes.
- Gently squeeze the blanket while it is under the water for around 1 minute. Then, remove the blanket and rinse it with clean water.
- Lightly press the blanket to remove any excess water, taking care not to wring the material as this could damage the internal wiring.
- Leave the blanket to dry, as explained below.
How to Machine Wash an Electric Blanket
If you don’t have the time or space to hand wash an electric blanket, you can also clean it in the washing machine.
Older blankets may not be safe to put in a washer, but the vast majority of them are. Just make sure to double-check the care label before going ahead.
To machine wash an electric blanket, you need to:
- Unplug the blanket, remove the electrical cord, and shake any loose debris from the fabric.
- Soak the blanket in a tub of cold water for 10-15 minutes before loading it into the machine drum.
- Add some mild detergent to your washer’s dispenser. Avoid using bleach or fabric softener, as these can damage the blanket’s internal wiring.
- Select the gentlest wash cycle on your machine and ensure the spin speed is set at the lowest possible setting to prevent unnecessary force on the blanket.
- Let the wash cycle run for 2-3 minutes, and then skip to the rinse and spin cycles. It is rare that a full wash cycle is recommended for use on an electric blanket.
- Remove the blanket from the machine, and leave it to dry.
How to Dry an Electric Blanket
Once your electric blanket has been washed, you can dry it in the tumble dryer.
When doing so, ensure that the blanket has enough space to tumble properly and that you set the appliance to the lowest possible temperature.
Too high a heat could cause a blanket to shrink and the insulation on the internal wiring to become damaged.
Even with these precautions, you should only ever leave an electric blanket in a tumble dryer for 10 minutes to avoid damage. This is enough time to remove most of the moisture from the fabric, but it will still be slightly damp.
If your blanked comes out damp, hang up until it is completely dry before using it again. Using a damp electric blanket can damage the wiring and make it unsafe to use.
If you don’t have a tumble dryer, you can let your electric blanket completely air dry. Simply hang it over a clothesline or on a non-heated airer and leave it until all the moisture has gone.
When doing this, make sure that you don’t hold the blanket in place using pegs, as these can bend the wiring.
How Often Should You Wash an Electric Blanket?
You can wash an electric blanket as often as you deem necessary. As long as you use the appropriate cleaning method, no harm will come to the blanket by washing it frequently.
We suggest at least cleaning it every two weeks to a month during the colder months to ensure it stays in the best possible condition.
Of course, the frequency at which you need to wash an electric blanket will depend on how often it is used.
If you only use it every now and then, you can probably get away with only washing it once before storing it away for the summer.
Top Tips on Caring for an Electric Blanket
Aside from washing your electric blanket, you can do some other things to keep it in good condition. Some of our top tips are:
- Never dry clean an electric blanket unless it is recommended on the care label instructions.
- Treat stains are quickly as possible. You can do this by blotting them with a paper towel, rubbing a little detergent into the stained fabric, and then using a damp cloth to wash it off.
- Hang your electric blankets up and use gravity to smooth out any wrinkles. Avoid ironing the fabric, as this may damage the internal wiring.
- Always remove the cord from an electric blanket and gently roll it up before storing it away. This will help you to avoid bending the wires and causing damage.
- Replace your electric blanket every ten years, as they become more prone to electrical shortages with age. We highly suggest buying a replacement early if you notice any issues before this time.
Is It Cheaper to Use an Electric Blanket or Central Heating?
An electric blanket is a great investment if you’re tight for money. They are much more energy efficient than central heating due to their small surface area, therefore saving you money.
According to The Sun, running a 100W electric blanket for one hour a day in 2023 would only cost you 24p at the end of the week.
This is as little as £12.48 a year! When you consider that turning your central heating down by 1 degree Celsius can save you up to £80 a year, the cost of an electric blanket is definitely worth the price.
Hannah is a freelance content writer with a passion for cleaning. She worked her way around Australia by cleaning hostels in exchange for free accommodation and used her cleaning skills to bag her a job as a chalet host for a luxury ski company in France.