How do you wash a heated blanket? Tips on caring for this cozy bedding safely

Electric blankets are a popular way to stay warm through winter, but how do you wash one safely? These experts share their tips

Apartment bedroom with panelled walls
(Image credit: White Arrow)

Now the colder weather is well and truly upon us, you might be wondering how to wash your heated blanket. This electric comforter has become the go-to option to keep warm and cozy this winter while also cutting costs on our energy bills, but you'll need to know how to safely wash one if you're using it on your bed. 

The rising cost of gas is on everyone's mind at the moment, so you'll certainly sleep better knowing that you're keeping warm for less with a heated blanket. But how do you wash one? It's been ingrained in us since an early age: never mix water and electricals, so, understandably, you may be nervous about the cleaning process. 

Fortunately, we're here to put an end to your concerns. With the help of some bedding experts, we've compiled all you need to know about safely cleaning your electric blanket - and we think you'll be pleasantly surprised at the lack of hassle involved.

Lilith headshot for bio
Lilith Hudson

Lilith is an expert at following news and trends across the world of interior design. She's committed to helping readers make the best choices in their homes through writing practical tips and guides to help them with their household tasks. For this piece she spoke with bedding experts to learn how to safely wash a heated blanket now the colder weather has arrived. 

Always check the label 

an earth tone bedroom with gold touches

(Image credit: thevillacollective. Design: Liliana Atilova)

Styling your bed with an electric blanket is guaranteed to keep you warm this winter, but when it comes to washing one, you'll need to do your research. 

It goes without saying, but before you decide on how to wash your heated blanket, you should always check the label. Admittedly, we've all become quite slack at doing this with our regular laundry (how many times do you have to shrink a shirt before you learn?), but it's far more imperative to check the washing instructions when there are electrics involved. 

'I always advise our customers to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions about washing garments, linens, and heated blankets,' explains Robert Johnson, Marketing Director and laundry expert at Coast Appliances. 'Because modern washers are made from tough materials and have advanced features, washing heated blankets isn’t usually a problem on a gentle cycle.' 

Heated Blanket by Bedsure
Stay snug

Heated Blanket by Bedsure

Keep toasty as the nights grow colder with this cozy electric blanket from Amazon. It's machine washable and comes in five color options so you won't even have to compromise style for your comfort. 

If you can, machine wash on a gentle cycle

If your heated blanket is machine washable, you can now breathe a sign of relief. However, there are still a few things you ought to be aware of before you simply shove your blanket into the machine and stick it on your regular cycle. 

When it comes to how often you should wash your bedding, every week is advised. However, as long as you're not sleeping directly on your heated blanket, you won't need to worry about washing it quite as often. When you do, though, the first point to note is an obvious one - always remove any cables or power sources before you put your blanket in the wash. This is where those warnings against mixing water and electronics come into play. If you don’t have a removable power cord, then your only option is to hand wash instead. 

If you still want your blanket to work after a wash, you should only use a short, gentle cycle. 'This way, you minimize the risk of damaging your electric blanket or any of the wires inside it,' says Hayley Thistleton, sleep and bedding expert at Sleepseeker. Whichever pre-set you're using, ensure your spin cycle is on the lowest setting and wash on a cool temperature with only a small amount of detergent. 

To avoid breaking the entire washing machine (or worse), make sure you also check your heated blanket for damage first since a damaged wire could result in a fire. 

If in doubt, hand wash

a bedroom with different size nightstands

(Image credit: Mary Wadsworth)

If there are any doubts about using your washing machine, it's always safest to avoid the laundry room and hand wash instead. 

'Heated blankets are usually made from fleece or polyester fiber,' says Robert. 'The heating element is threaded into the specially woven blanket shell in a zigzag pattern using pusher technology.' 

What this means is that heated blankets are incredibly delicate! Soak them in your bath tub and avoid rigorous scrubbing so you don't damage any wires. Don't be tempted to ring it out either - just let the water drain out with a few gentle squeezes. 

A statement headboard in a modern bedroom

(Image credit: Regan Baker)

Spot clean stubborn stains 

Since you’re going to wash your heated blanket on a gentle cycle (or soak it in the tub) and you'll be avoiding without harsh chemicals, Hayley suggests soaking in cold water beforehand to help loosen any stains. Accidents like food and drink spills should also be spot cleaned as soon as possible since a long hot cycle in the machine is out of the question. 

How should you dry an electric blanket?

It might come as a surprise, but most modern electric blankets are totally safe for use in a tumble drier. However, we'd recommend air drying when possible to minimize any risk. 

If it's cold and damp outside, it's a good idea to partially dry your blanket in your drier and then finish of the job on an airer. If you must use a drier, use a cool and gentle setting since high temperatures are likely to damage the wires. You should also never take a heated blanket to be dry-cleaned since the chemicals used in the process will damage the wiring insulation. 

Color & Trends Editor

Lilith Hudson is the Color & Trends Editor at Livingetc. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.