If you own a weighted blanket, then you already know about the tremendous benefits. These virtues are science-based, too. Weighted blankets use deep pressure stimulation to increase serotonin (the mood-boosting hormone), decrease cortisol (the stress hormone), and help people rest or sleep more peacefully.
All of that being said, weighted blankets are not always easy to clean. You can’t always throw them into a standard home washer, either front or top-loading. This issue is especially problematic given that good sleep hygiene also requires clean bedding.
Let’s look at how to decontaminate a weighted blanket, as well as ways to get around the inability to launder them.
Follow Manufacturer’s Care Instructions
The most important thing you can do when cleaning your weighted blanket is to follow the manufacturer’s care instructions. Sometimes, you can put it in the wash cycle.
You’re going to need to use cold water, low agitation, and very mild detergent almost always. Do not use bleach, heavily-scented soap, or fabric softener. If it can be tumble dried, always use low heat.
If you own a Southpaw weighted blanket, these can be washed and dried at home in the manner described above. However, the most potent disinfectant is not soap; it’s heat.
Because you’re using cold water and low dryer settings, you may not kill all the germs. Let’s look at how to decontaminate a Southpaw weighted blanket next.
How to Decontaminate a Weighted Blanket
As stated above, the best tool in your arsenal for decontamination—whether bacterium, viruses, mould, or other undesirable elements—is heat. You can spray disinfectant such as Lysol, but then you’re loading your expensive weighted blanket with chemicals that you don’t want getting into your lungs and body.
One way to decontaminate a weighted blanket without chemicals is to use a steamer or steam cleaner. These items are relatively inexpensive and available at stores selling small appliances or online on Amazon and similar sites.
These tools vaporise water at very high temperatures, and that heat is effective for straightening wrinkles in clothing and killing lingering malignants.
To use the steamer to decontaminate your weighted blanket, fill the tank with clean, demineralised, or distilled water. Once it’s ready (according to the manufacturer’s instructions), slowly trace the wand over all parts of the blanket.
Be careful not to saturate the blanket, as that can damage it as well. Allow it to dry completely in a space with plenty of airflows. Alternatively, you can put it in your dryer machine on low.
Pro Tip: Get a Washable Cover
If you’re concerned about prolonging the life and integrity of your weighted blanket, one of the best things you can do is buy a cover for it. These items are very similar to duvet covers or even pillowcases.
Washable weighted blanket covers are also available online or at stores that sell bedding items. They’re great to use because they’re much easier to remove and wash than going through the steps of cleaning the actual blanket.
They protect your weighted blanket from accidental spills or other damaging incidents. Even more important, they provide an added layer of protection against dust mites and other allergens, which absorb into the blanket itself. You can find weighted blankets covers that have added safeguards against common allergens.
Weighted blankets are typically rather costly, so you should do whatever you can to protect them.
Spot Clean and Steam as Needed
Even with a cover, your weighted blanket needs periodic cleaning and decontamination. Whenever you notice a stain or spot, clean it at once using a damp towel and mild soap. If you’re worried about the spot setting, launder your blanket according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Both laundering and steam cleaning are crucial whether or not you have a cover on your weighted blanket.
You should plan to deep clean the entire blanket at least three or four times a year. Include it with your routine seasonal chores, like raking leaves in the fall or cleaning window screens in the spring. If possible, launder and steam to both clean and decontaminate at the same time.
Alternatively, of course, you can have your weighted blanket dry cleaned. Just check with your regular dry cleaner that they have experience cleaning weighted blankets, and be sure they’re aware of your care instructions.
How Often Do You Need to Replace a Weighted Blanket?
It’s difficult to say. With proper maintenance, your weighted blanket should last several years. But even with the best care, it won’t last forever. Eventually, the weighted beads (or whatever material) will become worn and damaged, and the blanket won’t distribute weight evenly anymore, rendering many of its benefits ineffective.
The experts at the Sleep Foundation recommend replacing your weighted blanket about every five years. In the meantime, follow the steps in this guide to prolong its life and keep you safe from contaminants.