How to clean an electric blanket: a step-by-step guide

Cleaning tips and tricks for washing your electric blanket

How to clean an electric blanket, cleaning tips
(Image credit: Cosi Home)

Due to the cost of living crisis, more and more people are turning off the heating and looking towards the best electric blankets to keep them warm during the winter. Whether you use your electric blanket as a cosy heated throw or as a sheet in your bed, chances are that sooner or later you’re going to need to give it a clean.

When it comes to cleaning electric blankets, it’s hard to know where to start, mainly because of the electrical wires and remote controls that are attached to them. However, it’s surprisingly easier than you might think to clean an electric blanket. It's also important to keep your electric blanket fresh, especially if you’re using it a lot during the autumn/winter season. 

If your electric blanket is in need of a deep clean, keep reading to find out how to do it by hand or washing machine. If you’re looking for more cleaning tips, check out our how to clean a mattress guide and for tips on washing duvets and weighted blankets, we have how to clean a duvet and how to clean a weighted blanket, too.

Things to remember when cleaning an electric blanket

Before we get into the cleaning tips, there are a few things to keep in mind when you start cleaning your electric blanket. The first and most important thing to remember is to disconnect the electrical cords and control panels before you start any kind of cleaning. It goes without saying (but we’ll say it anyway) that you shouldn’t be getting these wet so make sure to turn off the blanket, unplug it from the power source and remove all cords. If you have an electric blanket where the cords aren’t detachable, you should instead choose to wash it by hand while avoiding the cords.

Next, give your electric blanket a quick inspection to make sure that the electrics and wire heating elements haven’t worn through or burnt the fabric. If this is the case or the electrical cord is damaged, you should stop using the blanket altogether and definitely not wash it. While electric blankets are relatively safe, if the electricals are damaged, it could spark or start a fire.

Electric blankets

(Image credit: Amazon)

Finally, always check the label before you do anything to your electric blanket. According to the Sleep Foundation, while most electric blankets are washable, not all of them are and some can’t even stand spot cleaning due to moisture damaging the wiring. So, before you start cleaning, make sure to check the instructions carefully.

How to clean an electric blanket in a washing machine

If your electric blanket cover can be put in the washing machine, follow these steps:

1. Pre-soak the blanket

After you’ve disconnected the power cord and read the instructions, start by pre-soaking the blanket. Most manufacturers recommend that you soak it for around 5-15 minutes. If the label says to use warm water, follow these instructions but if there aren’t any specific guidelines, it’s always best to choose colder water when soaking.

2. Wash it on a gentle cycle

After the soak, go ahead and put the blanket into the best washing machine. Make sure to not overload the machine as you’ll wear out the drum, so if you notice that the blanket is too big for your washer, consider going to a launderettes. Most manufacturers don’t suggest washing your electric blanket on a full cycle, so pick a short gentle cycle that uses cold water that will end by rinsing and spinning your blanket. Avoid bleach entirely and use minimal amounts of mild washing detergent.

3. Air dry or tumble dry on low

When it comes to drying your electric blanket, it depends what kind of best tumble dryer you have. If you can fit the cover in the dryer comfortably and it has enough room to tumble around, you’re fine to dry it this way. Make sure the temperature is low because if it gets too hot, it might not maintain its shape or you can damage where the wiring goes. To stay on the safe side, you can air dry your electric blanket by hanging it on a drying rack.

Electric blankets

(Image credit: Amazon)

How to clean an electric blanket by hand

There are two reasons why you might have to wash your electric blanket by hand. The first is because the material will be damaged if you put it in the washing machine. If this is the case but you can still remove the power cords, clean your electric blanket by soaking it (using the pre-soak method mentioned above) with mild detergent before leaving it out to dry.

Another reason why your electric blanket needs to be washed by hand is because you can’t remove the cords. If this is the case for you, keep reading for tips on how to clean it.

1. Spot clean

When spot cleaning, it’s important to be extra careful when you do this as you don’t want to damage the wiring. To spot clean your electric blanket, unplug it from the mains and blot the stains with a kitchen towel or cloth. Apply a small amount of mild detergent and warm water on a cloth and gently dab it on the stain, making sure to avoid the cords as much as possible. Once you’ve done that, use a different damp cloth to rinse the soap out.

2. Air dry

As you can’t put the electric blanket in the washing machine, it’s unlikely you can put it in the dryer either, so you’ll need to air dry it. Do this by laying it flat or on a clothes horse.

How often should you clean an electric blanket?

According to Good Housekeeping, an electric blanket should be washed “several times per season depending on use”. If you use your electric blanket sporadically, you should clean it every few months or spot clean it when a stain comes up. On the other hand, if you use your electric blanket as a fitted sheet like the Silentnight Comfort Control Electric Blanket, you should clean it like you would your bedding – every two weeks.

Bethan Girdler-Maslen
Home Editor

Beth is Home Editor for T3, looking after style, living and wellness. From the comfiest mattresses to what strange things you can cook in an air fryer, Beth covers sleep, yoga, smart home, coffee machines, grooming tools, fragrances, gardening and much more. If it's something that goes in your house, chances are Beth knows about it and has the latest reviews and recommendations! She's also in the know about the latest deals and discount codes from top brands and retailers.

Having always been passionate about writing, she’s written for websites, newspapers and magazines on a variety of topics, from jewellery and culture, to food and telecoms. You can find her work across numerous sites, including Wedding Ideas Magazine, Health & Wellbeing, The Bristol Post, Fashion & Style Directory, TechRadar, CreativeBloq and more. In her spare time, Beth enjoys running, reading, baking and attempting craft projects that will probably end in disaster!