Wednesday, December 18, 2019

How to Wash a Fleece Blanket

So you just got (or made) a new fleece blanket. It's so soft and luxurious. You want it to stay that soft forever. So you're afraid to wash it. It might never be the same.

washing fleece blanket

We've all had fleece blankets or clothing that ends up a little bit less soft with each washing.  The fibers become matted, or they ball up and come off (often referred to as pilling).

It doesn't have to be that way. Learning to correctly wash and dry fleece will ensure the soft plush feel will last much longer.



HOW TO WASH A FLEECE BLANKET

First of all, the BEST way to care for your fleece blanket is to follow the care instructions that came with the blanket.

But sometimes, we cut those tags off, or they become faded and unreadable. Or maybe the blanket was handmade. What then?

I did a little digging and found the best recommendations for caring for a fleece blanket. Learn how to wash and dry fleece. How to pre-treat stains on fleece. And whether or not you can iron fleece.


Did you know that when you buy fleece at the fabric store to make your own blanket, you can find the care instructions on the cardboard bolt it comes on? It's a good idea to snap a picture of those instructions for future reference.


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how to wash a fleece blanket

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PRE-TREATING STAINS ON FLEECE FABRIC

The best way to pre-treat fleece fabric is to use a small bit of laundry detergent, or mild liquid dish soap. 
  1. Add a dab of soap to the stain, just enough to cover it. 
  2. Allow it to sit for up to 10 minutes. 
  3. Use an old towel to blot up the soap as much as possible and lift the stain. 
  4. Rinse and repeat if necessary. 
Do NOT rub the fabric. This will most likely work the stain deeper into the fabric and make it even harder to remove.


WASHING FLEECE BLANKETS

Higher quality fleece will retain softness more so than low quality fleece. However there's a lot we can do as we care for our fleece blankets that will maximize the softness.

Important things to remember when washing fleece:


Most fleece is made of polyester, which is a type of plastic. Therefore it can be damaged by high heat. 

The fibers can also become smashed or matted if washed in a full load, where other items are pressing against it the whole time.

If too much soap is used it can get caught in the fibers and not rinsed completely resulting in less softness.

Fabric softeners can break down the water repellent finish that is applied to many fleece products. Avoid liquid softeners and dryer sheets.


Tips for washing fleece in a nutshell:

  • Wash separately
  • Wash with cool/cold water on the gentle cycle
  • Use a small amount of soap
  • Avoid fabric softeners

image of fleece blankets with the overlaying text: how to wash fleece blanket to keep them soft

HOW TO DRY A FLEECE BLANKET


  • Air dry (on a clothesline or indoors)
  • Machine dry (gentle cycle) using either air fluff or low heat options

Air dry

Again, heat is the enemy of fleece. The absolute best way to dry a fleece blanket it to let it air dry. Hang it on a clothes line. 

BUT a lot of us don't have clothes lines (hello, my dog would rip all our clothes to shreds if we hung them in the back yard!) Plus, we generally use blankets in the winter when the weather is unpredictable. 

Indoor air drying options include: hanging over the stair railing, over an open door, or the shower curtain rod. You could also line up several kitchen chairs and hang the blanket over the backs of the chairs. 

Machine dry

If you would rather use the dryer to dry your blanket, there are a few settings you should consider.

Use the gentle cycle if you have that option. 

Most dryers have an air only setting. This basically allows air to flow through as it turns. There is no heat involved, which is great for the fleece, but takes a lot longer to dry. 

Use the low heat setting. This is obviously the fastest option and is what I do. I mean, who has time to let something air dry when your baby spilled on her blanket right before bed and needs it to sleep.



SHOULD I IRON MY FLEECE BLANKET? 

No!

First of all, does fleece even wrinkle? 

Second, remember how fleece can be damaged by heat? Using a hot iron on fleece will most definitely cause harm to the blanket.


So, to recap:

CARE INSTRUCTIONS FOR FLEECE

  • Pre-treat if needed with laundry detergent or dish soap. 
  • Wash separately with cold water on the gentle cycle.
  • Tumble dry low, or line dry
  • Do NOT Iron

MORE HOUSEHOLD CLEANING IDEAS


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