When properly taken care of, wool blankets can last a lifetime. And not only that, but wool blankets are also resistant against stains and moisture, a great source of warmth, and an easy way to add style to a space.
However, despite your best efforts to keep your wool blanket out of harm's way, accidents happen. Whether it's a spilled drink, a pet's accident, or simply the everyday wear and tear we give our linens, eventually a wool blanket needs to be washed. But, what to do then? After all, despite how durable wool blankets are in everyday life, they're far less so when it comes to getting clean.
Don't worry: we're here to guide you along as you wash your wool blanket.
How Often Should You Clean Your Wool Blankets?
Not only are wool blankets warm, they're also stain-resistant and quite durable. This means that wool blankets are not a linen you'll wash weekly or even monthly. In fact, Woolmark, a wool research nonprofit, recommends washing wool blankets only once every 3 months.
Washing wool blankets too often can damage them and shorten their lifespans, so it's best to err on the conservative side when it comes to washing frequency.
Things You'll Need
- Soft-bristled brush
- De-pilling comb
- Sewing repair kit (optional)
- Vinegar and water
- Wool-safe gentle soap
- Washing machine
- Drying rack or clothesline
How to Clean Wool Blankets
Step One: Shake It Off
Before you get too far into cleaning your wool blanket, start by taking it outside to shake it out and let it air outdoors. Once this is done, you may find that your blanket feels fresher and has been removed of most of its dirt, and it may no longer need a wash.
Step Two: Brush and Comb
Does your wool blanket still need some TLC? Let's keep going. Next, use your soft-bristled brush to remove stubborn dirt. Keep all of your brush strokes in the same direction.
If your blanket has some pills, use a de-pilling comb to tidy it up.
Step Three: Mend Any Holes
Washing a wool blanket with holes will only make the holes worse, so it's important to mend or patch any holes before continuing. Use a sewing repair kit to sew any tears back together, and consider a patch for larger holes.
Step Four: Don't Forget Stain Removal
If your wool blanket has any major stains, now is the time to get rid of them. To do this, you'll need a vinegar and water solution of one part vinegar to two parts water. Soak the stain with the solution, then blot dry with a cloth.
Step Five: Time To Wash
PSA: Before you go any further, check your blanket's care label. If it says dry-clean only, it's best to let the pros handle this next step. If the label doesn't mention that (or a label is nowhere to be found), keep reading.
This next part is the trickiest step to washing your wool blanket. To start, you'll need to place the blanket in your washing machine, along with your wool-safe gentle detergent. Next, set the machine to soak for 15 minutes using cold water. Do not use any warm or hot water on your wool blanket, as it will cause it to shrink and warp.
Once the blanket is done soaking, set the washing machine to the delicate cycle (still using cold water) and let it run. Most delicate cycles don't include a spin cycle but double-check that it's disabled, as a rough spin cycle can seriously harm your blanket.
Step Six: Dry It Out
Once your blanket has been soaked, washed, and rinsed, lay it flat upon a bed of towels. Roll the blanket and towels up to remove excess water, and make sure not to stretch, twist, or wring the blanket out in any way.
After the excess water has been removed, it's time to let your wool blanket dry. A dryer will damage a wool blanket, so you'll need to air-dry it. This can be done outside, out of direct sunlight on a clothesline. Once the blanket is dry, it's time to snuggle up and enjoy your freshly cleaned wool blanket.
You can dry your wool blankets inside, too. Use a drying rack or rust-proof shower rod.
Tips to Keep Your Wool Blanket Clean Longer
As you've probably guessed, washing your wool blanket is no easy feat. So, the longer you can keep your wool blanket clean, the better! Here are a few tips to keep it feeling fresh all year long:
- Brush and Air It Out. If your blanket is starting to feel (or smell) a bit stale, you don't always need to go through all the trouble of washing it. Instead, use a soft-bristled brush to remove dirt, then let it air outside (out of direct sunlight) for a few hours to remove any smells.
- Store It Well. When your wool blanket isn't in use for long periods of time, it's important to store it carefully. Keep wool blankets inside a plastic bin in a dry, dark location, like a closet, to protect it from sunshine and moisture.