There is nothing more relaxing than settling down under a fluffy blanket at the end of the day. However, no matter how well you care for your blankets and pillows, eventually, they will begin to lose their softness over time. If you are unsure how to go about keeping your blankets soft or if you never knew softness could be restored, we have some easy-to-follow tips and tricks that will help. Check out more on softening your blankets below.
Quick and easy methods that are effective in softening blankets are:
- Using a softening detergent.
- Adding bicarbonate of soda and vinegar to your regular wash.
- Add tennis balls into the dryer with your blankets.
- Use lower heat settings during the dry cycle.
- Soaking your blanket before washing it.
Depending on what fabric your blanket is made out of and what size washing machine you will be using, some tips may work better than others. We go into further detail on why blankets lose their softness and how to restore them to their plush state in the article below.
Why Do Blankets Lose Their Softness?
No bed is complete without a fluffy blanket to top it off, but if you plan to keep your bed covers clean, you have to wash them on a regular basis. You may notice that blankets tend to lose their softness over time, or even after a few washes.
The main cause of a blanket losing its softness is the use of improper detergents or fabric softeners.
Many people fail to read the labels on their fabrics before they clean them which results in stiff blankets or even ruined fabrics. For example, cotton blankets can be washed with a fabric softener but polyester blankets can’t.
Harsh detergents can also damage the blanket fibers causing them to become harder with every wash.
The next most common cause of softness loss is the dryer temperature setting. It would seem like a high heat setting would be the best choice for a big heavy blanket, but in actuality, low or medium heat is going to be the best option for all types of blankets. Some materials will melt in higher heat settings which gives blankets that stiff, pokey feeling.
A longer cycle on lower heat will protect the fabric and help guard against softness loss.
How Do You Soften a Blanket?
Using fabric softener will help soften fabric when used occasionally, however, repeated use can actually damage your blankets instead. We have a few suggestions on softening blankets that will help.
Using white vinegar to soften your blankets is both cost-effective and better for your blanket’s longevity.
all Free Clear 2X Laundry Detergent
Heinz Household Cleaning Vinegar
Shake out your blanket to get rid of crumbs and debris and then check for spots or stains. If you find stains or mold, spot treat those areas before moving forward with washing your blanket.
Depending on the type of fabric, you will need to set your washing machine to either cold wash or warm wash. Always use the gentle cycle regardless of what type of fabric your blanket happens to be.
In the detergent chamber, mix in the usual amount of laundry soap and also add in about a half cup of white vinegar.
Vinegar does have a strong scent, but depending on the type of laundry detergent you use, it may not be noticeable. Vinegar helps to make fibers lose and also gets rid of stains and stiffness without damaging the blanket fibers.
Once the wash cycle is complete, check the blanket and if you can still smell vinegar, set the washing machine to run another rinse cycle to eliminate the remaining smell. Following the completion of your wash cycle, hang your blanket out to dry out on the clothes line (if at all possible). You can also put your blanket in the dryer on low heat with a couple of fabric balls to help restore it to its fluffy state.
How To Wash Blankets (For Various Materials)?
In order to help you maintain the softness of your blankets, we have put together a list of how to wash many of the most common blanket types according to their material. We have also included dryer settings which can also have a dramatic effect on the softness of a blanket.
Fleece Blankets Laundry Tips
Washing and drying fleece blankets are simple and don’t require any extra steps.
If there are any stains on your blanket, spot treat those areas first with a small solution of dish soap.
Massage the soap into the stains and allow it to soak for at least 10 minutes prior to putting it in the washing machine.
For the best results, use a cold wash setting paired with the gentle cycle. This will help keep the fibers from getting crushed, and it will also help your blanket to maintain its fluffiness.
Avoid bleaching agents because it will weaken the threads and cause the blanket to become brittle.
Downy Free & Gentle Liquid Fabric Conditioner
You can mix in a small amount of Downy fabric conditioner or baking soda to help soften the fabric during the wash cycle.
Dry your fleece blanket on the lowest heat or even no heat if possible. This will keep your blanket as soft as a feather and as fluffy as the day you bought it.
For best results, consider washing your fleece blankets by hand in lukewarm water with a mild detergent. This will protect the fibers from being crushed and also extend the longevity of your blanket.
Cotton Blankets Laundry Tips
Washing and drying cotton blankets is a breeze, in fact, it is easier to restore the softness of cotton blankets over any other type.
Always check the labels prior to washing to make sure there are no special instructions listed. For areas that have spots or stains, pre-treat those areas with a product like Puracy, or a solution of white vinegar and baking soda.
Use medium or low heat when starting your gentle wash cycle to prevent compression of the fibers.
You can also use a commercial fabric softener, but if you prefer something more gentle, you can use a home mixture instead. The water and white vinegar mixture are highly effective in restoring blanket softness without having a negative side effect on the fibers.
Botanical Origin Plant-Based Fabric Softener Free from Parabens and Dyes in Fresh Jasmine & Wild Lavender
To dry, you can hang your blanket in the sun to air dry and fluff up, or you can set it to tumble dry on low heat. Add an agitator such as dryer balls or a couple of tennis balls to help circulate the warm air in the dryer.
Wool Dryer Balls by Smart Sheep
Synthetic Blankets Laundry Tips
Washing and drying synthetic blankets need a bit of extra attention.
- Make sure that you use warm water, never hot water. 120 degrees Fahrenheit is the highest temperature that should be used for any type of synthetic fabric such as polyester.
- You should also avoid bleach and commercial fabric softeners as this will cause the fabric to stiffen instead of softening. Instead, use a mild detergent with a bit of white vinegar and baking soda mixed into the wash.
- Always wash synthetics on their own instead of bundling them with other fabrics.
- Dry on a low heat setting and for extra fluffiness, consider tossing 2 or 3 tennis balls into the drum during the dry cycle.
Faux Fur Blankets Laundry Tips
Washing and drying faux fur blankets is not as difficult as you may think, but it does take a little bit of preparation if you want to maintain their fluffy feel. Taking care of faux fur is similar to washing fleece.
- With faux fur, you should always avoid using bleach, chemicals, or harsh solvents.
- Spot treat the fabric with a mixture made up of diluted dish soap and baking soda if there are any visible stains.
- If your blanket is extra hard, you can presoak it in lukewarm water and a mild detergent to loosen up the fibers and dislodge any debris.
- Toss your blanket in the gentle cycle with warm water and then take it out and allow it to air dry for the best results.
- If you don’t have the space or the time for air drying, you can also use the cool cycle in the dryer.
Never use high heat on faux fur as it may degrade the fiber quality and leave behind a rough blanket that is uncomfortable to use.