We did not pay proper attention to the care instructions for my kid’s collection of fuzzy blankets.
And man, the guilt was REAL when my kid took each one out of the dryer for the first time.
All that faux fur, matted. That lovely soft texture, gone. Gifts from her grandparents, now basically ruined.
My family doesn’t buy a lot of new things, and presents are generally limited to major holidays. It was a big bummer, then, to mess up the kid’s nice Christmas gifts and turn them stiff, tangled, and ugly.
Fortunately, fuzzy blanket faux fur, even though it’s acrylic (yuck, I know), does behave in something like the same way as, say, dog fur. I have owned a fuzzy dog or two in my time, and I know my way around a dog brush. Dog brushes are cheap, easily obtainable, and the very best news about them is this:
Dog brushes brush the mats out of both dog fur AND fuzzy blankets!
The very worst news about them is this:
It takes freaking FOREVER to brush the mats out of both dog fur and fuzzy blankets, and it makes your arm super tired. It’s basically your penance for not taking proper care of your stuff.
So, you don’t have to live with the sadness of a fuzzy blanket that’s no longer fuzzy. You don’t have to toss your formerly fuzzy blanket and buy a new one to ruin. Instead, you can spend a zillion hours and lots of arm muscle restoring the fuzzy blanket that you already own.
Here’s the only thing that you need to restore the fuzz to your fuzzy blanket:
- slicker brush. Choose one that’s all wood and metal, and do yourself a favor and buy the largest size you can get your hands on. I own something like the smallest slicker brush ever made. While I’m not going to say that it’s the biggest mistake I’ve ever made in my life, it’s certainly not the littlest, either.
Before you begin this restoration, you need to get into the proper mindset. The proper mindset entails resigning yourself to your fate, and preparing yourself to build up the muscles in your dominant arm. Because I’m not going to lie to you: this process takes FOREVER. Using the tiniest slicker brush on the planet, I’m able to work on an approximately 10″x10″ patch of blanket, and I can only get through a couple of patches in one sitting before my arm is all, “STOP IT.”
The process, itself, is super simple. You are literally just… brushing your blanket. It takes a few tries before you’re able to get a rhythm going without getting the brush snagged in the fabric. It also takes a little while to master how long you need to brush each section before it’s achieved maximum fuzziness.
One thing that I did not expect when I started brushing out my kid’s first fuzzy blanket is how much lint and dust had gotten trapped in those mats. It’s pretty gross/satisfying to see all the nonsense that comes wafting off of the blanket as each mat releases.
Partly because of that and partly because it’s impossible to brush something without pulling out at least some fuzz, the process of restoring a fuzzy blanket results in a LOT of fuzz and lint and dust flying around. It really IS just like brushing a dog! Whenever possible, I do this out on my back deck, so that all the microplastics can more easily blow away and end up in the soil and water supply, I guess. At least they’re skipping the steps of hanging out on my rug and then in my vacuum cleaner canister and then in the landfill…
DON’T MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE A SECOND TIME
When your blanket is FINALLY soft and fuzzy, for the love of all that is pure and holy do NOT let it get matted again! Apparently, you actually have to read–and obey!–the care instructions that come with it. The care instructions will generally consist of the following
- Wash on delicate, and in cold water. I’ve seen a couple of tags that also say to wash the blanket alone.
- Do not use fabric softener.
- Hang to dry. In poor weather, I think you can get away with using the air-dry setting on your dryer, perhaps with a couple of dryer balls or this homemade dryer sheet replacement thrown in.
- Fluff, if necessary. A super light brushing, one that doesn’t take a zillion years or kill your arm, will fluff your blanket up quite well.
BUY A DIFFERENT BLANKET NEXT TIME
My kid and her fuzzy blanket obsession strongly disagree, but after spending all of my free time for a week brushing fuzzy blankets, I’m calling it: they’re not worth it. Conventional polyester fleece is unsustainably sourced, of course, but even recycled polyester fleece is going to have the same issues with shedding plastic microfibers into the environment and eventually ending up in the waste stream.
Fortunately, you don’t have to resort to plastics when you want a super soft blanket! If you’re avoiding animal products you do have fewer options for getting that fuzzy result, but if you’re okay with animal fibers, blankets made from cashmere or alpaca are gloriously soft and indulgent, and don’t need to be brushed with a dog brush to keep them that way.
If you do want to stick with cotton, try upping the thickness of your blanket, or adding some weight to it. Both strategies will give your blanket a cozy, warm feeling even without the fuzzies.