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How to Wash Waterproof Picnic Blanket: A Complete Guide

How to Wash Waterproof Picnic Blanket: A Complete Guide

Waterproof picnic blankets are essential for outdoor enthusiasts and families alike, providing a clean, dry place to enjoy the outdoors without the dampness of the ground.

However, after several uses, these blankets can accumulate dirt, food stains, and more. Properly washing and maintaining your waterproof picnic blanket is crucial to extending its life and ensuring it remains ready for your next adventure.

Can You Wash a Waterproof Picnic Blanket?

Yes, washing a waterproof picnic blanket is not only possible but recommended to ensure it remains clean and hygienic for all your outdoor activities. However, because of their special waterproof coating, these blankets require specific care to maintain their functionality and appearance.

Considerations Before Washing

  1. Material: Waterproof picnic blankets typically feature a polyester or nylon face with a waterproof backing. The materials used, especially the waterproof layer, dictate the need for gentle cleaning methods to prevent damage.

  2. Waterproof Coating: The blanket’s ability to repel water is often due to a waterproof coating or membrane that can be vulnerable to high heat and harsh chemicals.

  3. Dirt and Stains: Regular use outdoors means these blankets often collect dirt, sand, grass, and food spills. While spot cleaning can handle minor stains, more extensive soiling may require full washing.

  4. Manufacturer’s Instructions: Always check the care label for specific washing guidelines. Some blankets may advise against machine washing, which could damage the waterproofing.

How to Wash Waterproof Picnic Blanket

To wash your waterproof picnic blanket safely and effectively, follow these detailed steps:

Materials Needed

Washing Instructions

  1. Pre-Washing:

    • Shake Off Loose Debris: Before anything else, vigorously shake your blanket outdoors to remove any loose dirt, sand, or leaves.
    • Spot Clean Stains: Use a mild detergent mixed with water and a soft brush or cloth to gently clean any visible stains. Apply the mixture directly to the stains and pat gently; avoid scrubbing to prevent damage to the waterproof layer.
  2. Machine Washing:

    • Settings: If the blanket is machine-washable, place it in the washing machine and set it to a gentle cycle using cold water. The gentle cycle is crucial to prevent excessive agitation, which could degrade the waterproof backing.
    • Detergent: Opt for a mild, bleach-free detergent. Harsh chemicals can strip away waterproof coatings, reducing the blanket’s effectiveness.
    • Solo Wash: Wash the blanket on its own to avoid friction with other items, which could wear down the waterproofing.
  3. Hand Washing:

    • Manual Option: If you prefer or if the manufacturer specifies, hand wash the blanket in a large basin or bathtub. Fill the tub with cold water and add a small amount of mild detergent, then gently submerge the blanket, swirling it around with your hands to distribute the soap.
  4. Rinsing:

    • Thorough Rinse: Whether machine or hand washing, ensure that all soap is thoroughly rinsed out to prevent residue build-up, which can hinder the fabric’s waterproof properties. In a machine, choose an extra rinse cycle if available.
  5. Drying:

    • Air Dry: Always air dry your waterproof picnic blanket. Hang it outside or lay it flat in a well-ventilated area out of direct sunlight, as UV rays can degrade the fabric over time.
    • No Heat: Do not use a tumble dryer, as the heat can melt or damage the waterproof backing. If necessary, use an air-only cycle in the dryer.

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How to Wash Picnic Blanket with Waterproof Backing

Picnic blankets with waterproof backing are fantastic for outdoor use, providing a moisture barrier that keeps you dry from damp grass or ground surfaces.

However, their specialized construction means they require specific care to maintain their functionality and longevity. Here’s how to thoroughly and safely wash a picnic blanket with waterproof backing:

Materials Needed

Washing Instructions

Preparation Steps

  1. Shake and Pre-treat:
    • Remove Debris: Before washing, shake the blanket vigorously to dislodge and remove loose dirt, leaves, and other debris.
    • Spot Cleaning: If there are any visible stains, especially from food or mud, pre-treat these areas. Use a mixture of mild detergent and cold water, applying it gently with a soft brush or sponge. Target the stains with gentle taps rather than scrubbing to avoid damaging the fabric and the waterproof layer.

Washing Process

  1. Machine Washing:

    • Check Care Labels: First, ensure that the blanket is machine washable. Some waterproof materials might be hand wash only due to their delicate nature.
    • Settings: Use the gentle cycle on your washing machine to prevent excessive agitation. Set the machine to wash with cold water as hot water can weaken or damage the waterproof backing.
    • Detergent: Use a gentle, non-biodegradable detergent. Harsh chemicals or bleach should be avoided as they can deteriorate the waterproofing agents and fabric.
  2. Hand Washing:

    • Water Fill: If machine washing is not recommended, or you prefer a gentler approach, fill a large basin or bathtub with cold water.
    • Submerging: Dilute a small amount of mild detergent in the water, then carefully submerge the blanket. Gently agitate the fabric by hand, allowing the soapy water to penetrate the fibers without harsh scrubbing.
    • Soaking: Let the blanket soak for about 15-30 minutes, which helps to loosen any embedded dirt.

Rinsing and Drying

  1. Rinsing:

    • Thorough Rinse: After washing, rinse the blanket thoroughly with cold water to remove all soap residues. Incomplete rinsing can leave a residue that may reduce the fabric’s breathability and waterproof properties.
  2. Drying:

    • Air Dry: The best way to dry a picnic blanket with a waterproof backing is to air dry it. Lay the blanket flat in a shaded area or hang it over a drying rack. Avoid direct sunlight as UV rays can degrade both the fabric and waterproof coating.
    • Avoid Heat: Do not use a tumble dryer unless the care label specifically allows it, and even then, use a low heat setting. High heat can melt the backing, making the blanket stiff or brittle.

Additional Care Tips

Our family’s waterproof picnic blanket has been a reliable accessory for our weekend getaways. Whether it’s a day at the park or an evening watching fireworks, it provides a dry spot for us to gather. We make sure to clean it after every outing, which has been essential in maintaining its pristine condition.

After a day enjoying the outdoors on your waterproof picnic blanket, coming home to a Puffy Lux Mattress can seamlessly extend your comfort. Sink into the cloud-like softness of the mattress to perfectly cap off a relaxing day, ensuring you rejuvenate with unmatched support and coziness.


Caring for your waterproof picnic blanket doesn’t have to be complicated. With these simple steps, you can ensure that your blanket remains clean, vibrant, and ready for your next outdoor adventure. Proper care extends its lifespan, making every picnic a bit more enjoyable.

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