Before using certain types of new blankets, it's advisable to wash them, but if you do so incorrectly, you can worsen a shedding or lint problem. New blankets typically start out soft and fluffy, and with proper care and anti-shedding methods, you can keep them that way.
Wash and Rewash
For hygiene reasons, you should wash your bed's washable blankets, such as fleece, acrylic or cotton ones, about four times a year, suggests the American Cleaning Institute; however, a new blanket may require additional washes until it stops shedding. Proper washing and drying processes rid loose fibers, but improper laundering can make shedding worse. Follow the manufacturer's instructions on the laundering or care tag. The tag may instruct to wash the blanket separately; use cold or lukewarm water and gentle, chlorine-free detergent; and dry it on a warm or low tumble-dry setting or air dry.
Skip the Softener and Iron
If you started out using liquid or sheet-style fabric softener on your washable blanket, stop. Fabric softeners tend to break down soft items such as microfleece or micro-suede blankets, causing them to shed, pill and eventually lose their softness and water-repellent quality. Rid the blanket of softener buildup and eliminate static by adding 1/2 cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle. A hot iron can scorch delicate soft fleece, microfibers or wool, making them brittle and more likely to shed or slough dry, damaged fibers. Only iron a blanket if the laundering tag recommends it.
Shake It Out
Like the animals from which they come, new natural-fiber blankets such as wool or fur shed. Many manufacturers of such luxurious products warn against machine washing, which can damage the item or increase shedding. Take the blanket outdoors and shake it well to rid loose bits. Dry clean a wool or fur blanket annually or as needed. Having it dry cleaned right after purchasing it could eliminate the need to shake it out before and after the first several uses. Brush lint from wool using a link brush or nylon-bristled clothes brush.
A vacuum cleaner comes in handy for removing loose fibers or natural hairs from practically any blanket except fragile antiques or vintage textiles in poor condition. Use a clean, soft or smooth vacuum attachment, but if your full-size vacuum cleaner has excessive suctioning power, use a lower-powered handheld model instead. Lightweight worsted wool and other natural or man-made blanket fabrics with tightly woven fibers are less likely to develop a lint or shedding problem.