I’ve been overly cautious with our Sunbeam Queen-sized, dual control electric blanket…mostly because I was unable to reach Sunbeam to ask the following:
a) Do you wash your electric blanket? I am surprised the instructions sewn onto the underside of the blanket say it’s ok. Yet, it seems the agitator of a washing machine* would damage the wiring running through the blanket, and one cannot visually inspect the condition of this wire. Hence, a small breech of insulation and zap! Your thoughts? Just how rugged can that internal wiring be?
b) Do you place blankets or comforter ON TOP of your electric blanket? Maybe I am too cautious, but I just think the electric blanket can overheat if placed under another blanket. Heating elements need to dissipate the heat, and placing a blanket on top will greatly hinder this…unless Sunbeam accounted for this? Does an electric blanket have a thermostat, I presume, and cycle on/off? Maybe a stupid question, but it is necessary to fully understand its operation.
Thanks in advance to all for your thoughts.
*Bonus question: Instructions say "Pre-soak for 15 minutes in mild soap and lukewarm water. Hand wash in mild, soapy water. Squeeze soap suds through a few times. Rinse in fresh water. Machine wash in mild soap and lukewarm water on slow cycle for 2 minutes. Rinse in fresh lukewarm water. Spin dry. Stretch to original size. DO not put through a wringer.
Do you think the pre-soak and hand washing prior to 2 minutes in a washing machine is to loosen stains? If no stains, I wager one should pre-soak (to allow the water to permeate) and skip the hand wash / soap sud squeeze? FYI: This blanket is in excellent condition as this blanket has been treated with kid gloves.
If there are no stains, why bother washing it? Blankets get dusty, but you can gently shake it out outside to get rid of dust, hair, dead skin and the like. Electric blanket safety. I don’t see anything that says you can’t put normal blankets on top of an electric.
My family always put the electric blanket on top. As Chefguy points out its less likely to overheat. We always have the sheet and bedspread against our skin. The bedspread protects our skin from the electric blanket.
We use the older electric blankets from the 1970’s. They will get hot on a high setting. I’ve read the ones sold today are different.
I think the OP is definitely being overly cautious. Did you expect if you called Sunbeam they would say, “Whatever you do, don’t follow the instructions we put on our product! We put them there so people will either destroy the product or kill themselves. That’s just how we roll.”
You can follow the instructions. They’ve been making electric blankets for well over 50 years, and know how to make them so they can stand up to ordinary washing. Really. And if you somehow handle it so roughly you break an internal conductor, it just won’t warm up any more. It won’t burst into flames. (The fabric is flame retardant, anyway.)
I used electric blankets for at least 30 years, and although I didn’t wash them as frequently as sheets, I rarely had a problem arise from washing. The failure mode of almost every electric blanket I ever owned, perhaps a dozen, was where the power cord plugged into the blanket. The cord itself would crack and fray at the plug. The last blankets I owned had better strain relief and didn’t have this problem.
As for other blankets on top, yes, absolutely. If you put the electric blanket on top, you’re insulating yourself from it and heating up the room. Very inefficient. Put it underneath the blankets, and you will use less electricity. You don’t need to worry about it overheating. That’s why it has a thermostat.
Now that I live in Las Vegas, where the coldest winter nights get down to about 40 F, I don’t need an electric blanket anymore. In winter we use an electric mattress pad just to warm the bed before we get in.