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Electric Blanket and Heating Pad Safety

Whether you use an electric blanket to snuggle up on a cold winter night or need a heating pad to soothe an ailment, both personal heating appliances have the potential to cause fires if not used properly.

According to the Electrical Safety Foundation, electric blankets and heating pads cause an average of 500 fires every year. Almost all of those fires involve personal heating appliances over ten years old.

Experts say electric blankets and heating pads are not meant to be used interchangeably or simultaneously. They should also never be left unattended or used while sleeping. It’s also recommended to place the blanket or heating pad on top of you and not under you. By doing this, you prevent damage to the device’s internal wires.

To avoid the risk of electric shock or a fire, the Electrical Safety Foundation recommends the following:

  • Only use electric blankets and heating pads that have been tested by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL), which should be included on the label
  • Look for dark, charred or frayed spots or one where the electric cord is cracked or frayed. If there are any signs of these, the blanket or heating pad should be replaced
  • Only use heating appliances that have automatic shut-offs, as they will prevent overheating and possible fires
  • Do not fold blankets or tuck them as the heating appliances can overheat and the wires inside can bend

Proper cleaning methods
Some electric blankets and heating pads can be put in the washing machine – but be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions that came with them. First and foremost, unplug the appliance from the outlet and detach it from its heating controller. Wash it with cold water on the gentle or delicate cycle and let it spin dry. To ensure that the wires inside aren’t ruined by heat, hang the blanket over a clothesline or drying rack to air dry. Heating pads can be placed on a flat surface to dry. It’s recommended not to use clothespins to hang up either appliance as they could damage the wires inside. Dry cleaning and using bleach is also not recommended.

Storing electric blankets and heating pads
Once your electric blanket or heating pad is cleaned, and you’re ready to put it away, ensure it is properly stored to avoid any damage for future use. According to the Electric Blanket Institute, the best way to keep an electric blanket is to:

  • Unplug the cords and controls
  • Fold the blanket loosely
  • Place the blanket in a storage bag or plastic bag
  • Put the blanket on a shelf and keep it in a dry place
  • Do not place anything heavy on the blanket, as it could damage the wires

Before using any heating appliance, ensuring your electric blanket or heating pad hasn’t been recalled is a good idea. You can do so by checking the Consumer Product Safety Commission website.

We hope these tips will help protect you from preventable fires and  malfunctions associated with heating appliances. To ensure you get the right home and auto insurance coverage, contact your local independent insurance agent! If you’re not yet insured with MAPFRE and live in Massachusetts, you can always get a fast, free quote online today to see how much you could save!

Please Note:This content is not intended to describe any specific coverage offered by MAPFRE Insurance. No coverage is provided, bound or guaranteed by this article. Available coverages, credits and discounts vary from state to state and are subject to eligibility criteria and policy terms/conditions, which will control in the event of conflict between this article and your insurance policy. For information about your policy, please review your individual policy contract and speak with your insurance representative.

MAPFRE Insurance® is a brand and service mark of MAPFRE U.S.A. Corp. and its affiliates, American Commerce Insurance CompanySM (Cal. COA 4928-8); Citation Insurance CompanySM; The Commerce Insurance CompanySM; Commerce West Insurance CompanySM (Cal. COA 1372-2); and MAPFRE Insurance CompanySM (Cal. COA 3039-5). Not all products available in all states.


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