If you are an avid picnicker like me, you are definitely going to have to know how to wash your picnic rug at some stage.
After numerous picnics at the beach with friends and setting up my rugs most weekends on dewy grass at kids sports, it’s never too long before they get a little dirty and I need to give them a clean.
Washing your picnic blanket is not a one size fits all scenario though, and depending on what type of picnic rug you have and how it is constructed, will depend on how you clean and care for it.
Some picnic rugs can be machine washed, which are the ones I like as machine washing picnic rugs seems to produce a better result and without all the manual work of spot cleaning.
But again, depending on the brand of picnic rug you have will depend on how you have to clean and care for it.
To work this out the best place to start is to read the label, which hopefully has the care instructions on it.
Care labels on picnic rugs will usually have instructions like, machine wash on cold only, dry clean only, hand wash only, etc.
In this article I provide general information on what are the different types of fabrics used in picnic rugs in Australia and how best to clean and care for each type.
I also recommend that you put your picnic blanket on its own in the washing machine, don’t try and add it to your clothes load, even if it will fit in, for obvious reasons. And don't use heavy detergents or stain removers and only cold water, especially for picnic rugs with waterproof coatings as the hot water will jeopardise its effectiveness.
If you have a wool picnic blanket, you will definitely need to read the care label and be mindful that these rugs scratch out of shape easily if not washed and dried correctly.
If you are able to machine wash, you will need a mild detergent or wool wash and a drying rack versus your normal clothes line.
Set your washing machine to a gentle cycle and make sure you select cold water wash, with no spin cycle.
When the machine is finished hang it over a drying rack to air dry being mindful to keep the rug evenly hung and square so the weight won't pull it out of shape. Never use the dryer if you want to keep the size of your wool picnic rug, dryers and wool tends to cause shrinkage.
Microfiber and Fleece picnic rugs are not exactly the same but the cleaning and care methods are usually pretty similar. For the cleaning of these picnic rugs you will need laundry detergent, fabric softener and a clothesline or somewhere to hang the rugs.
Set your washing machine to a gentle cycle and use as much detergent as you think you need for the size picnic rug you have. Ensure it is set to a cold water cycle and that fabric softener is added for the rinse cycle. Once the full cycle has finished, hang it somewhere to be air dried, using a dryer will normally see the material clump together and like wool, shrinkage can be an issue in the dryer.
The last type and the most popular picnic rug in Australia today is the waterproof backing picnic rug. A picnic in Australia can often involve wet sand or dewy grass so having a picnic rug or picnic blanket with a waterproof backing is of real benefit.
Some waterproof picnic rugs also have a coating that makes them sand proof also, these are great as they not only repel sand, but other pesky things like grass seeds and ground litter just fall off the rug easily also, so all you take home is the rug.
For the most part, these styles of rugs are not machine washable, but some, like Saltwater Picnic Co. most definitely are and here is how you do it.
Select gentle cycle and cold wash using a gentle detergent, be careful of a too long spin cycle. Line dry to finish.
Last tip regarding the care of any type of picnic rug is to make sure that they are fully dried when packing them for storage, otherwise mould is sure to become a problem.
I hope this helps you with the cleaning and care of your picnic rug.
You may also find some of my other articles of interest, all the links are below.
Could Sandwiches Be the Best Picnic Food Ever?
Public Holidays perfect for Picnicking
How Picnic Adventures keep your Kids off Screens