Proper care of quilts is an important part of a quilt's history. Some quilts are created as heirlooms, some just for fun. Either way, a few simple steps can lengthen the life and beauty of your creations
If a quilt is more than 50 years old, it is considered an antique and should be handled with great care.
Only the airing, vacuuming and storage instructions are recommended for antique quilts.
It is not recommended laundering an antique!
Washing a quilt should be a last resort. Often a quilt just needs a good airing and or maybe some quick spot cleaning rather than a full body wash. Read the following information completely before washing a quilt. There may be a gentler way to clean the quilt.
Often a quilt may just need a good airing with maybe a little spot cleaning here and there.
If you have a spare bed, lay the quilt out on the bed to air out.
No direct sunlight should be on a quilt when airing it outside.
Place a 100% cotton sheet on the ground. Place the quilt on the sheet and allow to air out.
Move the sheet and quilt as necessary to keep direct sunlight from hitting the quilt.
A clothesline can be used if the quilt is small and it is not a bright sunny day.
Vacuuming is the most non-invasive form of cleaning the quilt. Lay the quilt on a cotton sheet.
Place the quilt on top of the sheet. Place a piece of nylon/fiberglass screening,
the edges covered with twill tape, on top of the quilt.
Using a hand attachment and lowest suction setting vacuum the quilt.
If you do not have access to screening, place an old piece of pantyhose over the
vacuum attachment and vacuum the quilt.
If you did not make the quilt and are uncertain as to the quality of the fabrics,
it is recommended you test each fabric for colorfastness before wet cleaning.
Dip a cotton swab in water and rub on an inconspicuous area (if possible) of the quilt.
If any of the dye comes off onto the swab do not wet clean. If the fabric passes the water test move on to testing for cleaning solvent stability. Dip a swab in the solvent you will be using to spot clean.
Test a dry section of the fabric. Again, if the dye comes off onto the swab do not wet clean.
If the fabrics pass the test. Spot clean away!
Test the fabric for color fastness before washing. Never use a top loading washer.
The agitation produced can pull at the fibers in the quilt and damage it.
Front loading machines do not agitate so they are best for this purpose.
Be sure the machine you will be using can handle the quilt when wet.
If not, you may need to go to a laundromat. Be sure to run a cycle through the
machine in case the person before you used bleach or harsh detergent.
Dry using the outdoor airing technique as described in the section on airing.
If placing small quilts on a clothesline,
be sure to cover the line with a cotton sheet first.
Store in dark areas with good air circulation.
Never store quilts in damp places. If storing on shelves make sure they are
painted/finished to avoid damage from the wood.
Good circulation is necessary. Cloth bags made from 100% cotton work best.
This will also protect the quilt from any bare wood including cedar in chests.
Place acid-free tissue paper between quilt layers.
Scrunch tissue paper and place at the folds to avoid pancake creases.
Refold stored quilts approximately every 6 months
so any stress on fibers is relieved and redistributed.
Created by Debbie Beaves for Connecting Threads