I recently participated in our Guild’s quilt show and noticed some things about the quilts I entered. I borrowed two quilts from my Granddaughters. When these quilts were hanging next to other entries, mine looked good but a little dull. The reason for this, is the quilt care they’ve had.
It’s not my granddaughter’s fault but mine for not giving them instructions on the care of them. Here’s what I do with my quilts to make them look brand new. I have my first quilt that is 17 years old and it still looks brand new.
Let’s explore how to wash a quilt safely so that your quilts survive for future generations to enjoy. These steps are simple steps and will your quilts for a long time!
Most detergents are very different and are not a friend to your quilt. I have used a Quilt Soap I purchased from my local quilt shop. In the past I gave a bottle of it with every quilt I gave away.
Quilt Soap and is anywhere from $6.50 to about $10.00 These are available from a number of places online.
There are others on the market but I have not tested these.
This soap is highly concentrated. You only need one tablespoon per load. Any more soap is not effective and is a waste of money.
Google ‘quilt soap’ and you can find others.
I always take my quilts to the laundromat. They have the double and triple loaders. You quilt needs more room for the agitation. So if I was to wash one quilt it would be in a double washer. Next, find those machine and make sure they have a gentle cycle on the wash cycle as well as the spin cycle. Use cold water.
For other detergents, make sure they are pH neutral and free of bleaches, optical brighteners, fragrances and softeners. Use the recommended amount.
Quilts are heavy when they are wet. Try to bunch them up when taking out of the washer. If they are pulled out, the threads may break and the quilt can be stretched and distorted. Do not hang to dry. Lay flat to air dry on a clean sheet away from foot traffic. If you lay it outside to dry, cover with another clean sheet to prevent bird problems and shield your quilt from direct sunlight. Air drying is gentler than throwing the quilt in the dryer. If you are using a dryer, do it at the laundromat. They have the large dryers. I never use the hottest setting. Try a medium heat setting. Yes, you will use more quarters. If I have more than one quilt, I will use two dryers. Give them some room. The quilts rub against itself and others as it tumbles in the heat. It’s hard on both fabric and quilting stitches. Some have suggested if you are pressed for time, put your quilt into the dryer, but for just a few minutes to remove some of the dampness and then lay it flat to finish drying.Use portable fans to shorten the drying time.
How often should you wash your quilt? For me, I only wash mine about twice a year. Mine don’t get a lot of dirt or spots on mine. I do have a cat but if I put a fleece blanket down on the bottom of the bed, she stays on that. She loves the fleece feel. If you wash your quilts more often than this, it is important to use these instructions. They will last a lot longer than if you use your everyday laundry soap, washer and dryer.
If you have an antique quilt, consult with a professional before washing it yourself. The quilt fabrics are weakened by time, you don’t know if the fabrics are colorfast, or whether any chemicals have been applied. Consult the experts.
So take some time and care for your quilts. They can last a very long time and even be passed on to future generations.