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Care and Laundering of Handmade Quilts

Care and Laundering of Handmade Quilts

  • Your new handmade quilt can be cleaned differently than older quilts. Many new quilts can be gently hand - or machine-washed or even dry cleaned. If you purchased your handmade quilt from a store, it should come with care instructions. Read these instructions before cleaning. If you purchased your quilt at a craft fair or yard sale it may not come with care instructions. In that case, use your best judgment and consider the colorfastness test and washing instructions below. Antique quilts should be cleaned by someone with experience in dealing with older textiles. In some cases, only light vacuuming would be used to clean the antique quilt.

  • Machine washing Your Quilt
    Please use caution if you decide to launder your quilt in a washing machine cycle. The agitation of the machine can cause older, more fragile quilts to fall apart. New quilts with light stitching can unravel. Use a mild soap that is dye and fragrance free. Fill the washing machine with cold or lukewarm water, as determined by a colorfast test. Adding a cup of vinegar if desired, can often brighten and add stability to the colors.. Pick the shortest, gentlest cycle your machine has. Hand washing will provide the best and long lasting results.

  • Hand Washing Your Quilt
    If your handmade quilt is colorfast, you should wash it by hand in a mild detergent. Pick a detergent that is free of dyes and fragrances and use cold or lukewarm water. Fill a large tub, your bathtub, or your washing machine with the correct temperature water. Adding one-half of a cup of vinegar to the water can brighten the colors. Gently work the quilt around in the water making sure the entire quilt gets wet and soapy. Drain the water and fill with fresh water rinsing thoroughly until water is clear.

  • Drying your quilt
    After you've washed your quilt, whether by hand or machine, it needs to dry properly. All handmade quilts should be dried laying flat. Pulling directly on a wet quilt can break seams and cause damage. If you've hand washed the quilt in a separate tub, gently lift the wet quilt from the tub of water. Allow excess water to drain. Place the quilt on towels, spread it out, cover it with more towels, and gently press water out of the quilt. If possible, place it on a large drying rack in an area with good ventilation. You can also dry your quilt outside on the ground, but first, put down some towels or a sheet to keep the quilt from touching the ground. Cover the quilt with a light sheet that will prevent sun damage, but allow the quilt to breathe.

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