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Thread: How to clean this old quilt

  1. #11
    Senior Member sandilee's Avatar
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    Thanks for these posts. I have 2 wool quilts in cedar chest made by DH's grandmother @1940's (if not earlier). My first thought was the cleaners. The tub sounds good for me.

  2. #12
    Super Member Prism99's Avatar
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    Be careful of storing any kind of fabric in cedar chests. Cedar, like other woods, contains acid that slowly eats away at fabric. You really want to either line the chest with fabric or encase a quilt in a pillowcase or similar barrier that will keep it out of direct contact with the wood. Many antique quilts have been ruined from long-term storage in cedar chests.

  3. #13
    Senior Member sandilee's Avatar
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    Thanks Prism....didn't even realize that but it makes sense. I guess wrapping them in sheets would be fine.

  4. #14
    Super Member burchquilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deborahlees View Post
    I would go about this very carefully......it is old....it is wool.....my first thought would be dry clean only....however....
    not all dry cleaners are created equal.....some are good, some are not.......that said I know there is a quilt soap (have forgotten the name) that I would consider.....cold water and a bath tub....remember the quilt is going to get very heavy when wet and smell... you are going to have to be carefull not to stretch or pull, but treat very gently.....have a plan on how to get wet quilt to a drying area.....and how to layout....my first thought is perhaps a garage....out of the sun.....perhaps some lumber horses and 2 x 4's to support the quilt to reduce sags and weight.....
    will be watching this thread to see what other ideas are floated out there.....
    Is the soap you were thinking of Orvis (I think that's how it's spelled)? It great! But I would really be careful with this wool quilt... you don't want to end up with a teeny tiny felt quilt!
    (`v)
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    (.(. (..`..♥ rebecca

  5. #15
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    I soak my quilt that is handquilted in the bathtub in cold water and gentle soap. After several hours I gently agitate with my hands and drain. Then rinse two times and drain again, and place it in a plastic laundry basket and squeeze as much water as I can. I let it drain in the basket and squeeze again and again then I take it out to dry away from the sun and birds. I think that you may also do this and follow the other recommendations on how to dry it. Good luck.

  6. #16
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    Grandpa's old wool pants and shirts for working in the woods shouldn't shrink if you can keep the temps the same. (My Grandpa wore his Buffalo Check shirts and we always washed them on wash day!) I would say if you use a washing machine to do so with water that is room temp and rinse in room temp. If you chance putting in a dryer, keep it on the lowest delicate temp just long enough to get any wrinkles relaxed (my experience is 5 minutes at most)then air fluff then line dry. Another option is the bath tub --- use woolite or any other soap for woolens. Keep rinsing until water is clear. Gently squeeze out in a blotting motion. Maybe roll to get as much water out as you can. Then lay out on clean sheets outside and turn frequently so the entire quilt can dry. As it approaches damp rather than wet you could hang it on a line over a sheet. Just what I have done in the past and experienced with Grandpa's shirts.
    Quote Originally Posted by DeniseP View Post
    My grandmother made a quilt from my grandfather's old wool pants and shirts that he wore to work in the woods. She used the parts that weren't worn out and made the heaviest, warmest patchwork quilt with them. She has been gone for 37 years and that quilt has never been cleaned. Do I take it to a dry cleaner? I'm afraid to wash it not because I think it will fall apart, but because I'm afraid I will shrink and ruin it. She had just recovered the back of it with a thick cotton blanket before she died. Any help would be appreciated!

  7. #17
    Super Member Daylesewblessed's Avatar
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    I have washed several old quilts in the bathtub successfully. All that I can add is that you don't need your regular workout that day -- you will get it with the quilt. Before you start, find a good knee pad and make sure that nobody in your family needs that bathtub for several hours, sometimes days.

    Good luck!

    Dayle

  8. #18
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    My grandmother was a spinner, weaver, knitter, crocheter etc. Her house was full of woollen items.

    I wash large woollen items in the bath tub as others have mentioned. I usually use a mild shampoo (wool is hair). I use warm water and add the shampoo to it before the woollen item. To help get the water through, I use a clean toilet plunger gently.

    I drain and rinse several times (until the water is clear), leaving the item in the tub the whole time.

    I do not line the tub with a sheet as it just traps the dirt and I want it to drain away. After the final rinse I let it drain for quite a while, pressing it until no more water came out. Now I roll it out of the tub onto a sheet and carry it outside. I have several old sliding door screens that I put on saw horses for drying.

    I do not worry about drying in sunlight. The sheep lived outside before they were shorn.

    I have washed rugs, curtains (yes my grandmother made them out of wool), very old crochet afghans and more this way.

  9. #19
    Super Member Neesie's Avatar
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    Just thinking outside the box, here. Would it be possible to construct a frame (outside), to support a large expanse of screening? The quilt could be placed onto the screening, then washed and rinsed, with a hose. Sponge soapy water onto it, then rinse. The water would go through the quilt and drain away. When clean, the quilt could be covered with a clean sheet and left to dry.
    Neesie


    By all means let's be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out.
    ~Richard Dawkins

  10. #20
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    Before I did any washing I would lay the quilt out. Get some plastic screen and put over sections of it and vaccum thru the screen. Most instructios for washing quiilts suggest this to get all the dirt possible out of it.
    You can make your own washing station by taking 2x4 and making a framework and then cover it with sheet plastic. Then add water and detergent if needed. This allows you to wash it fully flat.

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