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Thread: How to Wash A New Quilt

  1. #1
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    Question How to Wash A New Quilt

    Hi everyone,

    I'm just finishing the binding on a king size quilt for my parents that I have been working off-and-on since August 2011. It has taken me hundreds of hours. I want to wash it to remove chalk/pencil lines and to give it a more antique look. It contains autumn colours so some tan and beige but also some chocolate browns and cranberries. I don't want it to run. How should I wash it before I give it to them? Dryer? Many thanks in advance for your comments. I want to deliver it to them Sunday January 27th so I have to wash it today if I am going to.

    Thanks again for your guidance,

    Elizabeth in Canada

  2. #2
    Super Member PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    For a quilt that size I would take it to a laundromat and use one of their large commercial machines. You want to wash it with Color Catchers (called something else in Canada, I'm sure someone will chime in with the correct name). The color catchers grab the die that's shed into the water, but they need a LOT of water to work. Probably more than a top loader + king quilt can provide and NEVER use them in a front loader.
    I use cold water and gentle cycle. I dry mine in a dryer till almost dry, then finish on a line, but in this weather, you can just lay it on a bed & turn it occasionally.

    Here's a link to a discussion with some Canadian sources:

    Color Catchers
    Last edited by PaperPrincess; 01-26-2013 at 07:05 AM.
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  3. #3
    Junior Member Bataplai's Avatar
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    I was my quilts in cold water on gentle cycle and then dry on low heat with normal detergent and fabric softener. So far I've never had an issue with color runs.

  4. #4
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    PP, I didn't know not to use Color Catchers in my front loader! I have many times, with the sheets in a little lingerie bag, and have had no problem so far. What should I be looking for as far as problem or dangers???

    Jan in VA
    Jan in VA
    Living in the foothills
    peacefully colors my world.

  5. #5
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    You do want to use a machine with lots of water so that any colour bleeds go into the water where it is picked up by the colour catchers. I think I woyld test my intense colour scraps first to see how they bleed. You put some scraps in hot water in the sink and then lay them on a white paper towel to dry. Is there any colour in the water? Is there any colour transfer on the dry paper towel? That will tell you how bad they will bleed. Maybe you will be lucky and they will be good.
    If the scraps bleed a lot you may want to look into synthrapol from your local quilt shop before washing. Synthrapol is added to the washer and it suspends loose dye in the water and prevents it from going on to other fabrics. Most important!!!If you wash and finds some bleed spots, do not dry it because that will set the bleeds.

  6. #6
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    I just toss my quilts into my top load washer with regular detergent/fabric softener. I do prewash all my fabrics, though. If you didn't prewash, I would highly recommend color catchers (or local equivalent). I have a pretty large-capacity washer so just do it at home. And I put all mine in the dryer till they are completely dry. Figure it's best to wash/dry as most recipients would to determine problems before gifting.

    As Tartan says though, if you do find bleeds - DON'T DRY until you get those spots removed. Reds are usually the worst bleeding culprits although I had a horrible problem with a green one time. Go figure.

  7. #7
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I wash my quilts in cold water, color catchers and fabric softener. I agitate it for a few minutes, soak a few minutes, agitate a few minutes, spin and rinse on normal. Dry on low heat and drape over glass topped dining table overnight.
    I figure anyone I give a quilt to will not take much pains washing it. Some people wash quilts like their sheets and just as often.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  8. #8
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    I have a large capacity top loader, so I wash even king-size quilts in it, gentle cycle, cold or warm water. Sometimes I use Orvus paste, sometimes regular detergent, no fabric softener. I do pre-wash my fabrics. I agree with testing the fabrics in your quilt for bleeding, and if there are problems use Synthrapol in the wash. I put the quilt in the dryer until it's almost dry (low heat) and then (if I remember to take it out in time) I spread it out on the floor to finish drying.

  9. #9
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    I agree with Jingle's observation that people will wash their quilts like their sheets and just as often (or almost). So that's how I wash mine. I use a top loader, cold water, regular detergent, then the dryer. But have only gone as big as queen sized. that one is hand quilted. So far I haven't had any issues. On a new one going to someone I use some color catchers. I am not a pre washer, except for flannel.

  10. #10
    Super Member sewmom's Avatar
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    I use color catchers all the time in my front loader. It says on the box to put in a mesh bag and place in washer first. Before your fabric/quilt/clothes. I use them when I prewash my fabrics. When I wash my king size quilt, i use cold water. In the dryer on low, with numerous stopping and adjusting to get the inside dry. It tends to just roll up in a big ball otherwise.
    A time to tear, And a time to sew;
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