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Thread: Old Quilts

  1. #1

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    Hope I put this in the right place. I inherited 2 of my Grandmothers quilts. They are made from flour sack material and have some pretty worn spots. They smell old and musty and I was wondering if any of you knew how to clean them or at least make them smell better.

  2. #2
    Super Member jayelee's Avatar
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    Not me but Welcome from New York

  3. #3

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    You can try swishing them gently in a bathtub of warm water and a gentle detergent. Rinse well and lay on top of a clean sheet on the grass to dry in the sun. Sometimes dry cleaning might be the best answer. Good luck.

  4. #4
    tooMuchFabric's Avatar
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    If you take cotton items to the "cleaners," such as bedsheets or quilts or shirts, they put them in a large clothes washer with soap and water.
    The advantage here is the size of the washer, more room for the item to tumble or agitate and get clean.

  5. #5

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    what pattern is your avatar?

  6. #6
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    You should repair the worn parts before doing anything. If they are relatively clean, you can put it in the dryer on warm air. I would not recommend sending to cleaners as sometimes chemicals used would set the stains more. The best thing is to do the washing in the bath tub as indicated above. Feed Sack fabric is almost indestructable and would wash well but gently.

  7. #7
    np3
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    I would be careful with the worn spots before trying to clean them. And I would never take them to the cleaners. Just me......

  8. #8
    Super Member mrspete's Avatar
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    I agree with Holice, repair them first, even if all you do is hand stitch a piece of cloth over the worn places. I recently read the thread here where you should (nope I think it was Antiques Roadshow) roll the quilts with the piecing inside and cover it with a white sheet or make a white bag for it. It helps to keep the weak places from stretching and corners rubbing the threads. What a lovely thing to receive, someone made them and that makes it special.

    Blessings, Ruth

  9. #9
    Super Member Prism99's Avatar
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    Once they are repaired, it's easier to wash them in a top-loading machine than in the bathtub. Just do not let the machine agitate.

    Basically you fill with cold water, add a gentle soap (there are special ones available for quilts), stop the machine, add the quilt, hand agitate by gently pushing down on the quilt, turn the machine to "spin" to get rid of the wash water, fill with rinse water, stop the machine, hand agitate again, advance the machine to "spin" to get rid of the rinse water, rinse again, etc. Using the machine is *much* easier on my back than washing in a bathtub. It can also be easier on the quilt because more of the water weight is gone before you lift the quilt; water weight places additional strain on seams and can break stitches.

    Do not machine dry. The best way to dry is outside, in the shade. (Avoid sunlight; light fades fabric!) Lay a large flat sheet in the shade, lay the quilt on top (gently squaring the edges as necessary), lay another large flat sheet on top of the quilt (to further protect against sunlight and also against bird droppings), and anchor the edges so nothing blows away. You may need to turn the quilt over once to thoroughly dry.

  10. #10
    Super Member earthwalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prism99
    Once they are repaired, it's easier to wash them in a top-loading machine than in the bathtub. Just do not let the machine agitate.

    Basically you fill with cold water, add a gentle soap (there are special ones available for quilts), stop the machine, add the quilt, hand agitate by gently pushing down on the quilt, turn the machine to "spin" to get rid of the wash water, fill with rinse water, stop the machine, hand agitate again, advance the machine to "spin" to get rid of the rinse water, rinse again, etc. Using the machine is *much* easier on my back than washing in a bathtub. It can also be easier on the quilt because more of the water weight is gone before you lift the quilt; water weight places additional strain on seams and can break stitches.

    Do not machine dry. The best way to dry is outside, in the shade. (Avoid sunlight; light fades fabric!) Lay a large flat sheet in the shade, lay the quilt on top (gently squaring the edges as necessary), lay another large flat sheet on top of the quilt (to further protect against sunlight and also against bird droppings), and anchor the edges so nothing blows away. You may need to turn the quilt over once to thoroughly dry.
    This is exactly how I wash my quilts and antique tablecloths...except I have parallel washing lines so I lay them on sheets on top of the lines....works well and does save your back.

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