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Thread: stupid fabric washing questions

  1. #1
    Senior Member virgwid's Avatar
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    I am going to try making a lap quilt, so I want to prewash the fabric so it shrinks before I use it. I plan to use hot water. Here are my questions
    1. Do I use detergent?
    2. I have half to full yards - many of them. Can I wash like colors together?
    3. How will I know if they have bled out all they are going to? Do I have to keep checking the rinse water?
    4. Do I put it on a full cycle or just rinse?

    Thank you! Virg

  2. #2
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    When I prewash -- which is seldom -- I use detergent and run it just like laundry. I always put similar colors together just as if I were washing clothes.

    The first time I wash a quilt, I always use a color catcher even if I've prewashed the fabric.

    I'm sure you will get tons of different opinions on this subject. It seems to be one we just can't all agree on. Listen to the advice and do what seems right for you.

  3. #3
    Super Member Darlene's Avatar
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    I just wash small amounts in the bathroom sink and use very little dish soap. Rinse well. Never a problem. Just hang to dry.

  4. #4
    Super Member Short an Sweet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by virgwid
    I am going to try making a lap quilt, so I want to prewash the fabric so it shrinks before I use it. I plan to use hot water. Here are my questions
    1. Do I use detergent? \
    2. I have half to full yards - many of them. Can I wash like colors together?
    3. How will I know if they have bled out all they are going to? Do I have to keep checking the rinse water?
    4. Do I put it on a full cycle or just rinse?


    Thank you! Virg

    1. Do I use detergent?
    I use detergent and have had no problems

    2. I have half to full yards - many of them. Can I wash like colors together?
    I wash like colors together

    3. How will I know if they have bled out all they are going to? Do I have to keep checking the rinse water?
    they have a product out called color catchers, that works very well

    4. Do I put it on a full cycle or just rinse?
    I use handwash or delicate cycle (cuts down on agitation)

    Hope this helps

  5. #5
    LindaBN's Avatar
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    [quote=Lisa_wanna_b_quilter]When I prewash -- which is seldom -- I use detergent and run it just like laundry. I always put similar colors together just as if I were washing clothes.

    The first time I wash a quilt, I always use a color catcher even if I've prewashed the fabric.


    Agree with the above.

    I put in a Color Catcher (made by Shout) when I pre-wash - lets me know if anything ran. Just as an experiment, if you have time, you could wash (of just rinse) a 2nd time with a fresh Color Catcher and see if more dye comes out.

  6. #6
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    One thing Lisa and I agree on is that you'll get as many opinions on pre-washing as you'll find people who read your post :)

    Unlike Lisa, I'm a dedicated pre-washer. Fabric walks into my house and directly to the laundry room. There is not a single piece of fabric in my stash that has not seen the inside of a washing machine. But ... that's me and there are lots of varied opinions on the subject, all of them right!!

    I always use detergent, but not the full amount. The reason I use detergent is to remove the chemicals that were used in the manufacture process.

    I almost always use Hot water as well to promote the most bleed and the most shrinkage. The reason is that if it's going to bleed/shrink I'd rather have it all happen now than later. With a few exceptions, I'll wash like colors together.

    When I wash in the machine I use a hand wash or gentle cycle as a high degree of agitation is not necessary (it's not soiled), and the less it agitates the less fray it will create.

    I wash most of my batiks by hand in the kitchen sink, especially reds. Reason being is that batiks typically bleed more than printed cotton, and I can see the amount of bleed and know when I should continue to wash more and more. My reds are always washed twice, sometimes three times. Some purples as well.

    I had been using the "Shout Dye Grabber" and I can say that I haven't had any problems with it. I am nearing the 30 use mark though, so I picked up some of the other brand (color catcher? can't remember and I'm not at home).

  7. #7
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    The only fabric I would NOT suggest washing are the velvets, laces and other fancy fabrics headed for a Crazy Quilt that should be professionally dry cleaned.

    Otherwise, i'd suggest you prewash the way you think the quilt will be washed when it gets dirty, and if kids are involved, trust me, it WILL get dirty and need washing.

    I also agree that the first time or two you do need Color Catchers.

  8. #8
    Super Member CorgiNole's Avatar
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    When I prewash I was as I intend to wash the quilt once it is completed. I have a color catcher that I throw in with my fabric and generally wash like fabrics together.

    I wash in warm or cold and dry on warm.

    I find that I need to prewash as my hands sometimes react to something in the fabric. I then starch using Mary Ellen's best press or a very heavy starch.

    Cheers, K

  9. #9
    Super Member Tinabodina's Avatar
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    I would use a stain blocker if I were you. I always wash fabric and quilts on a gental cycle.

  10. #10
    lbaillie's Avatar
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    I was at a guild meeting last night where Nancy Odom was the guest speaker. She stated that she almost never pre washes her fabric. But, what she does do, is starch and steam iron before she cuts. She stated that the primary reason was to help the fabric keep it's shape. Once she started doing this she almost never had issues with pieces not matching. Kind of on subject!!

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