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Thread: Antique Quilt Care

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012

    Antique Quilt Care

    I recently acquired 2 quilts that are over 100 years old.. Aren't I lucky.... I want to make sure that I care for them properly and am asking if I can wash them in my machine on a hand wash cycle. If so, what detergent should I use..

    Thank you in advance for any and all advice.

  2. #2
    Super Member nygal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    New York
    I'd love to see a picture of them!
    When it seems like the world is falling to pieces remember that the pieces are falling into place. We are nearing closer to the End Times.

  3. #3
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    When I was at the Smithsonian a few years back .. they do not wash any of the vintage quilts. When they are recieved they use a vacuum with a screen on the nossle and use one that has a low setting .
    That being said if it was me I would machine wash on gentle cycle at a laundry mat that has a high capacity washer . Not being sure of your washers capacity or agitation method.. sometimes just stuffing a large quilt in to a washer the quilts movement can be restricted , then the agitation can strain/stress fibers that are already strained just getting it into the machine.
    Hand washing /soaking in the tub is an option , just use a plastic laundry basket to remove it from the tub. Cotton fibers are their weakest when wet.

  4. #4
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    I have several of my great-grandmother's quilts (circa 1890-1920) and nothing on earth would ever make me wash them. The vacuum procedure that Lori mentioned is what the appraiser advised me to do, and that alone. Seek the advice of a textile appraiser or conservator...museums, historical societies, antiques dealers, etc can usually help as well. You cannot undo a mistake, so be cautious.
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

  5. #5
    Super Member ptquilts's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    I would never put an antique quilt in a washing machine. I have washed many by hand, in the bathtub, with good results. Not to say I would wash ALL antique quilts. Some should not be washed.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Enid, OK
    Blog Entries
    I have a book called "caring for your quilts" by Hallye Bone from the KS city star books. It is about conservation repair and storage and like others here have said..NEVER put a vintage quilt in a washing machine...the fabrics might look OK, but they are fragile and our water, detergents, etc will destroy them quickly. Hand washing/soaking with the proper soap in a tub is ok IF you must wash it...other than they suggest line hanging or laying flat in the sun(about an hour each side on the grass) and fresh air to naturally cleanse them, spot cleaning with oxyclean if needed, and leaving them alone for the most part. The state textile historian here told me to NOT wash lastest find that is about 117 years old...she said most of the fabrics were hand dyed with plant matter and washing would kill them. So...dirty quilt it is....I found it in a barn..heheheh

  7. #7
    Super Member jillaine's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    California Girl exiled in DC
    Blog Entries
    thanks for the tips about the vacuum cleaner with attachment. I just acquired an antique quilt myself. very helpful info. thanks.

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