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Thread: Best way to wash your quilts

  1. #1
    Junior Member Ethel A's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Colorado Springs, CO
    I have three quilts that I haven't washed since they've been quilted. With one of the quilts I made many years ago, the color of the fabric (and I used really good quality fabric) seemed to have faded. What do you use to wash your quilts with? Do you let them hang dry, or do you throw them in the dryer? All of the batting I've used is 100% cotton. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Senior Member key4unc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    North Carolina
    Since most of my quilts go to PL, I wash them with regular detergent and hot water since I figure that's the way they'll be washed by the recipient. There is a product called "quilt wash" that you can get at any quilt shop that's more gentle than regular detergent. And you should use cold water when washing. But I think there's probably always going to be some fading over time.

    Here's a nice article on washing a quilt. I noticed that she recommends washing it a second time but with no detergent to get rid of any remains of the detergent which can damage your quilt.

  3. #3
    Super Member sidmona's Avatar
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    Apr 2009
    Milton, Georgia
    I wash mine with a little woolite and then do two rinse cycles.

  4. #4
    Super Member Knot Sew's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mine are washed on gentle with a shout strip. I always use cold or lukewarm water. I use a gentle soap and less than usual. I rinse twice. I dry at a med heat, removing while damp :D

  5. #5
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    SE Wisconsin
    If you have used glue, starch or other chemicals in it, I recommend washing it thoroughly in warm water and regular detergent and then doing a second rinse cycle.

    I take mine to the laundromat and use the large front-loading washers that tumble rather than agitate. If they are not sufficiently "spun out" when you finish laundering, many laundromats have a separate machine that spins out moisture. If the quilt is very heavy after that (more common with cotton than polyester batts), you may want to dry it flat for a while until it is lightweight enough that you can hang it on the line without "stretching" it. Drape it across a couple lines rather than just hanging it from the top edge with clothespins.

  6. #6
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Western Wisconsin
    Blog Entries
    It is hard on a quilt to be agitated in a regular washing machine. If that's all you have, then it's best to fill the tub and then stop the agitation. Push it up and down with your hands for about 10 minutes to agitate, then drain and rinse twice. It's okay to spin the water out.

    I prefer to wash my quilts in a front-loading washing machine. These are much more gentle. If a quilt is too big for my home front-loader, I take it to the laundromat and use theirs.

    For first washings and anytime I am unsure about dye stability, I use Synthrapol as the soap. At other times I use a soap specially made for washing quilts. I think this helps ensure that there are no chemicals that might fade the dyes or stay in the fabric. I also like to rinse twice.

    It's best to lay the quilt flat to dry. Water adds a lot of weight, so hanging a quilt to dry puts a lot of stress on threads and fiber. If your climate is good, place a large sheet on the grass, "block" your quilt on it (straighten edges and corners so it is square), and place another sheet on top for protection. In winter you can do the same thing on a carpet; just add some fans to speed drying.

  7. #7
    Power Poster littlehud's Avatar
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    Nov 2007
    SW Iowa
    I wash mine with regular detergent and wash in the dryer.

  8. #8
    Moderator Jim's Gem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Camarillo, California
    I have a front loader washer and dryer. I just at a touch of Tide and a little Downey and run it on a "casual" setting with a low spin. Then I toss it in the dryer with a low heat. I pull it out occassionally and "unball" it and throw it back in. When done I spread it across the couch or chair or something in case it is not all the way dry.

  9. #9
    Super Member mpspeedy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    rural Maryland
    All of the bed quilts that I have used on my beds have been through my washing machine and dryer. I use the medium cycle and warm water. I use orvus soap for my regular laundry as well as my quilts. I might throw in a Shout sheet the first time I wash the quilt.
    All of my bed size quilts are handquilted and I have never had a problem.
    I am also a person who threw my daughter's wedding gown in the washer since the bottom 10 inches or so was all muddy from the indoor outdoor location of her reception. It came out beautifully. I did not put the gown in the dryer.

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