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Thread: How far in advance of using is it okay to starch your fabrics--days, weeks, months?

  1. #1
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    How far in advance of using is it okay to starch your fabrics--days, weeks, months?

    I mixed up a batch of starch before realizing that it has a limited "life" so I need to starch some or all of my fabrics for my next 2 projects (well over 50 to 75 FQ and/or half yards) to not have it go to waste. These fabrics will sit for anywhere from one week to up to possible 4 to 5 weeks before being used.

    Is there an ideal limit to how long a fabric should sit starched before it is used? I'm using Sta-flo, is that the kind that you have to be careful of bugs? I'm a newbie to Sta-flo (been using Best Press the past 2 years).

  2. #2
    Super Member MaryMo's Avatar
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    This is the reason I like spray starch .... I make my own. I starch as I use the fabric to avoid the problem of bugs and other problems.
    Make it a scrappy happy day!

  3. #3
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    I've used Sta-flo for awhile now and haven't noticed it goes bad. Just shake it up some before you use it again. The problem I have is the sprayer gets clogged if I haven't used the starch for a long period (a few months). I put the sprayer in some hot tap water and let the starch melt and it works fine.

    So far I haven't had problems with bugs. I get a lot of donated fabrics because I make quilts for charity and sometimes they have an oder that I have to wash out. THen I'll starch and press those pieces before putting them away on the shelf.

  4. #4
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    I starch as I am using the fabric, but my scraps are starched and I have never had a problem.

  5. #5
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    I don't like to store my fabrics with starch in them because I HAVE had problems with bugs, silverfish mostly. However, 4 to 5 weeks isn't bad, I think you will be okay. If you store your starch in the refrigerator when you're not using it, it will extend the life of the starch.

  6. #6
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    my MIL used to roll up the starched clothes and put them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. i'd be afraid that the fabric would mold if stored too long.
    Nancy in western NY
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    QuiltnNan, I am going to press them today so they will be dry. Are you thinking they would mold if dry (or if I sprayed the starch but did not press)?

  8. #8
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    I have used StaFlo for three years (in a recycled Niagra bottle) and haven't had any problems with it going bad. It has some preservatives in it - I'd be more concerned about homemade with no preservatives. I would not starch the FQs to store them. I just do what I need for each quilt.

  9. #9
    Super Member DOTTYMO's Avatar
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    Just be careful the batch is weak enough. I made my
    First batch toooooooooo thick I thought it was okay but when dry
    It was like paper.and very difficult to iron creases out. If you spray too much when ironing it goes lroning it goes through to ironing board and will damage anything that is ironed later. I keep left starch in a bottle and mix with a little water before putting in sprayer
    Finished is better than a UFO

  10. #10
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    I'll starch a bunch, iron what I can, then, store the starched fabric in the freezer for up to 3 weeks. Everything was fine. I've stored starched fabric for at least 6 weeks without a problem.
    aka Gale

  11. #11
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    This is what I do too. So far, I've had no problems.

  12. #12
    Super Member EasyPeezy's Avatar
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    I've had fabric starched for over a year (WIP) and it's still fine.
    I use regular cornstarch. I try to keep just one project at a time
    in my sewing room. The rest goes in plastic bins (starched or not).
    I have quite a few starched strips from other projects. Keep a
    close eye for silverfish though.

  13. #13
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    I wouldn't starch it until I was ready to cut it. If you starch it and the fold it, you run the risk of needing to starch and iron again to get the fold marks out prior to cutting. Seems like extra work to me.

  14. #14
    Super Member ube quilting's Avatar
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    You just learned to make a smaller amount and make more if you need it. I always seem to have a little left over and I always have some fabric to iron or a few blouses. After a few tries you will be able to estimate the amount you need and mix that much. You will also learn than you can mix it so it has light body when you test iron a scrap and add more starch to the water to adjust the crispness you want. You can always start light and add more, you can't go the other way.

    Starched material will not go bad. I usually only starch as I cut and I have never experienced bugs. Even when leftover fabric goes into the stash.

    Storing dampened fabric in the fridge should only be for a few hours to overnight. It may mold if left longer.

    Liquid starch will keep in the fridge for a month or more.
    peace
    Last edited by ube quilting; 07-17-2013 at 12:30 PM.
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  15. #15
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    I use the concentrate Sta-Flo, 50/50 and haven't had any problems with it "going bad" after sitting in the spray bottle for weeks. I starch my fabrics that I'm going to be using a minimum of 2 hours BEFORE I'm going to use it, then dry it. I also have had the starched fabrics in the plastic bag for 2-3 days and haven't had a problem. If it was going to be longer than that, I would put the fabric in the freezer, then take out when you're ready to use them. As far as the "bugs" such as silverfish, etc., if you don't have a problem with them previously, I don't think you'll have a problem with them now, just because you're using starch. We don't have a problem with them and it hasn't changed because of the starch.

  16. #16
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    I starch a lot . Yes I have seen the solution start to change color.. it goes from a milky white to getting a tinge of yellow to it and if I spray it on pure white fabric .. the spray pattern will show up as a faint stain. This "stain/discoloration" does wash out with the starch. This happens when the weather gets warmer... so I mix smaller batches. As far as the fabric I have some starched fabrics for years... but I de-humidify.... and no bug issues. So the questions is how humid is your storage area? If its has a high humidity starch as you need for each project.

  17. #17
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lakekids View Post
    I wouldn't starch it until I was ready to cut it. If you starch it and the fold it, you run the risk of needing to starch and iron again to get the fold marks out prior to cutting. Seems like extra work to me.
    This is my thought as well. I only starch fabric right before cutting it. Folding it, or even just handling it, seems to me to weaken the starch.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltnNan View Post
    my MIL used to roll up the starched clothes and put them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. i'd be afraid that the fabric would mold if stored too long.
    They would get mildewed (moldy) if left in the refrigerator too long.

    However, if one put the stuff in the freezer right away and it stayed frozen, it would "keep" indefinitely.

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