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Thread: How to Wash A New Quilt

  1. #1
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    Question How to Wash A New Quilt

    Hi everyone,

    I'm just finishing the binding on a king size quilt for my parents that I have been working off-and-on since August 2011. It has taken me hundreds of hours. I want to wash it to remove chalk/pencil lines and to give it a more antique look. It contains autumn colours so some tan and beige but also some chocolate browns and cranberries. I don't want it to run. How should I wash it before I give it to them? Dryer? Many thanks in advance for your comments. I want to deliver it to them Sunday January 27th so I have to wash it today if I am going to.

    Thanks again for your guidance,

    Elizabeth in Canada

  2. #2
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    For a quilt that size I would take it to a laundromat and use one of their large commercial machines. You want to wash it with Color Catchers (called something else in Canada, I'm sure someone will chime in with the correct name). The color catchers grab the die that's shed into the water, but they need a LOT of water to work. Probably more than a top loader + king quilt can provide and NEVER use them in a front loader.
    I use cold water and gentle cycle. I dry mine in a dryer till almost dry, then finish on a line, but in this weather, you can just lay it on a bed & turn it occasionally.

    Here's a link to a discussion with some Canadian sources:

    http://www.quiltingboard.com/main-f1...s-t207926.html
    Last edited by PaperPrincess; 01-26-2013 at 08:05 AM.
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
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  3. #3
    Junior Member Bataplai's Avatar
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    I was my quilts in cold water on gentle cycle and then dry on low heat with normal detergent and fabric softener. So far I've never had an issue with color runs.

  4. #4
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    PP, I didn't know not to use Color Catchers in my front loader! I have many times, with the sheets in a little lingerie bag, and have had no problem so far. What should I be looking for as far as problem or dangers???

    Jan in VA
    Jan in VA
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  5. #5
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    You do want to use a machine with lots of water so that any colour bleeds go into the water where it is picked up by the colour catchers. I think I woyld test my intense colour scraps first to see how they bleed. You put some scraps in hot water in the sink and then lay them on a white paper towel to dry. Is there any colour in the water? Is there any colour transfer on the dry paper towel? That will tell you how bad they will bleed. Maybe you will be lucky and they will be good.
    If the scraps bleed a lot you may want to look into synthrapol from your local quilt shop before washing. Synthrapol is added to the washer and it suspends loose dye in the water and prevents it from going on to other fabrics. Most important!!!If you wash and finds some bleed spots, do not dry it because that will set the bleeds.

  6. #6
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    I just toss my quilts into my top load washer with regular detergent/fabric softener. I do prewash all my fabrics, though. If you didn't prewash, I would highly recommend color catchers (or local equivalent). I have a pretty large-capacity washer so just do it at home. And I put all mine in the dryer till they are completely dry. Figure it's best to wash/dry as most recipients would to determine problems before gifting.

    As Tartan says though, if you do find bleeds - DON'T DRY until you get those spots removed. Reds are usually the worst bleeding culprits although I had a horrible problem with a green one time. Go figure.

  7. #7
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I wash my quilts in cold water, color catchers and fabric softener. I agitate it for a few minutes, soak a few minutes, agitate a few minutes, spin and rinse on normal. Dry on low heat and drape over glass topped dining table overnight.
    I figure anyone I give a quilt to will not take much pains washing it. Some people wash quilts like their sheets and just as often.
    Another Phyllis
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  8. #8
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    I have a large capacity top loader, so I wash even king-size quilts in it, gentle cycle, cold or warm water. Sometimes I use Orvus paste, sometimes regular detergent, no fabric softener. I do pre-wash my fabrics. I agree with testing the fabrics in your quilt for bleeding, and if there are problems use Synthrapol in the wash. I put the quilt in the dryer until it's almost dry (low heat) and then (if I remember to take it out in time) I spread it out on the floor to finish drying.

  9. #9
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    I agree with Jingle's observation that people will wash their quilts like their sheets and just as often (or almost). So that's how I wash mine. I use a top loader, cold water, regular detergent, then the dryer. But have only gone as big as queen sized. that one is hand quilted. So far I haven't had any issues. On a new one going to someone I use some color catchers. I am not a pre washer, except for flannel.

  10. #10
    Super Member sewmom's Avatar
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    I use color catchers all the time in my front loader. It says on the box to put in a mesh bag and place in washer first. Before your fabric/quilt/clothes. I use them when I prewash my fabrics. When I wash my king size quilt, i use cold water. In the dryer on low, with numerous stopping and adjusting to get the inside dry. It tends to just roll up in a big ball otherwise.
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  11. #11
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    I purchased an antique king top, sunbonnet sue, had some funky spots. I quilted it on my long arm, took it to the laundramat, large capacity front loader with 4 color catchers. They were really pink when in removed the quilt. No bleeding anywhere. Dryed in the big dryer. Won a second place at the fair.

    Lu in TN

  12. #12
    Senior Member Judi in Ohio's Avatar
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    I use many color catchers at one time. Also muslin works I'm told.
    Judi in Ohio

  13. #13
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    Judi in Ohio - muslin works as a color catcher?

  14. #14
    Senior Member happyquiltmom's Avatar
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    I never agitate my quilts. I fill the machine with water and detergent, add the quilt, squeeze the water into it and let it soak for 30 mintues. Then, I advance the dial to spin, and repeat the steps on the rinse cycle.

    I also would never put a quilt into a dryer. These machines are very hard on fabrics...the lint you remove from the lint trap are fabric fibers, you know! I have a 5-line clothesline...I drape the quilt evenly over all 5 lines, face down so that the sun will not fade the top (even though the clothesline is in the shade most of the day. If it were in full sun, I would probably throw a clean sheet over the quilt.)

    You have spent all that money and time making a quilt, you should care for it as well as you can!
    Cindy

    Curator of an 1889 Singer model 27 Fiddlebase Treadle, a 1951 Singer Centennial Featherweight, a 1956 Singer 401A, and a 1982 Bernina 830 Record.

  15. #15
    Super Member 117becca's Avatar
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    The quilts that I piece and hand-quilt, I will wash them in the washer on delicate or a hand wash cycle. I will put them in the dryer because that is probably how they will be washed once given to its owner. I don't necessarily dry them all the way, but enough to get it most of the way dry.
    my name is becca and i'm a quilt-a-holic :-)

  16. #16
    Senior Member QuiltingHaven's Avatar
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    Hey, I have been using color catchers on all my quilting material and on the finished quilts in my front HE washer. I put the color catchers in the lingerie bags (usually 2 of them) and I have had no problems at all. I think that the color catchers could catch and land in the giant rubber washer/like ring next to the door. I have had socks, handkerchiefs, hose socks, and an occasional washcloth get captured by the this rubber thingy. And color catchers get caught in there and then they don't do their job because they aren't in the washing area. Soooo, I always put them in the lingerie bags...no problems at all and the catchers really love reds and blues.
    Busy in Ohio

  17. #17
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    Re: color catchers & front loaders. I used color catchers in my old top loader all the time. When I got my front loader, i just threw a couple in, like i always did. When I took the items out, the color catcher caught the color (say that fast 3 times) but... when I pulled the stuff out of the washer, I found that it had deposited the color onto a garment. There was a nice square of die on the t shirt when I peeled the color catcher off. Then I read the box, which said "not for use in front loaders". Now this was a couple years ago, and I understand now there's a disclaimer that tells you to put them in a mesh bag to keep them out of the drain, but i'm still worried about it depositing color on something else because of the low water level and high spin speeds. If I have a quilt larger than a twin I take it to the Laundromat for it's first wash, and use several color catchers.
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
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  18. #18
    Super Member quiltinggirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sewmom View Post
    I use color catchers all the time in my front loader. It says on the box to put in a mesh bag and place in washer first. Before your fabric/quilt/clothes. I use them when I prewash my fabrics. When I wash my king size quilt, i use cold water. In the dryer on low, with numerous stopping and adjusting to get the inside dry. It tends to just roll up in a big ball otherwise.

    This is my method too! I do not pre-wash my fabrics before making the quilt and I have never had any problems with the fabrics bleeding because I use color catchers in my front loader washer.
    God, Wonderful Family, Great Health, Awesome Friends, Quilting & Chocolates - - What more could a girl be blessed with!!

  19. #19
    Super Member Gail B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jan in VA View Post
    PP, I didn't know not to use Color Catchers in my front loader! I have many times, with the sheets in a little lingerie bag, and have had no problem so far. What should I be looking for as far as problem or dangers???

    Jan in VA
    You won't have a problem if you place them in a lingerie bag. Otherwise they can get sucked up into the pump and that isn't good.

  20. #20
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    My king sized bed uses a quilt as a bedspread, and I have a cat that sheds a lot. I wash my quilt every other week in a front loader. I did use a color catcher the first time I washed it, but it was stable so I haven't used one since. I do use color catchers when I wash my red blouses, and have had no problems with them in my front loader. The only problem I have with home laundry of a king sized quilt is drying it! Imdry it for 20 minutes on medium, pull it out and rearrange, then repeat the procedure 2 more times.

    However there are lots of variations in front loaders, so YMMV. Mine is a Samsung, and is hands down the best washer I have ever had. Clothes get very clean with not much water or detergent!

    Pam

  21. #21
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    I would recommend you you a large capacity washer at the laundrymat. The big triple loaders can handle the size of the quilt and the large capacity dryers will more than handle the volume of your kinfg size quilt. Additionally if you are concerned about running/bleeding use Synthropol. The synthropol will suspend and prevent any unset dyes from settling or staining your quilt.

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