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Thread: Washing a quilt in hot water?

  1. #1
    Junior Member coffeegirl's Avatar
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    Washing a quilt in hot water?

    My twin granddaughters were born early and are spending time in NICU. they use quilts or blankets to cover the isolettes to shield them from light and sounds. Of course I am whipping up 2 quilts asap! They do ask that the quilts be washed in hot water before bringing them. I have never washed a quilt in hot water and am a bit nervous. I will put in color catchers but was wondering is anyone had any other tips before I actually do it. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Congratulations on the twins!!!

    As an infectious disease nurse, I whole heartily agree that they should be washed and dried with hot water and heat to kill the yeast, molds, viruses, and of course the bacteria. Those premature immune system has not fully formed yet as many of the immuneties from mom are given at or near term delivery.

    The quilts are made with 100% cotton and batting so not to worry. ALL of the quilts in the NICU's across the USA are washed in hot water. You might want to consider a softer color rather than the bright reds, blues, or greens.

    Enjoy the little ones and be confident in the staff to do right by your precious twins. Thanks for asking.
    Karen

  3. #3
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    I wash many of my quilts in hot water... no damage. congrats on the twins
    Nancy in western NY
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  4. #4
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    Congratulations on your new granddaughters!

    When I was in a guild we made quilts for the NICU. We used all cotton fabric, thread and batting (even though we used poly bating for other donation quilts). All cotton was the rule for the NICU.

    The hot water wash is important as Bug Lady says, and the quilts will be washed in hot water very frequently. For the first wash, I would use lots of water and Synthrapol or colour catchers. Make sure you quilt densely so that the quilts can stand up to regular trips through industrial washers, but don't worry about the quilts lasting forever - you will need to make them bigger ones for tummy time soon enough! Even if the colour runs a bit, you will still be covering your sweeties in love, and that's what matters.

  5. #5
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    I wash all of my quilts before I gift them (I'm a glue-baster so it's not optional), and baby quilts I always wash in HOT water, to make sure they can handle it. I just assume that at some point the quilt will suffer an "accident" and need the hot wash anyway, so I do it first and that way I can tell the parents that the quilt is hot-wash approved.

    I have NEVER had a quilt fail due to hot water! I usually pre-wash my fabrics so I already know if something is a bleeder (in fact if I know a fabric is destined for a baby quilt I'll pre-wash in hot too) but sometimes I use precuts and those don't get pre-washed. If you haven't started yet, maybe do a thorough pre-washing; but either way, I think a couple of color catchers in the wash and you'll be FINE.

    Congrats on the new granddaughters!!

  6. #6
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    I love the look of crinkly, well-loved quilts, so I rarely pre-wash my fabrics, and I always wash my quilts in hot water once they are completed. Only once have I ever had a problem, and it was before I discovered color-catchers, and because the fabric I used.

    It was a quilt made from homespun fabrics of less than stellar quality. The main fabric was burgundy, and it bled horribly. After washing, the burgundy had faded terribly, and creams were tinged in pink. But, fifteen years later, that quilt is on my bed right now, and is one of my favorites.

    Personally, I would just use the color catchers, making sure to check for bleeding before putting it into the dryer. If there is some bleeding, wash it again with more color catchers.

    Also, if you are really concerned, you can wash the quilt with Synthropol to remove the extra dye after quilting. If you are prewashing your fabrics before making the quilt you could use Synthropol, then Retayne to set the dye. I don't think Retayne is recommended after piecing.

  7. #7
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Congratulations on your Twin Grandbabies!

    Adding to the above thoughts .... consider the shrink factor before you start sewing.
    For me, I would pre-wash everything before starting, so that most of the shrinkage is dealt with.
    Otherwise your quilts could shrink considerably and thus become a lot smaller.

    RE Retayne ... the treatment works great, but check the product info, as I am pretty sure that it says that the treatment is cancelled if washed with hot water after.
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  8. #8
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    Where do you purchase Synthropol?

  9. #9
    Super Member Bree123's Avatar
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    Congratulations!
    I agree with those who have recommended Synthropol for the first wash. It will help catch excess dye much better than Color Catchers. Sometimes they will sell it at quilt shops or even at JAF or HL. Otherwise, I've bought it at Wal-Mart (I ordered it ahead to pick up at my local store).

    Because I worry so much about little ones' sensitivities, I wash it again in plain water after the first wash with Synthropol. Then, I'll dry it.

    Cotton does get damaged with heat, agitation and the wetting/de-wetting process. Better quality cottons will hold up better, but all cotton is damaged when exposed to one or more of those elements. That said, it's typically only a problem after hundreds of washes. I would not make a super intricate quilt for a newborn to use in a hospital. Quilt no farther apart than every 2" so it will hold up to frequent, aggressive laundering. Hospital washers & dryers get much hotter than domestic machines. A domestic machine -- unless it has a Sanitize cycle -- will not get hot enough to sanitize, which is why many people have stopped bothering to wash/dry on hot at home. If sanitizing the fabric is necessary & you don't have a Sanitize cycle, you want to boil the water to wash the isolette covers to make sure it's hot enough -- at least 160F for at least 10 minutes.

    The other option to sanitize is Clorox (NOT with boiling water!) but I'd check with the hospital staff to ensure that's okay to use ... and then I'd still re-wash twice with just dye-free detergent before giving them to the babies.

    Good luck with the quilting & congrats again on your sweet little grand babies!

  10. #10
    Super Member osewme's Avatar
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    I always wash my quilts in hot water & dry in hot dryer the first time I wash & dry them. I like the used/crinkle look & feel like the hot will give the maximum look I love.

    Congrats on the precious twins.

  11. #11
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    Congratulations on the twins Granddaughters, so lucky.

    I believe I would just save those quilts for when they get bigger. I would probably make more for the NICS.

    I don't wash anything in hot water and certainly not quilts.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  12. #12
    Junior Member coffeegirl's Avatar
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    Update: I washed the quilt in hot water and it came out just fine! The quilt was mostly lighter colors to begin with and I always prewash all my fabrics so bleeding was not an issue. It came out all crinkly and cuddly! Thanks for your advice and now...I'm ready to deliver to those precious little babies!

  13. #13
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    I definitely understand that you want to take those quilts for your own grandbabies but I would have concern that they could get lost in the hospital setting. When the girls are big enough, the hospital will probably request clothes from the family for them but be prepared that things happen in that setting. I'd suggest you make quilts for donation for other babies and reserve the ones you've made for your own. I have a preemie grandchild and the hospital even sent quilts home with the family. Some were of lesser quality and some were good. One that surprised me had a pieced top on a mattress pad--no back!--but it worked for the use intended and became an excellent tummy-time quilt for the floor.

  14. #14
    Junior Member mlt150's Avatar
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    As a grandma of twins who lived in NICU for 80 days, congratulations and the babies are in good hands!! Can I suggest machine binding, as I find the machine makes stronger binding to hold up to the many washings. Prayers for the precious ones!!
    Dianne

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