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Washing a quilt

Washing a quilt

Old 05-25-2012, 03:23 AM
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Default Washing a quilt

My daughter brought home her twinsize quilt made out of Moda Batiks from college. It is not dirty, just needs 'freshing up'. I have been quilting for a while but have never washed a quilt! I would like to give it a whirl. Just worried that it will shrink, bleed etc. I have bought Color Catchers but don't know what setting to put my washing machine on or to use cold or warm water. Do I put it into the dryer when washed or just hang up wet? Also, I do NOT wash my fabrics before I piece so that will be a factor.

Thanks for the help!
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Old 05-25-2012, 03:33 AM
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If all it needs is freshening up why not hang it with the back side out on a line?
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Old 05-25-2012, 03:44 AM
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I'm a prewasher myself. But that said, I wash all my quilts before gifting just to get rid of dog hair and hand oils, etc. When pre washing fabrics or washing completed quilts I do the same thing. I use the perm. press setting on my washer, warm wash/warm rinse (cause that's as hot as I can get everything). Toss in appropriate amount of regular laundry soap and off we go. Toss in dryer when complete. In your case since the fabrics weren't pre washed, I'd toss in a couple of color catchers since you have them. Check your quilt and the color catchers upon removal from washer. If no bleeding has occurred, toss in the dryer. If bleeding, keep washing till there is none. THEN toss in the dryer. Yes, you'll get some shrinkage - particularly if you used a cotton batt - but I think the batiks tend to not shrink as much as other fabrics due to the generally tighter weave of the fabric.
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Old 05-25-2012, 03:49 AM
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I think you might want to test some of the fabrics with a wet Q-tip or damp cloth to get an idea of how much bleeding to expect. With the fabrics having not been previously washed, there could be quite a bit, so Color Catchers can help pick up the loose dye so that it doesn't land on other areas. If you used cotton batting, you can expect shrinkage there that might not match the shrinkage in the fabric. Cool water, low agitation, and avoiding heat in the dryer will all minimize the bad effects. If you don't mind the extra work, you can wash it by hand in the bathtub and lay out to dry on towels on a hard surface floor after squeezing (not wringing) out the excess water.

I agree that freshening can be done by hanging the quilt outside, but eventually you will have to face the task of washing the quilt if it is being used regularly.

Best wishes!


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Old 05-25-2012, 03:50 AM
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I agree with NJ Quilter. Good luck; it all should be fine!
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Old 05-25-2012, 03:53 AM
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I agree with what NJ Quilter said. Particularly, to examine the quilt for bleeding while it's still wet. If you dry it, with the bleeds, it will be almost impossible to get them out. Batiks with really saturated colors always seem to bleed a lot for me. The other thing is to use a top loader. If you have a front loader, take it to a laundromat. You need to have a lot of water for the color catchers to work.
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Old 05-25-2012, 04:00 AM
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I wash and dry my quilts all the time. Usually, I prewash fabric but not always. I use the warm/cold setting and a gentle cycle. Gain detergent and a color catcher. If the color catcher has absorbed a lot of color when the wash cycle ends, I may rewash before throwing in the dryer on low heat. I have never had a problem and have been quilting 10 years.
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Old 05-25-2012, 04:02 AM
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Here is how I launder my quilts:

Fill the washer with water and detergent. Place quilt into the water, gently squeeze until completely wet. Let sit for 30 minutes. Do not agitate. Then, run through spin cycle. Repeat for rinse cycle, omitting sit time. Note, this will not work in a front loader.

I have a 5-line retractable clothesline. I hang the quilt face down over all 5 lines, distributing the weight evenly. Dryers beat the heck out of clothes and wear them out more quickly. Just think what they would do to a quilt!
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Old 05-25-2012, 04:02 AM
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Thanks everyone! I do have a top-loading machine and the batting used by my LAQ is a 80 cotton/ 20 poly blend so hopefully, shrinkage there will be minimal. I was thinking about airing it out but I am sure it will have to be washed eventually and I would rather be the first to try it than my daughter at college!
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Old 05-25-2012, 05:06 AM
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Same question - I know it won't run - prewash everything! I am not sure about the batting. I didn't preshrink it, but it was a quilt-as-you-go, so each block got pressed with some heavy duty steam as it was finished. Would that kind of pressing tell me what washing will do? Think the batting was a name brand available at Joannes. It wasn't the generic stuff.

I've gotta get rid of the cat hair before putting away for summer. 2 cats sleep with me at night and all 3 like the bed during the day.
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