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Thread: What to do with starched leftover fabric?

  1. #1
    Super Member Rachelcb80's Avatar
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    I've been wondering about this for some time and am finally getting around to asking. I starch my fabic right before pressing then throw any leftovers back in my stash, or the scrap bin. I have read about silverfish (I think that's the bug) being attracted to the starch. Rewashing seems like a pain, especially for small pieces, but I don't want bugs in my stash either. So what do those of you who starch do with your leftovers?

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    Oh my goodness. I do too.
    Where do the silverfish come from, are they eggs in the fabric? Can we add this to your question?: If you have the scraps in a sealed container can the silverfish get in?
    Excellent question.

  3. #3
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    I don't starch so it's not something I think about. But it is a little scary.

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    I don't worry about it, personally. I think the only time I would worry about it is if you have a problem with silverfish even before you use starch.

  5. #5
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    I agree, if you don't have them, it shouldn't be a problem. I have had starched fabric laying around for years and haven't seen any :D:D:D

  6. #6
    Super Member brushandthimble's Avatar
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    I wash and press all my fabric using starch. Some have been here for to many years to count, and the same with FQ's, and leftover pieces.
    Don't have any silverfish, or whatever they are called.

  7. #7
    Super Member isnthatodd's Avatar
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    Isn't it amazing how great minds think alike? I was wondering this last night as I debated about starching fabric before cutting out pieces. I remember reading that bugs are attracted to starch, and since I live in Texas, Home of the Giant Roach, I decided maybe I won't starch if I plan on having a lot left.

  8. #8
    Super Member annette1952's Avatar
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    I have always put starched fabric back in my stash & never had a problem with any bugs. ( Thank Goodness!!)

  9. #9
    Super Member pollyjvan9's Avatar
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    I'll join the majority. I almost always starch and put the scraps in my scrap bag or back in the stash. I have done this for 5 years and don't have silverfish or roaches.

  10. #10
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by annette1952
    I have always put starched fabric back in my stash & never had a problem with any bugs. ( Thank Goodness!!)
    Ditto.

  11. #11
    Super Member roseOfsharon's Avatar
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    I think placing scraps in a plastic container or ziplocks would avoid any worries! Not sure of the bug situation either, but anything is possible.

  12. #12
    Super Member BKrenning's Avatar
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    My scraps are in ziplocs but I have starched yardage and changed my mind about using it so put it back in rolling plastic carts & on a wire shelf where I keep yardage. I've never had a problem with bugs in 6 years.

    Mice is a different story but they don't eat my fabric. They like to snuggle in it!

  13. #13
    Super Member weezie's Avatar
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    I may be wrong ..... but, I think if you are going to have bugs attracted to your starched items, it's only if you made your own mixture using cornstarch & water. Being a food product, it will attract bugs and also goes bad within a few days so needs to be used right away. I don't think starch bought in the laundry supplies aisle at the store is an invitation to bugs.

  14. #14
    Power Poster earthwalker's Avatar
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    Silverfish, roaches and carpet beetle are all attracted by starch and glue (they love book bindings). Ziplocs or plastic lidded containers are good for keeping them out, you can also put bay leaves or lavender in amongst things (they don't like the smell). Borax works (but don't put down anywhere accessible to children or fur-people. If you use rooms infrequently or have an older home (we do) a good low allergen surface spray around the skirtings also works well.
    Interesting article on Wikipedia en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silverfish

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    I use fresh lavender sprigs in my fabrics and places where I store clothes.

    Gal

  16. #16
    Super Member Rachelcb80's Avatar
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    Thanks ladies! Sounds like bugs aren't a big concern then. Weezie, I do use just store bought starch already made up. I think I'll get some lavendar and throw it in my bins though. I love the smell so if it keeps bugs away and makes my fabric smell nice, it's a win/win situation! :)

  17. #17
    Power Poster CarrieAnne's Avatar
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    I use alot of lavender all over the house, I think it helps, plus smells so great!

  18. #18
    Super Member ginnie6's Avatar
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    I use the liquid starch and just add some lavendar to it. It smells heavenly ( may explain why I suddenly don't mind ironing!) and it supposedly keeps bugs away.

  19. #19
    Power Poster earthwalker's Avatar
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    Cool idea Ginnie...bit of aromatherapy to get that ironing pile reduced!

  20. #20
    Super Member quiltinghere's Avatar
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    What a wealth of information we have here

    Where do you buy lavendar? What kind do you put in with fabric? What type do you put in the water so it doesn't damage the fabric with spots?

    Thanks

  21. #21
    Super Member GailG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rachelcb80
    Thanks ladies! Sounds like bugs aren't a big concern then. Weezie, I do use just store bought starch already made up. I think I'll get some lavendar and throw it in my bins though. I love the smell so if it keeps bugs away and makes my fabric smell nice, it's a win/win situation! :)
    Do you think placing bars of lavendar soap would have the same effect?

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by quiltinghere
    What a wealth of information we have here

    Where do you buy lavendar? What kind do you put in with fabric? What type do you put in the water so it doesn't damage the fabric with spots?

    Thanks
    Ditto.

  23. #23
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    I live in Texas also and I have had trouble with a moth that loves starch. Never had that problem in other states. Maybe these moths are playmates for the Giant Roach. LOL

  24. #24
    Member ajpadilla's Avatar
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    I think this probably depends on the climate wherever you live. In humid areas you will have problems with bugs - less so in dry climates.

    I find scraps can accumulate quite quickly. So I try to sort and deal with them just as quickly, too. If the scraps are strips I will store them together or cut them up in squares and keep them by the sewing machine to use them when I start and end sewing on another project. You can actually get quite a bit sewn with this system. So little by little I build up on a second project (usually just a simple 4-patch charity quilt).

    Odd shaped scraps I use to make fabric collage. Just use some kind of stabilizer, spray baste it lightly, lay the scraps on top and stitch down with free motion or embroidery stitches. This will leave you with a piece of "fabric" that you can use for a small project. If you are concerned with the starch, you could wash this piece at this point also.

    And then I always keep an old pillowcase by the sewing machine for the oddest or ugliest scraps. Once the pillowcase is full I sew the opening closed and have a pillow/cushion for my cat or dogs. Since it is stitched close, I can just throw the whole thing in the washing machine. This would also get rid of the starch.

  25. #25
    Super Member quiltmom04's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rachelcb80
    I've been wondering about this for some time and am finally getting around to asking. I starch my fabic right before pressing then throw any leftovers back in my stash, or the scrap bin. I have read about silverfish (I think that's the bug) being attracted to the starch. Rewashing seems like a pain, especially for small pieces, but I don't want bugs in my stash either. So what do those of you who starch do with your leftovers?
    You could put the scraps in one of those lingerie bags and then wash them. I've also heard that you should wash the starch out of the actual quilt, too, before you give it or use it.

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