Quilt Care and Storage Tips

Quilt Care and Storage is really important
if you wish to enjoy your quilt for a long time

Quilt Care:

I have been asked so many times about quilt care and storage and how to wash a quilt.

It is not an easy answer, partly because it depends upon which batting is inside the quilt and whether it is a very old quilt or quite new.

Never dry clean a quilt as the harsh chemicals are very detrimental to fabrics, and the chemicals never totally come out.

Unless the quilt is in constant use, being dragged all over the neighbourhood by a toddler, you can usually freshen up your quilt by vacuuming it.

Place a nylon stocking over the end of the hose and give your quilts a thorough vacuum.

This works especially well with wall hangings.

However, do not lay it on the floor and run over it with the power head of your vacuum!! 

Another way to dust a quilt is to put it in the dryer on “air fluff”.

It doesn’t get any heat, but the dust and cat/dog hair seem to disappear and it looks fresh again.

If the quilt is in constant use, like a baby quilt or the sampler quilt that I keep on the back of the sofa (I have a dog and cat that love it!), then I feel it has to go into the washing machine to remove the dirt.

A front loading washer is easier on quilts than the agitating kind of washer, so if you have a larger quilt, take it to the Laundromat and use those big front loaders!  

I do put my quilts in the dryer on low heat and leave it until it is almost dry, then lay it over a bed or railing or even out on the grass on a clean sheet (not in the sun) to finish drying. Cover it with a clean sheet too, to protect it.

Quilt care for those antique quilts is specially important.

You can try the quilt wash products sold at quilt stores.  

  • Dissolve the product in a bathtub of cool or lukewarm water.
  • Lay your quilt on a clean sheet then immerse it in the tub.
  • Let it soak for at least ½ hour, squishing it around a little now and then.
  • Squish the water through it, like you are hand washing your favorite sweater.
  • Now let the water drain from the tub and refill with clear water and rinse the soap out.
  • Get a buddy to help you lift out the quilt/sheet, lifting the sheet, not the quilt as you don’t want to be pulling on those old fabrics and stitches.
  • Gently squeeze out the water, then roll in towels to remove excess water.
  • Lay your quilt outside on a clean sheet out of the sun to dry.

Remember those images of quilts blowing in the breeze on the line?  

It’s a great way to blow the dust out of your quilts, but fold them over the line, rather than pin them along one edge – that would cause a lot of stress at those points and may pull them out of shape.

Storage:

  • Wrap your quilt in a cotton sheet, pillowcase, or acid-free tissue paper to store.
  • Refold often so creases do not become permanent. Never store quilts in plastic as it keeps in moisture causing mildew.

If your quilts are going to be stored for a long time, it is a good idea to bunch up acid-free tissue paper to place in the folds, or roll your quilts onto a cotton covered tube. 

If you have a spare bed which is not often used, you could lay numerous quilts on top of the bed, and cover with a sheet of muslin.  

They avoid getting creases this way and are easier to “visit” when the mood strikes!

Keep your quilts in a cool, dry area as temperature fluctuations can damage fabric.

It is not a good idea to store quilts in attics or basements because of this, and because this is where nibbling insects and mice may find it.

Take care of your treasures.

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