Considering how much time and love goes into making a quilt, the least we can do is care for it well. Proper care is the only way to guarantee color fastness and durability of your quilt over time. Keep your quilt in the family for years by following our care tips, below!
Photo credit: sumpretty.com
Perhaps the most important step of caring for your quilt happens before it has even been created! Washing the intended fabrics prior to quilt assembly is helpful for a couple reasons:
- It allows for any extra dye or color to bleed without staining the lighter quilt fabrics.
- It allows the fabric an opportunity to take its “worn” shape, which the quilt will inevitably do overtime anyway.
The Curious Quilter is a great resource for additional information on why washing your fabrics before quilting is in your favor.
Proper washing techniques for your quilt(s) depend largely on the type of fabric used. Assuming it is a cotton quilt, follow the best practices below.
As long as your machine can comfortably fit the cotton quilt, machine washing is a good option for most quilts. (Any quilt with lace or puffy applique work should be dry cleaned.)
Use lukewarm water, a mild detergent (no bleach, brighteners or perfumes), and a gentle cycle setting.
Make sure all of the soap is out of the quilt before drying. We recommend a second rinse cycle to ensure no soapy residue will stay in the quilts creases and folds.
Insider Tip: Add a ½ cup vinegar to the washing cycle to keep colors bright!
Hand washing your quilt is a great option, as well, if your washing machine isn’t big enough. Follow the steps above (warm water and a mild detergent) prior to soaking and lightly agitating the quilt with your hands.
Lay quilt to dry as directed by the below instructions.
You need to be careful drying your quilt!
Machine-drying is extremely rough on the stitches (especially hand-stitched quilts!), as is hanging the wet fabric, which is likely to result in popped threads.
We recommend laying the quilt outside on a dry, breezy day. Place the quilt in between two sheets for best results. If drying inside is the only option, place a clean sheet of plastic or tarp down to protect the quilt from the floor, and place a fan on it.
The Dos and Don’ts of Quilt Storage
Every quilt should be stored in a dry, cool place, away from sunlight to ensure color fastness.
If possible, store quilts over an unused bed, placing a cotton sheet in between each quilt (to eliminate dye transfer). If this form of storage is unfeasible for your household, we encourage placing the quilts in a cotton pillowcase prior to shelf storage.
DON’T store your quilt:
- Directly on wood shelves or near gift-wrapping-tissue paper! Storing quilts in either of these places is known to cause yellow and brown spots on your quilt.
- In a plastic bag – without a proper way to breathe, the quilt can easily and quickly grow mildew. (Yuck!)
- In the attic- an attic often lives with extreme temperatures. A hot, sticky attic could cause mildew to grow on your quilt and allow the quilt to lose its color early.
For more information on best practices to preserving your quilts, check out Amish Country Quilts!
Here’s to a handmade quilt that only gets better with time!
For the love of Embroidery!
Jones Sew & Vac Team