How To Wash A Handmade Quilt

Are you looking for info on the best way to wash your handmade quilt? You’ve come to the right place!

You (or someone who loves you) spent many long hours creating a beautiful quilt as a keepsake or to keep you warm. Because of this, you want to take good care of it so it won't get damaged or torn over the years.

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There are definitely some things you want to avoid when washing your quilt and some specific care instructions you should follow for basic quilt care.

Here are some tips on how to wash a quilt:

Prepping for Washing

Make sure you don't pull any loose threads while you are using your quilt on a daily basis.

Instead, routinely check for any threads that are loose on the blanket and carefully cut them off.

Do a quick check for loose threads before washing your quilt. Loose seams should be mended before washing as well.

Wash or Dry Clean?

Most quilt lovers prefer to wash rather than dry clean their quilts.

If your quilt has any loose lace or puffy applique work, washing it in the washing machine can be risky. In this case, professional dry cleaning may be a better option.

Machine Washing Tips

It is usually acceptable to wash your quilt in your washing machine at home, however, if your quilt is extra-large, you might need to use a commercial washing machine.

When washing your quilt, use cold water and a detergent that is free of any dyes, bleach, or scents. You can find a mild detergent at your local grocery store.

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Use a short, gentle cycle on your washing machine, such as the delicate cycle.

While you may think that all of the fabrics in your quilt are colorfast, accidents do still happen. To keep the colors bright and in place, put half a cup of salt into the wash cycle, or a cup of vinegar into the rinse cycle, for optimal quilt care.

Washing A Quilt by Hand

Because excess machine washing may damage your quilt, it is also good to know how to wash it by hand.

To do this, fill a clean, deep sink or bathtub with cold water. Add a gentle liquid detergent to the water and agitate with your fingers to help it spread throughout the water.

Gently lower your quilt into the water; make sure the whole quilt gets wet. Swirl your quilt gently around in the water for about 30 seconds before allowing it to soak in the water for 15 minutes.

Drain the water and refill the tub with cold water, adding 1/2 cup of white vinegar to the bath. This will help remove excess detergent while also brightening the colors.

Continue to drain and refill the tub until you see no remnants of soap.

Drying Tips

Your quilt will be very heavy when it is wet. You will want it to be supported throughout its entirety as it is drying so it will not lose its shape or have threads break.

You can put your quilt in the dryer for a few minutes to get the drying process started, but it is best to allow most of the drying to be done by natural air.

Lay your quilt flat on a rack while it is drying or even take it outside and put it in the sun.

It is important not to iron your quilt because it can cause damage.

What Not To Do When Washing Your Quilt

There are a few things you should avoid doing when washing your quilt.

First, don't fold it in such a way that any dirt or stains don't show while you are using it – that defeats the purpose of having a beautiful quilt. Do what you can to spot treat the quilt as you go along, so you don't need to do this.

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Also, don't think your quilt doesn't need to be washed — it does. Because your body comes in direct contact with your quilt, it will get dirty like any other sheets or blankets.

If you have pets in the house, they may find your quilt a perfect sleeping spot, leaving hair and dander behind. Make sure you clean it on a regular basis depending on how often you (and your furry friends) use it.

How Often Do I Need To Wash My Quilt?

Washing or dry cleaning your dirty quilt will allow it to last longer.  However, washing or dry cleaning your quilt when it is clean can actually shorten its lifespan.

If you use your quilt every day, you probably only need to wash it about twice a year. However, if you allow pets or children to come into contact with your quilt, it is better to wash it more frequently.

It is also a good idea to air your quilt out between washings. This can be done by taking it outside and allowing it to sit in the sun.

How Do I Store A Handmade Quilt?

When you are not using your quilt, store it in a dark, dry place in your house in a cotton bag. Do not store your quilt in a plastic bag because it needs to breathe.

Make sure that your quilt is clean prior to storing.

While your quilt is in storage, take it out about once a month and fold it in a different direction. This will prevent it from becoming misshapen during storage.

When you remove your quilt from storage, allow it to air out before using it.

Enjoying Your Quilt

Try not to think that washing your quilt is such a chore that you don't want to use it.

With a little preventive care, regular washings, and proper storage, you’ll find that caring for your quilt is not much more of a hassle than caring for your regular sheets and towels.

Enjoy your quilt as much as you can and wash it when needed. Doing so will allow you to pass on a beautiful family heirloom.

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