How to Wash and Dry Your Quilt

Jul 26, 2021

Ah, Quilts! A majority of our society simply just does not understand the importance and the connectivity of a quality quilt. Most folks just assume that quilts are bought completely finished, made in a factory, like blankets that you get from a Home Goods store.

In our universe, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. You, the avid quilter, spent days, weeks, months, years working on your creation. You went to Stitchin’ Heaven (we hope), and patiently picked out the fabrics, bought the patterns and the tools. Your overall production just in materials cost you well over a couple hundred dollars. You the toiled in your sewing room or at your kitchen table and dedicated again hours upon hours, creating a masterpiece for your collection of greatness.

Now, after you have had this beautiful and meaningful quilt, maybe for some time now, the moment every quilter dreads has arrived. Sparky drooled on your quilt, or the grandchild snuck in the living room and accidentally left pizza stains on the corner. No worries, it happens, and we expect it to at some point. 

What do you do now, how do you clean something so delicate and personal? You think “Am I ok to just wash this quilt…what if it gets torn up in the washer.” We understand your fears and well decided to share with you a few tips and secrets. Read on and let your worries be gone.

How to Properly Wash and Dry Your Favorite Quilts

How often should you wash your quilt?

The most straightforward answer to this question is as infrequent as you can. If your house is pet free and or childfree, you may be one of those quilters that can get away with washing your quilt once a year. However, those of you with a quilt that is used often, use your discretion and follow the steps below.

Woman washing quilt in washing machine

How to wash your quilt the right way?

1.      Inspect – Before you go about cleaning your quilt, be sure to give it a proper “go over.” Go over it carefully to ensure that there are no loose threads or stretched seams that may need some quick special attention and loving. Make these tender repairs while your quilt is still dry.

2.      Washing – Are you gonna hand wash or machine wash?

a.      Machine Washing – Set your washing machine cycle to “gentle” with cold water. Use gentle detergents. To deter bleeding of your colors, add some Shout Color Catchers which catch dye that has washed into the was water. Another bleeding remedy is that of Retayne, a chemical that locks the dye into the fabrics…(super cool). I use it on my tee-shirts, and they keep their colors a lot longer.

b.      Hand Washing – It is highly recommended that you hand wash all quilts that have been hand quilted, are of age or considered “vintage” or appliqued by hand.

1. Make sure your sink or tub is spotless of dirt, grime, or debris.

2. Fill up the sink or tub with cold water and “dye/perfume free” detergents.

3. Place quilt in tub/sink and fully submerge.

4. Disturb gently for 10 minutes then drain the tub of its soapy contents.

5. Place quilt in tub/sink and fully submerge.

6. Agitate gently for 10 minutes then drain the tub of its soapy contents.

7. Refill with fresh cold water

8. Add 1 cup of distilled white vinegar to the water (By doing this you are clearing much of the residue left behind from the detergent all while softening the quilt to keep its bright colors.

9. Repeat the above proves until the clean water is suds-free. 

Ok, I washed it. What about drying my quilt?

Machine Drying:

1.      Low Heat – Your quilt is delicate and requires you to use as little heat as possible. Don’t thoroughly dry your quilt in the dryer, just tumble it on low to its damp and then pull it out to air dry it.

2.      Air Dry – Air drying is the most recommended method of drying. Because your quilt maybe heavy you’ll want to make sure that you support it properly or laying it flat. You do not want to bust any seams. If you have a quilt dry rack, use this as it’s the easiest. Otherwise, make sure your quilt is gently rung out and lay it on a bed piled with lots of towels.

There ya have it. We love this hobby and are so proud of the creation that we spent hours working on. Now, by using the above cleaning tips, your quilts will be around for all to enjoy for years to come.

Children laughing and enjoying patchwork quilt