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Easy Guide to Washing, Drying & Storing Quilts

You’ve spent much time and effort on your quilt, and it’s become a cherished piece in your home. But like any other household item, it gets dirty and needs cleaning. But how do you wash a quilt without damaging it?

Washing a quilt is more complex than tossing it in the washing machine and hoping for the best. There’s a method to it, and we’re here to guide you. Whether it’s an antique quilt passed down through generations or a new one you’ve just bought, we have the tips and tricks to keep it looking its best.

So, let’s dive in and discover how to wash a quilt, ensuring it remains a treasured piece in your home for years. With some care and attention, your quilt can stay as vibrant and beautiful as the day you first fell in love.

Preparing the Quilt for Washing

Begin your quilt-washing journey with a thorough pre-wash inspection. Your goal here is to spot any torn or loose patches. You’ll also want to look for stains from prolonged use or spills. Stains are pesky and require extra attention during the washing process. You may also detect loose threads and weak seams; treat those with care, too!

In the case of an antique quilt, tread extra cautiously. Observe whether the fabric is frail or the color is prone to fading or running. Note any metallic embellishments or heavy stitching in your inspection. These delicate details are usually hand-done, making them even more susceptible to damage in the washing machine.

Remember, quilt washing is not an everyday chore. Your washing frequency will depend on how much use your quilt gets. A thorough clean every 4-6 months is advisable if you’re using it daily. Decorative or occasional quilts, however, can be washed annually. Keep this schedule, but be flexible to adjust for dirt buildup or stains.

Following this checklist will help you maintain your quilt’s vibrancy and beauty. So, here’s your challenge: Get into the habit of giving your quilt a once-over each time before it’s due for a wash. It’s a small investment of time that pays off in the long run by enhancing the lifespan of your cherished quilt.

Checking the Quilt for Special Care Instructions

Not all quilts are washed the same way. Examining your quilt for special care instructions is essential to your pre-wash routine. Manufactured quilts often come with unique instructions to ensure proper care. These are usually sewn onto the quilt or included on the packaging. Antique or handmade quilts, on the other hand, may lack these guidelines. If that’s the case, you’ll need to rely on your knowledge of fabrics and careful evaluation to determine the best cleaning method.

You may find that your quilt has a care tag. Much like the ones found on clothing, these tags provide a treasure trove of laundering information. The symbols found here can guide you on proper washing and drying methods. If the tag suggests hand washing, following this instruction is crucial to avoid damaging your quilt. Drying symbols are equally important. They’ll help you understand whether the quilt can handle a spin in the dryer or is better suited for air-drying.

Be extra cautious when dealing with antique quilts. Due to their age and delicacy, they typically require more gentle cleaning approaches, according to Iowa State University’s Answer Line. If they’re adorned with hand-done embellishments or made with delicate fabrics, consider consulting a textile preservation expert before proceeding. They can offer advice tailored to your quilt’s specific needs and structure.

In the absence of any explicit instructions or if you’re unsure, it’s always a good idea to default to a gentle wash cycle and air drying. Remember, quilt care is a form of heirloom preservation. So, every effort we make to learn how to clean a quilt properly is an investment in the lifetime of this cherished textile.

Choosing the Right Detergent

Choosing a suitable detergent can be a critical factor when washing your quilts. Different detergent ingredients can react differently with various types of fabric, affecting the color, texture, and longevity of your precious quilt. What you need is a detergent that’s mild on your quilt but tough on dirt.

Opt for Quilt-Friendly Detergents

Wouldn’t you prefer a product designed with quilts in mind when cleaning your quilts? Several detergent brands in the market today offer quilt-friendly options. These products are often free from harsh chemicals, being gentler on the fibers of your quilt.

Avoid Brightening Agents

It is crucial to understand that detergents with brightening agents can adversely affect your quilt. These chemicals can lead to premature color fading. Imagine washing your vibrant, multi-color quilt to find the colors dull and faded—a heartbreaking sight. To avoid this, look for detergents labeled as free from brightening agents.

When considering a brand, remember to read the label in detail. Not all container labels might announce “safe for quilts.” You may need to read and understand the ingredients list. It’s best to avoid detergents containing bleach, heavy perfumes, or dyes. All these can damage your quilt’s delicate fibers.

Environment-Friendly Choices

In the spirit of being gentle to your quilt and our planet, consider choosing eco-friendly detergents. Many brands offer plant-based detergents free from harmful chemicals and quickly biodegradable. They clean just as effectively, ensuring you don’t have to compromise on your quilt’s cleanliness.

Thus, your choice of detergent plays a huge role when washing quilts. Take your time, do your research, and choose carefully! The right choice can prevent potential color fades and fabric damage and keep your quilt safe for generations.

Washing the Quilt

Preparation is key when it comes to washing your quilt. Before you start, check the care label for specific washing instructions. If your quilt is particularly dirty, it’s best to spot-clean it before immersing it in water. A soft toothbrush combined with a tiny amount of your carefully chosen quilt-friendly detergent can work wonders for this. Be sure not to rub or scrub excessively, as this may cause damage.

Further, consider the size and weight of your quilt. Washing a larger, heavier quilt at a professional laundromat is safer. Their industrial-sized washers can handle big jobs better than most home machines. On the other hand, you can easily wash a smaller, lighter quilt at home, saving both time and money.

Be mindful of water temperature. Cold water is your safest bet. It’s compelling enough to clean your quilt without risking damage or shrinkage to the fabric. Never use hot water; it can set stains and cause colors to run.

Next up is the actual washing process. Use your washing machine with a ‘gentle’ or ‘delicate’ option. The less agitation, the better. Load your quilt alone, without other laundry. This prevents color bleeding onto other items and allows the quilt to move freely.

Keep in mind that even the most quilt-friendly detergents should be used sparingly. If you’re wondering how much is too much, half the recommended amount for a regular load should be your go-to quantity. Abstain from using fabric softener, as it can cause residue buildup and affect the texture of your quilt.

Lastly, once the wash cycle is complete, rinse your quilt well. If your machine has an extra rinse cycle option, don’t hesitate to use it. This helps wash all detergent out, as leftover residue can attract dirt and stains.

Next, we will discuss properly drying your quilt to retain its vibrancy and longevity. This exciting segment promises to equip you with the essential know-how to keep your quilts at their best.

Drying and Storing the Quilt

With the washing phase over, it’s time to focus on drying your precious quilt correctly. Given the work and love that goes into creating quilts, ensuring each step is cared for is crucial to maintaining their beauty and integrity.

Air drying is the most recommended method for drying quilts. Find a shady spot and lay your quilt flat on a clean sheet. Avoid drying your quilt in direct sunlight, as it can cause its vibrant colors to fade. Please leave it to air dry for as long as needed, turning it over occasionally to ensure it dries evenly. If you’re short on space, draping it over a drying rack also works well, but remember – the less folded it is, the better.

Let’s talk about storing your quilt. Unfavorable storage conditions can lead to various quilting nightmares, including color bleeding and fabric deterioration. A refreshing tidbit here – you don’t need fancy storage solutions to keep your quilts safe.

First, never store your quilts in plastic bags or cardboard boxes – these can trap moisture and lead to mildew. Instead, wrap your quilt in a clean cotton sheet or pillowcase. This ensures that your quilt will have room to breathe. Secondly, it should be stored in cool and dry places, away from direct sunlight, dust, and insects. If you must stack them, rotate the quilts once in a while to prevent permanent creases from setting in. Finally, consider investing in quilt racks or mesh shelves – they’re great for displaying and storing quilts and are a stylish addition to any room decor.


So, you’ve got the scoop on how to wash your quilt and maintain its charm. Remember, it’s all about gentle care and proper drying. Air drying is your best bet; find a shady spot and turn it occasionally. When it comes to storage, keep it cool and clean. Cotton sheets or pillowcases can be your quilt’s best friend. And remember quilt racks or mesh shelves for display. Now, you’re ready to tackle any quilt-cleaning challenge that comes your way.

Clotheslyne: A Professional Laundry Solution

For those who prefer professional laundry care, Clotheslyne provides an ideal solution. Through the app, you can hire Clotheslyners for expert laundry services, including washing, drying, and folding of clothes and bulky items.

Choosing Clotheslyne ensures your laundry is handled with care and expertise. It’s convenient for those who value their time and prefer professional laundry services.

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You can also schedule your laundry pick up through our web portal.

Fill up a tall kitchen bag full of clothes. A Clotheslyner in your community will pick it up and deliver it back to you washed, dried, and folded in 48 hours. It’s that simple.

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