Quilt Care Guide
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Quilt Care Guide
How To Best Care for Handmade Quilts
Handmade quilts, throws and baby quilts began as an efficient way to reuse worn bedding, clothing and other fabrics into useful household items. Today handmade quilts continue to be not only functional as home decor but they have turned into personalized art as well as favorite gift ideas.
The following is a quick quilt care guide to help you care, select, repair and preserve these wonderful art forms!
Selecting a Handmade Quilt
What is the difference between all-cotton and polyfill handmade quilts?
All-cotton handmade quilts are heavier and take longer to dry.
What quilt can I easily toss in my washer and dryer?
Your best bet is a machine-quilted handmade quilt with polyfill, which is the lightest fill for handmade quilts and will dry the fastest.
What's the difference between USA-made and imported handmade quilts?
Quality of workmanship, time it takes to make the handmade quilt and price. USA-made handmade quilts in general take longer to make, are better quality and the best value for your investment.
What are the price ranges for different kinds of handmade quilts?
To help you make the best choice for your life style, we have developed the following easy guide to reflect how much care the various kinds of handmade quilts require, and what the going prices are in USA Midwest:
How to Wash A Handmade Quilt
First, to treat a stain on a handmade quilt, mix water and delicate laundry detergent (such as Ivory) in equal parts and "dab" mixture on the spot. Let set for a couple of minutes, then gently rub the fabric together. Apply clean new wet sponge or towel several times to remove detergent and water.
If washing the whole quilt, wash the handmade quilt in cold water and delicate laundry detergent (Woolite, Ivory, Palmolive or Dove). Set the machine on delicate/gentle or use a front-loading machine. Wash the quilt by itself with lots of water to minimize stress on hand-quilting. Bluebird Gardens also offers Quilt Cleaning Kits that include specialized quilt soap for delicate textiles, all natural fabric spot and stain remover and Quilt Fresh to refresh old handmade quilts without washing in water.
To set fabric colors in a new handmade quilt, add 1/2 cup of white vinegar to wash water. White vinegar sets dark colors and keeps colors bright and fresh. Rinse in cold water. Yes, you can still use fabric softener!
How to Wash an Old Quilt
Don't unless it is absolutely necessary. Often handmade quilts are damaged by someone trying to clean a spot with a product that s too strong for quilt fibers. Weigh the risk - a few spots willadd to the handmade quilt's character.
If you still need to wash an old or vintage quilt: first test a small area in a corner or inconspicuous place to determine fabric texture and how well fabric holds its color. Use a few drops of mild detergent like Ivory mixed in a cup of cold water. Soak the spot in the mixture. Rinse in cold water. Towel dry by pressing the quilt between absorbent towel layers. Dry flat.
If fabric texture and colors appear unaffected, immerse entire quilt in cold water in a bathtub and add Ivory soap. Allow to soak a few minutes.
Rinse until soap is removed. Do NOT wring.
Dry flat on absorbent fabric towels. May take a couple of days to dry. Keep out of direct sun. Do NOT line dry. Do NOT dry in a dryer. Dryer heat may destroy or further weaken fibers and handquilting.
How To Dry A Handmade Quilt
The best way to dry a handmade quilt is to dry flat. Never line dry! Second best is to dry on low heat for the first few minutes. Lay flat to finish air drying. The weight of wet fabric will stress the piecework and handquilting, eventually minimizing your handmade quilts life.
If you don't have an obvious flat area, be creative:
- Lay it flat outside on a king size sheet with quilt backing side up. Stay away from overhanging trees and other stain sources.
- Drape the quilt on a sheet over the top of a car, on the floor of a deck or on the back of a trailer.
- This extra step is worth the effort. Besides preserving the quilt, you will have a wonderful smelling quilt when it is dry!
When To Dry Clean A Handmade Quilt
Not very often. The chemicals used in dry cleaning can damage your handmade quilt by breaking down fabric fibers. If your handmade quilts are made of sturdy wool or silk, dry cleaning may be appropriate. Check with your local dry cleaning service to see if your cleaner is willing to do it by hand. Ask in advance to make sure the cleaner understands what you expect. Mark the stained or difficult areas with a safety pin.
Dry cleaning is best for some all-white handmade quilts to preserve fabric and original color.
Pet Fur On A Quilt?
Gently shake handmade quilts out a window or door to remove pet hair. (Be careful who is standing below or down-wind!)
Use a lint rollers, pet hair mittens or sticky tape to remove hair deposits. Soft wet sponge wrung dry and wiped gently over the surface of denim, dark cottons and polyester handmade quilts also works well.
You can always toss the quilt in dryer on cool heat for a very few minutes with fabric softener to remove the majority of the collection. Make sure no pets are included...!
Pet Fur On A Quilt more
Here's another one of our fun personalized gift ideas: Save some pet hairs in an envelope or plastic bag. Send to traveling friends or loved ones who are missing their pets. A note saying "any remaining pet hair should have worn off by now so here's a supply to sprinkle back on" should generate a few smiles!
After a handmade quilt is cleaned, consider draping a sheet or more utilitarian quilt over the quilts to minimize further hair deposits.
Taking Care of Quilt Stains
Cleaning one area may result in a lighter ring around the stain. If you insist, start with a solution of mild laundry detergent and water: apply a few drops on the spot, then rub gently with a sponge. Spray or sprinkle water on the spot several times to rinse and blot each time with a towel until all soap is removed. Let air dry. Use an all natural fabric spot and stain remover that's part of our Bluebird Gardens exclusive Quilt Clean Kit. If stain is permanent, and you are handy with a needle, applique something appropriate over the spot. If the stain is small, applique a matching or contrasting pattern that fits the handmade quilt's patchwork and stain. You can also applique or attach fabric with someone's name and a date embroidered on it. Or, embroider a flower or some other shape in the same color thread to distract the eye from the spot.
How To Store A Handmade Quilt
Do NOT store handmade quilts in plastic, cardboard boxes or trunks.
One of the best places to store handmade quilts is ON a bed. Have a guest room that's not used frequently? Store handmade quilts on top of each other with a bedspread over the pile to protect them from fading and light exposure.
Rotate handmade quilts periodically to air them out. Doesn't hurt to place them outside in sun with top down to prevent fading.
If you store them on an unused bed, it's an easy way to give your home decor a different look!
Wrap your stored handmade quilts in cotton; old sheets and pillow cases do nicely.
Do not store them in plastic.
You can also roll handmade quilts like a sleeping bag - very gently - or fold them. When folding, fold loosely to prevent creases. Stuff the creases with acid-free tissue. Every few months, unwrap handmade quilts and let it air for a couple of days, then refold in a different shape to minimize creasing.
Only if handmade quilts are made out of wool or silk . And don't let moth balls touch the handmade quilts! Store the moth balls in a coffee filter or cotton bag tied with a ribbon to keep them away from touching the fabrics.
How to Display A Quilt
The easiest way is on a bed in a guest bedroom away from direct sunlight or odors to preserve fabric colors and textile integrity. Yes, handmade quilts can be damaged by the odors they absorb so keep them away from kitchens and bathrooms, too.
Handmade quilts make unique home decor as quilted wall hangings and accent pieces. To hang handmade quilts, tack a 3" strip of fabric by hand onto the back top side. There are also variety of dowels available on the market so guesstimate the weight of the handmade quilts before deciding what rod to purchase. Make sure the rods are installed on studs (located 16" apart) for structural stability.
Don't hang handmade quilts by corners - puts too much stress on the handwork.
Another option to hang handmade quilts is to hand tack a strip of velcro onto the back, careful not to let the stitches show on the front. Then glue the other side of the velcro onto a 2" wide piece of wood and attach wood to the wall where the quilt is to hang. Glue and reinforce with screws, particularly if the quilt is heavy. Then attach the quilt to the velcro.
Hanging quilt racks are also a convenient and easy way to display handmade quilts. They are available in a variety of woods and sizes.
Bluebird Gardens offers easy to install wood quilt hangers that can be used as is, painted or stained.
Also consider floor-display quilt racks such as metal quilt racks on which you quickly drape handmade quilts. These quilt racks are also available in wood and sometimes can be picked up at auctions, garage sales and used furniture stores.
Another quick home decor idea; toss handmade quilts over onto the back of sofas, divans or chairs for a quick splash of color!