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Quilt Care


Provide information on how to store, wash and remove stains for quilts.



Hand Wash


Test for colorfastness.


Get a wet piece of white cloth or cotton swab and gently rub each color of fabric. If any color transfer occurs, washing will permanently distort the quilt.


Fill bathtub with cold water, 1/2 cup of vinegar and gentle laundry soap. Vinegar will brighten colors and soften the quilt.


Gently move quilt around in the water. Allow to soak an additional 10 minutes.


Drain soapy water from bathtub and refill with clean cold water.


Repeat step 4 until quilt is free from soap. Water is clear with no suds.

Machine Wash


Use a washing machine that has the capacity to clean your quilt. Large quilts may need a commercial size machine. Don't use a machine with a center stem.


Use cold water, mild detergent (free from perfumes, brighteners, and bleach) and 1/2 cup vinegar.


Choose a gentle or hand wash cycle.

Vintage Quilts


Quilts are considered antique if they are 50+ years old. Washing should be considered as a last resort.

Do not dry clean or machine wash an heirloom quilt. The chemicals are too harmful and the agitation action can shred the fibers.


Air out the quilt.


Inside, lay on a bed to air out.

Outside, place on a cotton sheet on the grass out of direct sunlight.

Only small quilts should be hung on a clothsline.


Vacuum with a nylon stocking over the end of the vacuum hose.


Wash Quilt by hand.

Stain Removal

Removing Pet Hair


Simple yellow sponge or Dampened cloth-like paper towels. Brush gently across quilt

Removing Wood Stains


If hand washing doesn't remove stains, Fill tub with stain removing solution and soak for 10 minutes.


Drain and repeat until stains are gone.

Removing White Chalk or Gray Pencil Marks


White chalk can be brushed with a clean toothbrush or dap cloth. Pencil marks can be removed with a gum eraser.


Wet quilts are very heavy, improperly handling and drying a quilt can result in broken seams, damage to the fabric fibers and popped stitches.


Use a clean sheet like a sling to remove quilt from water. Allow water to drain.


Place quilt on a bed of heavy towels.


Cover quilt with more heavy towels.


Roll up quilt to absorb water.


Move quilt to a new bed of towels.


Spread out flat and allow to dry.


If you have space, you can lay outside on the grass with a sheet on the top and bottom of quilt. Do not lay in direct sunlight.

Outside, place on a cotton sheet on the grass out of direct sunlight.

If drying inside, use a fan to speed drying.

Quilts can be put into a dryer. Use low/cool dryer setting to partially dry. Remove immediately from the dryer when cycle is complete and lay flat to completely dry.


If you're storing a recently laundered quilt, allow an extra 48 hours drying time before storing.

Best place to store a quilt is on a spare bed, preferable king size. Just place a clean sheet between quilts.

If you are not able to lay the quilt flat to store, you need to put them into a container that is cotton, muslin acid free paper or a box marked with a #5 or PP (polypropylene).

Displayed quilts on a quilt rack should be refolded often to distribute the pressure.).

If your only option is to store the quilt in a wooden box or dresser, wrap it in acid-free tissue, clean sheet or polyester batting. The oils in the wood can stain and damage your quilt.

Do not store quilts in an attic or basement because the moisture and temperature levels are more ideal for mold and mildew.

Air out stored quilts at least once per year. Refold differently than the previous year when restoring.. This will prevent permanent creases.


Quilts should be washed as seldom as possible. If a quilt becomes dirty it will lengthen its life to clean it. But it is good not to clean a quilt that is not dirty. When cleaning and storing a quilt be as careful as possible to ensure the fibers and stitching is not damaged.



Mild Soap - A soap that does not contain any perfumes, brighteners and bleach



3 Clean Sheets

3 sets of dry towels


Mild Soaps:

Orvus Quilt Soap

Retro Wash

Stain Removers:

Grandma's Secret Spot Remover


Other Resources

Quilt Label


Caring for Your Quilts by Hallye Bone Textile conservation, repair and storage (Kansas City Star Books)

Quilt Restoration: A Practical Guide by Camille Dalphond Cognac


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