What else can I do to wash my quilt?

I thought I’d share an email exchange I had with a customer about her desire to wash her quilt. It definitely showcases the many things to take into consideration when caring for your quilt.

I was asked: Is there any other way to clean an old quilt besides the wet or vacuum cleaning methods?  Is there a dry shampoo I could use, or a powder?  The quilt is from the 40\’s or 50\’s and the material and thread are  deteriorating.  It sure could use some type of cleaning. It is pretty dingy and fragile. 

This sort of question reveals that there is no magic answer! Don’t we all wish we could have a magic wand to return a quilt to it’s original state?

When caring for a quilt, you have to determine your long term goals for this quilt.  If you want to use it and enjoy it versus if you want to preserve it or its value will determine the best way to care for your quilt. The answer to this question and its overall condition will guide you in proceeding. Ask yourself what you want out of this quilt. It may be that the quilt can be cleaned and used. It may be that its fragile state or historical/sentimental value is too great to risk cleaning it. Or perhaps it would be worth it to you to find a properly certified quilt restorer to bring it back to its original condition.  There is no one answer that is right for anyone.

There really is no other cleaning product that we can recommend beyond our Quilt Clean. However, another technique to try would be to lay the quilt on a white cotton sheet on the lawn and cover it with another white sheet on a sunny day. This helps with odor and general mustiness.

If you want to continue to enjoy your quilt as a family heirloom, the best advice would be to leave it in it’s current condition. Enjoy it for the condition that it is in. Proper storage techniques would help preserve it for future generations. Just leaving it lying flat on a guest bed out of direct sunlight is the best option. If it must be folded or put away, re-fold it in different places every few months and keep it in a 100% cotton pillowcase.
If your quilt is in fairly good condition, gently washing it with our Quilt Clean in a bathtub is the best option. If the quilt is fragile at all, vacuuming it and properly storing it is the best thing to do.
Enjoy your older quilt for what it is now. Focus on it’s good qualities and memories, rather than lamenting its sorry state.
And keep that quilt in mind, as you handle today’s newer quilts! Teach your children the value of a quilt and how to ensure that the quilt you’ve made them today lasts in great condition!