Here are seven tips plus a bonus tip to help your treasured handmade quilts last longer:
- Only wash your quilts when needed. If they have pet fur on them or something that you can just remove with a lint roller then try to do that before putting the quilt in the washing machine. This will minimize wear and tear on the quilt.
- Wash in a front loading machine with no agitator. The agitator in older machines can often get quilts tangled up in it and rip them. Do not wash the quilts on hot water and do not use any bleach. Wash on a cold or medium water setting and use baby detergent or Tide Free because there are no dyes in the detergent.
- Tumble dry on medium heat. Do not use a hot dryer setting.
- Don’t leave the quilt in the sun or in a hot car. If your quilt sits in the back seat of your car for weeks the sun can bleach the fabric and also weaken the fibres in the fabric which can lead to the quilt tearing more easily. Keep the quilt rolled up in the trunk away from the hot sun and the heat.
- Keep the quilts away from pets. Pets have sharp teeth and claws and sometimes pets will even chew on a quilt.
- Don’t eat or drink over the quilt. This can result in spills that cause stains. If this does happen then use a stain treater like “Shout” and get the quilt into the wash right away before the stain has time to set.
- When your quilts are in storage pull them out at least every six months to fluff them up and re-fold them so they are not always folded on the same fold lines. The fold lines can eventually weaken the fibres in the fabric and the quilts can wear out faster.
For an antique quilt try to soak it in something like Soak Wash or Zero or cleaner for soaking knits that doesn’t need to be rinsed. Then very gently squeeze the water out of the quilt and lay it flat to dry on a clean sheet on a clean patch of lawn. Keep the quilt out of direct sun by using the shade of a tree or a house. Hanging the quilt to dry could cause the quilt seams to weaken and rip due to the weight of the wet quilt. Therefore, lay the quilt flat out of the sun.
I hope these tips help you to keep your handmade quilts in great shape and lasting for many years so they can be handed down for generations to come.