How To Clean A Quilt

You should be very cautious about cleaning a quilt, particularly an antique one. Here are a couple of suggestions on cleaning methods depending on the particular situation.


If you just want to freshen a quilt or other textile project and get off the surface dirt, spread a sheet out on your floor. Put the quilt on the sheet and use something to weight it down. Cover the upholstery attachment of your vacuum with a piece of old nylon, and secure it with a rubber band. Vacuum your quilt on low, one-quarter at a time. When you have finished the top, repeat the procedure with the bottom.

Dry Cleaning

Dry cleaning can ruin a quilt! If you are going to have this done, talk to a local museum and ask them to refer you to a dry cleaner who specializes in quilt cleaning.

Wet Cleaning

There are several commercial products that claim to be safe for wet cleaning (washing) of quilts. Sometimes these severely damage your quilt. If you do wet cleaning, keep it to a minimum.  Try to find a professional quilt cleaner. But if you try this yourself, be sure to use a non-ionic detergent and give yourself plenty of time because this is a slow process. YOU SHOULD NEVER ATTEMPT TO WET WASH A QUILT UNLESS THE FABRIC IS STRONG AND IS COLORFAST.

Dye test all fabrics before doing anything. Use a soft, clean cloth or cotton swab. Wet the cloth and press it against the fabric to determine if the dye is fast. If not, STOP! Repeat the process using a solution with detergent. If the colors are fast, follow the directions on the detergent container to wash your quilt.


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Title:  How To Clean A Quilt
Author:  Deborah Roberts
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