• Advice from a Dry Cleaner- How to Clean a Handmade Quilt?

    How to Clean A Handmade Quilt – Advice From A Dry Cleaner

    Quilts are perfect in the winter; they add warmth to the bed as a blanket or warmth to the walls as decor.  Cleaning a Quilt is a little more difficult than cleaning a standard blanket.   A quilt that is mass-produced and purchased from a commercial retailer can be cleaned as directed on the care label.  Hand and machine artisan quilts (home-made) are quite different and require a more hands-on approach.  Antique and heirloom quilts are the most delicate of the three types.

    How often should my hand-made quilt be cleaned?

    Artisan quilts should be cleaned once per year, two or three times if a pet sleeps in the bed at night or your quilt happens to be a stain magnet.  Antique and heirloom quilts should be cleaned even less often due to their delicate nature.

    As always, the best way to care for any quilt is to take it to a Professional Dry Cleaners like Champion Cleaners in Birmingham, Alabama.

    You can do it yourself so here is our DIY Advice for Cleaning Your Quilt.  Be aware that many dry cleaners will not clean hand-made quilts or any quilt without a care label so don’t be surprised if you get a rejection from your dry cleaner.  Not having a care label is an automatic rejection due to the liability the dry cleaner may incur with something valued as a family heirloom.

    So how do I clean a quilt at home?

    1.            Test for colorfastness. Take white fabric and moisten it.  Rub on all the colored parts of the quilt.  If any color shows on the white fabric, then the colors will run if washed traditionally.  Take this quilt to a Professional Dry Cleaners.

    2.            If the white fabric stays clean, fill a large sink or clean bathtub with cold water.  Use a gentle laundry detergent, preferably with no dyes or fragrances.

    3.            Agitate gently and allow to soak for 10 minutes, longer for heavy soil.

    4.            Drain tub and refill with clean water; repeat until the water is clear and no longer suds.

    5.            When the water is clear, drain the tub and fashion a sling from a clean white sheet.

    6.            Carefully drape the quilt over a sling and allow to drain.  Layout towels on the floor, Lay quilt flat on top of towels and cover with an additional layer of towels.

    7.            Roll towels and quilt together to squeeze out water.  Repeat till fairly dry.

    8.            Place yet another layer of towels down and again lay the quilt flat.  Allow to sit until completely dry.  Note:  A quilt feels dry on the outside may not actually be fully dry.  The batting on the inside of the quilt can still be moist.  Placing a fan in the room can help speed up drying time.  This process may require several days to completely dry.  You may also need to turn the quilt over to allow it to thoroughly dry.

    9.            Another option is to dry the quilt outside.  Place a clean sheet on the ground and lay the quilt on top.  Cover with an additional clean sheet.  Allow to lay flat until dry. Note:  Never hang a quilt to dry.  The quilt will be very heavy when wet and hanging can and will cause stitches to pull or break and the piecing will become misshapen.

    Never machine wash a handmade quilt.  The agitation, even on the gentle cycle is far too rough for a quilt.

    That’s a lot of work!

    It really is.  There are a lot of areas that Home Quilt Cleaning can go wrong.  For this reason, we always suggest taking any quilt, or garment of value, to your Local, Professional Dry Cleaners for Expert Care and Cleaning.