How wonderful and sweet the gift of a handmade quilt is! It is the gift that can live on for a lifetime… Today we’re going to discuss how to wash and care for your quilt so that it does last a lifetime!
I’ve also included a FREE printable card with quilt instructions that you can download and print out that you can gift with your quilts! [you’ll find it at the bottom of this post!]
Many quilts can live on to be heirloom/family quilts… unless you don’t care for them properly, in which case it can end up ruined… 🙁 – But don’t let that scare you! The worst care I’ve ever seen for a quilt is being tucked away in a closet where no one will ever see it or use it! *gasp* Absolutely tragic, I tell you!
The fact is that most people who aren’t like you and me… you know… “quilters” simply don’t understand. And we can’t fault them for that, but we can educate them!
There is no way to gently tell the person that you’re giving a quilt to how MUCH WORK goes into make a quilt. Like, so much work. Hours are spent planning and shopping, prepping and cutting before you even put one single stitch into that fabric.
(I created these Honest Gift tags that add a little sass (and a lot of truth) to the handmade gift item that you’re giving! And they’re a free download too!)
Truth is, you are not doing all this hard work to have someone mistreat your
Here are a few things you need to tell your incredibly lucky new quilt owners.
1) I want you to use this quilt!
The best way to keep a quilt fresh and the fabric bouncy and non-stuffy smelling is to USE it! Keep it out in the open air and touch it. Just walk past it and pet it from time to time. Snuggle it!
This quilt is heirloom quality, meaning it will last a really long time, but please don’t seal it up and stuff it into a closet where it will never see the light of day! That is not what it was made for.
Quilts are best appreciated if you cover up with it and unwind after a long day.
2) If you have to wash it… ask yourself this…
Its totally ok to wash your quilt! (actually, gross if you thought otherwise) I have kids. For years my husband and I joked “this is why we don’t have nice things” when any of us trip or spill things… myself included. Believe me, if a quilt can survive toddler years at my house… you’re going to be just
Can I spot clean the quilt?
If you just have a little
When was the last time I washed the quilt?
Unless you’re just a really messy person or using the quilt really hard all the time… you shouldn’t need to wash your quilt more than once a year. (Yes, you read that right.)
By all means, if it smells… please wash it – or hit it with a light spray of fabreeze if you’re just not ready for a single piece more of laundry. I won’t judge.
3) Can I machine wash it?
Yes! If you’ve decided that your quilt HAS to be fully washed, then you can do it by machine.
Set your washer on the most delicate setting it has, usually “gentle cycle”. And only use cold water.
Hot water will encourage those colors to bleed and we don’t want that.
Can I put it in the dryer too?
If you have the time and space, airdrying is preferred.
However, I usually put mine in the dryer on the delicate setting and get it MOSTLY dry. I’ll pull it out while it is still a little damp and then lay it out where it can air dry the rest of the way. It seems much
4) What soap should I use?
Definitely no bleach. I shouldn’t have to say that… but you never know… so again, no bleach! You’ll want to use a mild detergent.
I’ve listed links to a few of my favorite brands and ones that I’ve seen other quilters swear by.
5) What do I do if I am worried about the Fabric Dye Bleeding?
This is never a fun experience to go through! Please make sure that if you have a really bright and colorful quilt (or do it even if you don’t have wild colors just to be safe) throw in a few Shout Color Catchers or Retayne in your wash. It is just a little insurance policy that will save your tail should the worst start to happen while the quilt is washing.
It is always a good idea to make a little quilt care package when you give it away to
Shout Color Catchers look a bit like a dryer sheet. It catches dye that bleeds into the wash water and traps it on the color catcher so it sneaky bleed into your lighter colors. Retayne helps to seal dye into the fabric.
For more info on how to stop a bleeding quilt, read this post on How to stop a bleeding quilt.
6) What if I prefer to hand-wash my quilt?
If you have a vintage quilt or a quilt that is hand quilted with applique, you’ll definitely want to hand wash to increase the lifetime of your quilt
- You will need a big tub. Fill it with cold water and gentle detergent.
- Completely submerge your quilt under the water. Agitate it gently for about 10 minutes.
- Drain the soapy water, and then refill your tub with clean cold water again.
- You can add ½ cup of distilled white vinegar to your water. The vinegar clears the quilt of any detergent residue.
- Keep rinsing with cold water until the suds are gone.
I made this PDF download. It has all your quilt care and washing suggestions handy in 8.5″ x 11″ sheet that you can print over and over and gift along with your quilt!
I’ve also included a “history of your quilt” page as well. It is a wonderful place to explain why you made the quilt or chose certain fabrics and it helps ensure that the story of the quilt will not be lost with you.
I often find that it is really tough to remember what all I wanted to say when I’m giving away a quilt… mostly because I’m just so excited to finally see the quilt in their hands that I get distracted and forget! So I’ve been trying to take a few minutes and write down what I want to say on the card. It’ll be another treasured keepsake to keep with the quilt 🙂
For more ideas on what to gift with a quilt, check out this post. 4 Important things to include when you gift a quilt.
Let me know what you think about the download and if you have any other questions! I’m happy to help!
Sandra Duvall says
Love your site, it’s so fun.
I See Stars Quilting says
Thank you! I’m so glad you’re comfortable here! 🙂
Still not able to download printout and have completed form again. Do I need to wait for an email so that I can print from the email? Thank you.
I See Stars Quilting says
After you fill out the form, you will get an email with a download link within just a few minutes. Let me know if you have any issues
I thank your for this offer. I will be looking for it.
Debbie Bloomer says
I have to add this tidbit. My mother was a quilter from way back and she cringed at hand washing! What you haven’t covered is how to get all the water out. When you pick up the quilt out of the tub you now have extra water weight which could break all those precious stitches. Personally I agree with her. Gentle cycle and a dryer are not going to hurt it. A cloths line would be ok too but who has one of those these days!!! Quilts are special, yes, but historically they were made to be used! Enjoy.
I See Stars Quilting says
Thank you so much for that added tidbit, Debbie! You’re right… every single quilter has their different opinion on how it should be cared for and loved!