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Dry Cleaning Quilts?

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Jenia posted on Thu, Dec 19 2013 10:33 AM

There's a discussion on a hand quilting group on Facebook that I would like to also post here.

Someone asked about washing vintage quilts and I brought up the fact that I have all my quilts dry cleaned.  It appears that this is a no-no.  I had no idea I was harming my quilts.  I have always taken them to the cleaners this goes for the new quilts I make and the old ones given to me by my Granny and Great Granny.

I always thought this would be better than washing them, but I am now told that the chemicals used in dry cleaning will do more harm than the washing machine....I am scared to death that I have ruined my quilts.

I don't use my quilts every day, they are usually hung or used in guest bedrooms (that is until guests show up when I change them out to normal comforters and such).  We have dogs that sleep with us, so there is no way a hand made quilt will ever be used on my bed.  So, the quilts I have had have only been cleaned once or twice (for the oldest ones from the 1980's maybe 3 times).

Have I ruined them forever?  Will this chemical reaction show up later and prematurely deteriorate my fabrics?  They sure seem to come back the from the cleaners nice and fresh, and I haven't seen any unusual wear in any of them.

When I was in my 20's I once machine washed a log cabin quilt given to me by my Granny and the colors ran (red into white) and I was devastated.  That's why I have always dry cleaned after that horrible incident.

Is there a special cleaning service that can be used for quilts?

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Susan replied on Thu, Dec 19 2013 11:48 AM

Jenia, They sell catch-alls for washing with your quilts so the colors do not run. Wash in cold water on delicate cycle and dry on low until damp . Hang to dry, the catch alls you can buy at the supermarket. If you have deep colors such as reds use more than one.  Susan

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Adding white vinegar to the cold water (or any) wash prevents bleeding.  A cup or so per load.  Don't worry, the smell goes down with the water.

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