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?
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
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.