NOTE: The following information relates to quilts made by Shadywood Quilts but applies to most traditional quilts as well.
Generally, you can wash your quilt in a washing machine using cold or tepid water. If the quilt is large... queen size or larger... you might want to wash it in a front loading machine or at a laundromat in a large front loading machine.
T-Shirt quilts should be durable. We have one that has been our store sample for over 10 years, and still looks like a new quilt. Those t-shirts have probably been washed a hundred times, so those are not going to shrink or fade further.
We only use quilt shop quality fabrics for the borders and backing for our quilts. The colors shouldn't 'run'. Solid fabrics and other cheap fabrics are more likely to have problems. If you are worried about colors fading, an old time remedy is to set the colors by soaking quilt in vinegar for about 24 (or vinegar and salt) hours.
ANY time you start washing in a commercial detergent like TIDE or GAIN, you are going to start the fading process with your quilt (or any other natural fiber). We suggest that you use Shadywood Quilts Wash or ORVUS Quilt Paste for any quilt. It is a non-detergent soap, and will not cause your quilt to fade. However, once you start using a commercial detergent, the quilt will start to fade, further use of ORVUS paste won't stop the fading.
You should be able to use a dryer on low heat, or hang on clothesline. If you use Shadywood Quilts Wash or ORVUS Quilt Paste your quilt will come out soft and fresh smelling with no artificial scents. All of the detergent is washed out and your quilt will be soft and comfy. Note that the reason your quilts (or towels) are scratchy is because you have not rinsed all of the soap/detergent out.
Well, hopefully you are actually using your quilt and not storing it. But, if you must store it, there are preferred ways to store your quilt. First of all, what NOT to do.
If storing, use acid free tissue and specific storage boxes for vintage use. The BEST storage bag is a cotton pillowcase that has been laundered a gazillion times. Those ugly brown spots that you see on vintage linens occur from direct contact to the wood, hence the need for the acid free tissue, or the frequently laundered pillowcase.
I use OLD towels as a shelf liner to line storage areas. These towels have also been laundered (hundreds of times), and provide a nice layer against the wood or the cheap plastic shelf liner in your linen closet.
The jury is still out on whether using 'Space Bags" are OK. I have to confess that I have several freshly laundered (and completely dry) quilts stored in the space bags. I am waiting to see if there is any damage. What I am actually finding is that the bags don't hold their 'vacuum' and the quilts are actually just stored in plastic bags. Probably not good. However, I am pretty sure that any rogue mice or moths are not getting into quilts stored in the space bags.
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