How to Care for a Quilt

A quilt is basically a bed covering made of two layers of material or fabric with a layer of padding in between. The fabrics are all stitched firmly together, usually in a decorative crisscross design. Designing a quilt is an art. A handmade quilt for example, is something that should be preserved not only for the comfort it gives but also for the technical skill involved in making it.

How to Take Care of Your Quilt

Quilts are made of various fabrics, some of them more fragile than others over time, and thus need to be taken proper care of. Follow a few basic tips to take care of all your quilts, whether you are handling, storing, or cleaning them.

Tips on handling quilts:

•You must always wash your hands or wear cotton gloves while handling your quilts.
•You must never eat, drink or smoke around the quilts.
•You must keep quilts on clean and dry surfaces.

Tips on storing quilts:

•You must store your quilts in a cool, dark, dry place. Avoid storing quilts in the attic as attics have very poor ventilation. Do not store quilts in the basement, as basements are very humid.
•You must keep your quilts out of the direct rays of the sun. The ultraviolet rays of the sun are responsible for breaking down fabric dyes and speeding up the oxidation of fibers.
•You must ensure that the quilts are kept away from insects and mice.
•The best way to store quilts is in acid-free boxes or papers. However, they can also be folded in clean cotton sheets or washed.
•You need to ensure that you do not pile too many folded quilts on top of each other. Also the quilts need to be unfolded and refolded every three to six months to avoid extreme creasing.
•You must avoid storing the quilts in plastics as they contain dangerous vapors, which might deteriorate the fabric.
•Wooden boxes can also be used for storage provided they are sealed with a defensive covering of polyurethane varnish, and then lined with unbleached, washed muslin or acid-free paper.
•You must avoid storing your quilts in newspapers and cardboard boxes, as they are full of damaging decomposing agents.

Tips on cleaning the quilts:

•The best way to clean the quilt is by vacuuming. The usual method is to lay it out on a big, dirt free surface and then tenderly move a low-suction, handheld vacuum with a small brush accessory over the quilt.
•You can also wash the quilt by the wet-cleaning method. However, it must be avoided unless handled by an expert. If you must wash it yourself, you must first test wash a small portion to check whether the dye is running out or the fabric is getting spoiled or not. You need to use a very mild detergent and a container that can take care of the entire quilt at one go.
•You must not use too much force while washing. Instead, you need to rinse the quilt gently with the palm of your hands.
•Once the washing is over, the quilt must be lifted with both arms to distribute the weight evenly. You should never lift it by one corner.
•The quilt must be laid flat to dry on a clean non-porous surface.
•You must avoid dry cleaning cotton quilts. This is essential as dry cleaning agents are chemicals that are believed to be carcinogenic (causing cancer) in nature. The various chemicals used for dry cleaning will get inside the padding and remain there.

Once you have finished washing your quilt, the next step is to dry it. You can just throw the good quality quilts in the dryer and expose them to a regular warm cycle like we do with all our clothes. If it is very delicate, you might want to dry it naturally in the air. However, as already mentioned, quilts must never be placed under direct sunlight.

So, guard your quilt and its fabric carefully! It’s an heirloom in the making!