September 11, 2023 5 min read

Quilts are a versatile and beautiful type of bedding that will add a warm, beautiful layer to your sleeping space and improve your overall sleep experience. If you’re wondering about the right ways to do quilt care and maintenance, you’re not alone. Whether you have a gorgeous antique or heirloom quilt passed down to you from a family member or you’re looking for a stylish new quilt, it’s crucial to make sure you’re practicing the right type of quilt care to keep your bedding in great shape. This guide has some tips and information to help you perform the best quilt maintenance possible to keep your quilt looking beautiful for many years to come.

Understanding Quilt Types

Aside from the actual material used, the type of quilt you have may affect its care and washing instructions to ensure that it maintains the proper shape and avoids fading, shrinking, and discoloration. For example, a handmade quilt may need more delicate care than one that is mass-produced. Here are some common quilt types to look for, and keep in mind that the quilt type may influence the care instructions based on several factors. Material, stitching, and batting are just some of the factors that impact a quilt’s care and what you should do when washing quilts.

  • Patchwork quilts: Virtually every quilt is some form of patchwork quilt, because of the way this bedding is made. Patchwork style means that different pieces of fabric are “patched” together to form the outer layer of the quilt.
  • Applique: An applique quilt is made by sewing smaller pieces of fabric onto a single, larger fabric base. This allows for a more unique, intricate design since the creator of the quilt can add virtually anything they like in any shape to the quilt’s design.
  • Heirloom: An heirloom quilt is one that has been passed down to generations over the years. These handmade quilts may be older, so it’s extremely important to handle them with the utmost care.
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Initial Quilt Inspection

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Inspecting a quilt properly is extremely important to ensure that it’s in good condition before you put it through the washing and drying process. Here are some tips to help you perform a thorough quilt inspection.

  • Look for loose threads around the edges and corners of the quilt, as they may get caught up in the washing machine and cause damage or eventually cause the quilt to unravel.
  • Check your quilt for signs of stains or discoloration.
  • Make sure that the quilt batting is evenly distributed between the two layers of fabric and that it is sewn to the quilt correctly, so it stays in place when it goes into the washing machine.
  • Confirm the material of your quilt so you can avoid unnecessary fabric bleeding and fabric shrinkage. The material type will greatly affect the process you should follow when washing your quilt.
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Washing and Cleaning

How often should you wash a quilt? The answer really depends on a few different factors, including whether it needs machine washing, hand washing, or dry cleaning. In most cases, you should wash your quilt once you see visible stains, or when it develops an unpleasant odor and needs to be refreshed.

Handwashing a Quilt

Antique and heirloom quilts or anything hand quilted should always be cleaned via the hand wash process since they’re particularly delicate and machine washing creates too much stress on delicate details.

  • Inspect the quilt and repair loose threads or stretched seams before you clean it.
  • Fill a large sink or bathtub with clean, cold water.
  • Add a small amount of special dye-free and perfume-free liquid detergent or quilt soap to the tub or sink.
  • Gently submerge the quilt into the water and move it around with your hands to loosen dirt.
  • Leave the quilt submerged in the water for around 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Drain the soapy water, and refill it with more fresh water, then add half a cup of distilled white vinegar to remove leftover detergent residue.
  • Swish the quilt around for another minute, then rinse it clean with one more round of cold, fresh water.
  • Gently squeeze the water out of the quilt and hang it to dry on a drying rack. You can also put the wet quilt onto some thick towels on the ground and let it air dry.

Machine Washing a Quilt

Carefully check your quilt’s care tag for any specific machine wash instructions before you begin, then follow these steps:

  • Gently rub a wet, white cloth over different areas to ensure that the quilt is colorfast and there is no color bleeding. If it’s not colorfast, you may want to take it to a professional dry cleaner.
  • Use the gentle cycle (delicate cycle) with cold water only, and add a dye-free, perfume-free gentle detergent.
  • Add a color catcher sheet to help capture dye so the colors don’t bleed.
  • Once the quilt is clean, you may air dry it or put it on tumble dry with the low heat setting.
  • Look for air drying instructions if your quilt is air-dry only and hang it on a proper drying rack.

Stain and Spot Cleaning Tips

Follow these steps to remove stains and do spot cleaning of your quilt:

  • Check both the front and the back of the quilt for signs of stains.
  • Don’t use a store bought stain remover as many of these contain harsh chemicals that could damage your quilt.
  • Dilute some white vinegar or a bit of gentle soap using equal parts distilled water.
  • Put a clean sheet or some dry towels under the quilt.
  • Soak a different cloth with the mixture, then gently agitate it on the stain without rubbing it too aggressively.
  • Rinse the area clean or blot the stain using cold water until all of the remaining soap is gone.
  • Place a piece of nylon hose over your vacuum hose to gently remove dust and debris in between spot cleanings.

Drying and Storage

Here are some drying and storage techniques to prevent damage to your quilt:

  • Try to keep your quilt flat on the bed as often as possible.
  • Keep the quilt out of direct sunlight to prevent fading.
  • Store your quilt in an area with adequate air circulation and use acid-free paper in between folded quilts or place it in a cotton bag to help prevent color bleeding.
  • Never store quilts in plastic, on top of a wood shelf, or in wooden chests, as these materials can damage your beautiful quilt over time.
  • Make sure your quilt is thoroughly dry before storing it.
  • Keep folds to a minimum to help prevent creasing and fold lines, and re-fold your quilt every so often.
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Final Thoughts on quilt care and maintenance

Before you wash a quilt, remember these important quilt care tips to ensure that your bedding stays beautiful for many years. At Or & Zon, all our quilts feature soft organic linen fabric that will keep you comfortable and cool while adding style to your bedroom. Explore our latest selection today and keep these tips in mind to ensure your quilt remains an important part of your bedroom long into the future.