Storing Quilts and Linens

Quilts and linens should be treated delicately if you want them to remain in excellent condition. A handmade quilt and some linens are often expensive. You might even have the ones your grandmother made. Whether they are heirlooms or brand-new always handle them with care. Most of the time quilts and linens will suffer extensive damage due to the owner’s lack of knowledge on how to take care of the item.

The most common forms of damage include staining, creasing and fabric deterioration. Exposure to sunlight and the usage of harsh chemicals may also weaken the fibers of the fabric.

The best way to clean a quilt is with a vacuum. This will decrease all exposure to harsh chemicals but will clean the quilt. Always clean the quilt before storing.

If the quilt has been used and is soiled you may wash it in a large tub of lukewarm water with a very mild soap. Be sure to rinse thoroughly and remove all of the soap. Soap residue can attract more dirt and may leave stains.

After cleaning the quilts and linens dry them thoroughly. You will need to lay them flat on a clean surface, Make sure they are thoroughly dried because mold and mildew may form if you store the item and it is till damp.

If your quilt is to be stored away the best method to avoid creasing is to roll the quilt. Quilts and linens may also be folded. In both cases, you should pad the item with acid-free tissue paper or a large piece of unbleached muslin. Acid-free products may be found in various art and craft supply stores. After padding, the items should be stored in acid-free tubes or boxes, or muslin pillowcases. Don’t store these items in basements or attics where humidity may be high and the temperatures fluctuate.

If you do have to fold a quilt or linen for storage, after a period of time they will develop a permanent crease. Creases will weaken the fabric and may eventually cause damage. If you do have to fold them do not weight them down with heavy objects which may cause further damage. Once a year, air out the quilts and linens to let the fabric refresh and breathe. After airing, refold them a different way so creases will be less likely to form.

If you need to press (or iron) a quilt or linen to remove creases, do not place the iron directly on the fabric. Place a towel on top of a quilt and lightly steam with an iron. Linens should only be pressed from the wrong side and with a press cloth laying on top of the item.

Preventative measures when storing and caring for these delicate items will help ensure they remain intact and in beautiful condition for a lifetime.