Do you like displaying your quilts, or perhaps you are pulling one out for your upcoming guests? You can freshen your quilt without tossing it into the washing machine and worrying about if it will fall apart. Please find directions for freshening your quilt below.
The first thing you will want to do is look the quilt over and make sure that all the threading is still in tact and that no appliqués are lifting off. If you find that anything needs to be sewn up now is the time to do that.
Once you are done making any repairs you are now ready to remove any dust that may have collected on it. If you have a clothes rack outside, lay the quilt over the rack and lightly tap it with a broom. You might be surprised at how much dust you see flying off of your quilt. Remember to do all sides.
Another option for removing dust is to use a vacuum cleaner. I recommend doing this only if there are not a lot of embellishments on the quilt. If there are and you still wish to use a vacuum then lay down a fine mesh screen on the quilt.
Once you are done removing the dust and dirt, lay a sheet down on the grass, and lay the quilt down with another sheet over the quilt. Laying the quilt directly onto the grass can lead to the stains on your quilt, so be sure to avoid laying it directly on the grass at all times. I recommend letting it lay on one side for about an hour, and then flip it over to the other side for about an hour.
If you decide you want to try and wash your quilt please be aware you may notice your antique quilts can possibly have their colors run or disappear all together. What you will want to do is test your quilt with a damp rag. You will rub all the different prints on your quilt. Keep in mind that even though you are testing it with a damp rag, you have not saturated the quilt and it can still bleed in the washing machine even though it passed the spot testing.
Use a very mild detergent and the delicate cycle, some newer machines have an extra delicate cycle and if yours has this cycle use that. Once it has been washed, you will want to lay it out on a clean sheet with a sheet over it. Once it is laid down and covered up, get a fan blowing over it to help move the air around to dry it quicker. I recommend rotating the quit every 30 minutes. Once you are back to the spot your started with, flip the quilt over and rotate it on that side every 30 minutes. Repeat this process until your quilt is dry.
Now you can display your fresh quilt up on the wall, at the foot of the bed, tossed over a chair, or laying out on your guest bed. Don’t be scared to clean your quilts; just be aware of how to take care of them.