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  • Jenae

How to Wash a Quilt?

Steps I take for washing machine quilted quilts!

(Please take note: these steps are not recommended for hand pieced and hand quilted quilts, I would recommend washing them by hand)

Once the quilt is quilted and the binding is done, it’s time to wash it!

First of all, the number one step and most important, is making sure you have a color catcher! The brand color catcher I use is Shout. I’m not aware if there are other brands, but I’ve been using this brand for years and have been really happy with the outcome after using them.

you can purchase some here!

  • So, why is this step so important? As you know fabric is made with dye. When washed these dye’s get released from the fabric. When a quilt has many colors, especially contrasting colors like yellow and dark purple (for example) there is the likelihood that the purple fabric will bleed into the yellow. For this reason I always use a color catcher! Even if all the colors are similar, I still use one and it’s amazing to see the color that ends up on the color catcher.

Shout color catcher for washing quilts
look at the dye on the color catcher after washing!

The next step is starting the washing machine. Add your quilt, color catcher and some detergent. As far as detergent goes, try to use a mild detergent. I may use more than 1 color catcher depending on the size of quilt and how much color contrast there is.

  • What setting do I wash my quilt on? This is another important step. Make sure your washer is set for delicate. There’s no need to wash your quilt on heavy duty, you don’t want the seams and stitching on your quilt to be pulled and tugged creating distortion. So, always set the washer for the slowest setting possible.

using color catchers to wash with quilts

After it’s washed I most always dry my quilts in the dryer on the lowest temperature possible. For this example the setting would be: less dry and either no heat or ex low. I also change the setting every 10 minutes or so. I'll start it on low heat for 10 min, then do 10 on no heat, ect. The goal here is to dry it at a slower pace. High heat can cause the colors to fade. I do check the quilt often to see when it’s dry and to make sure it’s not in the dryer too long. Again keep in mind the lowest heat possible is best for your quilt.

dryer setting
picture shows dryer set at "less dry" and "no heat" to dry quilt

There have been a couple times I’ve let quits air dry. This is more time consuming and requires the space to lay your quilt out.

After washing and drying your quilt it will have that crinkly look and feel!

You will also notice some shrinking.


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1 Comment

Bonnie Beloussow
Bonnie Beloussow
Oct 15, 2023

I am so glad I saw your blog before I washed my RED, black and WHITE quilt. I followed your methods and the color catchers were Pink after washing the quilt. I would have been devastated if my white was pink! Thank you so much! :-]

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