Hand Washing Your Quilt


Some quilts require special care. If your quilt needs a touch of TLC, consider hand washing.

Stooping over bathtubs has given hand washing a bad rap. Suffer no more!

Try this stoop-free method for hand washing your beloved treasure.


Before you start, consider these things:

  • Are the fabrics colorfast?
  • What type of materials are used in the quilt? Batting, fabrics, adhesives (if any)
  • What construction and embellishment methods were used in the quilt? Applique, painting, embroidery
  • Is the washing machine clean and residue free?

Step One: Prep

  • Fill the washing machine with cold or tepid water. 
  • Add soap to the water.
  • Turn the machine on briefly to dissolve and mix the soap. 

About soap: Use pH neutral soaps, no bleach, brighteners, fragrances, or softeners.

  • Turn the machine off.

Step Two: Add Quilt

  • Place the quilt in the washing machine.
  • Distribute the quilt evenly in the machine.
  • Let the quilt soak for 15 minutes so it is saturated.

Step Three: Washing

  • Reach in and stir the quilt in the water by hand, gently agitating. The goal is for each part of the quilt to move around in the water.
  • If you prefer, allow the machine to agitate on the gentle cycle while you are watching. Be sure the quilt is not stressed or pulled by the agitator.
  • Let the quilt soak for 5 minutes.
  • Repeat the hand or machine agitation.
  • Let the quilt soak for 5 minutes.

Step Four: Rinsing

  • Set the washing machine to the spin cycle to remove the soapy water.
  • Fill the washing machine with cold water.
  • Hand or machine agitate the quilt to remove the soap.
  • Let the quilt soak for 5 minutes.
  • Repeat this process twice or until all the soap is removed.

Step Five: Drying

  • Cover a protected flat surface with towels.
  • Lay the quilt on the towels to dry.
  • Flip the quilt every hour to two hours until dry.
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