Is Prewashing Necessary? A Tip from Weeks Ringle


Weeks RingleIs prewashing necessary? It’s nice to know that your quilt won’t run or shrink. But that’s not all!

Weeks Ringle gives you a number of reasons why prewashing is a good idea – and how to do it – in this tip.

You’ll learn lots more when you take her class, Solids Revolution, on

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Wish I’d known this before I made and washed a black and white print table topper. The only thing I can think is that the black ran and left big spots on both sides of the topper. It was my first finished quilting project, and I was so proud of it! Wish I could get the spots out . . .


Try washing it with Synthrapol or with Shout Color Catchers. I’ve read soaking a piece in water with Dawn dishwashing detergent also works but haven’t tried that.

Pam Zajicek

I went online and found that Synthropol is the most recommended product to get the spots out from colors that have already “run” your quilts. You can get it at most quilt shops, but call ahead to make sure they have it, before you make the trip. I was told in my first class that we had to pre-wash our fabrics…this was in 2004. The teacher said to not use Tide, but we could use other detergents such as Cheer, etc. I guess Tide was considered harsh on colors. We were also told to wash on hot setting, and dry… Read more »

Regina Wigger

Whenever I prewash material I use color catchers just the same as I do after the quilt is made. I DO NOT TRUST fabric to be nonbleedable even after it is washed. Just something I ALWAYS DO! And, because the color catcher is always loaded with color, I am so glad I do.

I have always been a fan of prewashing for fear of dyes running and uneven shrinkage. You’ve just given me more reasons to keep it up. With the popularity of precut fabrics (e.g., layer cakes, charm packs), I’ve encountered some problems. The patterns are based on the prewashed sizes and sometimes after washing and drying the fabrics pieces are slightly smaller. Any suggestions?

I was told my a friend who has quilted for yeasr to wash and dry the fabric first. I serge the ends and into the washer and dryer they go. I iron the fabric and its ready to go when I am ready to sew.


How do you adjust for the shrinkage when purchasing your fabric for your quilt? If the pattern calls for 1 yard, how much you purchase to ensure that you have enough fabric on hand after you wash and dry your fabric – 25% more? 30% more? I use color catchers when washing my quilts and the bolder the colors the more color catchers I use. My Sister-in-law used 6 for a red and taupe quilt she had made. Turned out great with no bleeding on other colors.

I saw your piece on preshrinking fabric. Another thing I have found that preshrinking will do is to straighten the fabric if it is not square.


I have always serged the cut ends and wash and dry newly bought fabric (even fat quarters). Another reason I like doing this is the fabric is not always cut straight or rolled straight on the bolt. I can true up the salvages when I’m ironing and folding it up for a project.


You say to use Ivory dishwashing liquid or Org is Equine Shampoo in a front loader? That is not good advice. It will overused. I cannot use more than a teaspoon of even the High Efficiency detergents made for front loaders. If I did what you say to do, I’d have an error message and way too many suds.


Kindle auto rewrite made Orvis into Org is. And oversuds into overused. Sorry I did not catch it.


Yes! I thought I was the last holdout for pre washing. Here’s another reason to do so. What do we all do in the fabric store? We touch the fabric, we run our hands across the bolts. That’s a lot of fingers, maybe some not so clean.
Also, when using precuts, I piece the quilt top and then wash with color catchers before quilting.

I don not always prewash my fabric.


I am not able to find Ivory Ultra Dish soap. There is a Classic Ivory dish soap available to me. Would that be the same?