In Part 2 of Quilt Care 101, let’s consider humidity, temperature, and dust – does it really matter? Follow these simple care tips, and your precious quilts will stay looking like new for decades.
Part 2 – HUMIDITY AND TEMPERATURE
Conditions in your home may tend to fluctuate, but optimal conditions for quilts and other treasured textiles are a steady 50 percent humidity and temperature of 60 to 70 degrees. Why? Changes in temperature and humidity stress fabrics. Are you storing quilts in the attic? You may want to think twice about that, and bring them into a controlled environment. Also, if your quilts are being stored or displayed near heat vents, fiber damage can occur.
Hopefully, you will never experience the sinking “Oh, no!” feeling upon finding mold or mildew on your quilt. To keep this from happening, always dry a quilt completely before re-storing if it has accidentally become a victim of a leak, drip, or spill. If you do see evidence of mold or mildew, it may be possible to remove the stain before it has set. Use the most careful means for cleaning the affected section of the quilt as soon as you can.
Consider the use of a dehumidifier in storage areas that tend to be damp. Of course, central heating and air conditioning will keep the temperature fairly constant and the air flowing.
KEEP IT CLEAN
We don’t often think about it, but dust particles are a little bit sharp, and can actually cut into fibers on a microscopic level as they expand and contract due to humidity changes. Inspect and vacuum your stored and displayed quilts often! A small hand-held vacuum running on the lowest setting is the right tool for this job. If a quilt is especially fragile, you may want to vacuum it through a screen.
And be careful – unwashed hands, smoke and other pollutants from the air, the acid found in wooden drawers or shelves, and rough handling are enemies to your quilt, as are insect and rodent infiltrations! A little bit of care will go a long way, so inspect your quilts often, give them some air, and treat them with as much love and care as the designer used when it was created.
Coming soon to Quilt Care 101: Part 3 – Quilt Storage. Until then, be mindful of quilt care to enjoy many more years of their precious beauty.
Make your next quilt gift extra-special. Tuck in The AQS Guide to Quilt Care by AQS-certified quilt appraisers Bobbie A. Aug, Carol Butzke, Linda Honsberger, & Gerald Roy. This handy booklet explains quilt care and describes folding and storage techniques, along with display and shipping hints, resources, and much more.