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How to Clean and Care for Handmade Quilts 
 
by Christie Halmick May 19, 2005

With proper cleaning and care, handmade quilts can last a lifetime and beyond. If you've recently purchased a newly-made quilt or have possession of a family heirloom following, a few cleaning-and-care tips can extend the life of your quilt.

Whether you have possession of your grandmother's heirloom, handmade quilt, or have recently purchased a newly crafted model, you'll want to treat these treasures with care in order to preserve their quality and extend their life.

Basic Quilt Repair

Before you clean or display your handmade quilt, you'll need to repair any rips or tears in the fabric.

To do that, begin by spreading the quilt out on your bed or on top of a sheet on the floor. Then, examine it carefully for any worn patches, tears, or stains.

If you are handy with a needle and thread, you can repair the quilt yourself by using small stitches and thread and fabric that match the design and colors of your quilt.

If you want to preserve the authenticity of your heirloom or vintage quilt, you can search for sources of vintage or period-specific fabrics to patch your quilt. In addition, reproduction vintage fabrics can be used replace damaged areas.

If you are uncomfortable repairing the quilt yourself, find a reputable quilt repair service or someone who specializes in sewing and cleaning quilts. For a fee, they can restore your quilt. They will also be able to tell you if your quilt is damaged beyond repair.

How Often Should You Wash a Quilt?

Less washing is better for all handmade quilts. In general, a newly crafted quilt that you use on your bed everyday should only be washed once a year. An antique or heirloom piece should only be washed at most every five years. If your newly crafted quilt is dirty, it should be cleaned more often. In between washing you should air out your quilts, to freshen them.

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