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The best way to clean an 1860’s quilt.

jane4878 | Posted in Quilting and Home Decor on

I have a quilt from a great, great aunt that was made around 1865 that has been hanging on first my mother’s wall and now mine for several years.  I would like to have it cleaned and put away.  Is it safe to have it drycleaned?  Should it be handwashed, and if so, with what product?




  1. sewchris703 | | #1

    I'd ask your local quilt shop.  But it was my quilt, I'd soak it in the bathtub in cold to warm water, no soap, just to get the dust off of it.  And just keep changing the water until it's clear.  Squeeze the excess water out (do not wring), wrap in large towel (think beach towel or length of white terry toweling from the fabric store), folding the quilt to fit the towel.  Lay flat to dry.

    1. jane4878 | | #2

      Thanks Chris,

      I'll try the bathtub route when it's warmer and then I can lay it out in the shade.  I'm not sure I can get much advice about old quilts here (the quilt is older than the town I live in), but I'll ask around.


      1. sewchris703 | | #3

        Here's what I found when I googled "care of vintage quilt":  What I forgot about is that the dyes used then can bleed when wet so be sure to test a spot for color fastness.  And as the website suggests, viacuum your quilt first.  It just might only need dusting instead of cleaning.  All the websites on the google page suggested to vacuum first and test for color fastness.   Actual washing the quilt is the last thing to try.


        1. jane4878 | | #4

          Thanks again,

          I'm rushing around like an idiot, so thanks for taking the time to look that up for me.  Today, I'm trying to make a couple of Christmas scrub tops.  I went and cut a directional one (Xmas trees) upside down and had to run downtown to buy some more fabric at the one and only fabric store in town.  I'll have to go to Lethbridge and see if I can match that fabric after Christmas, so it's not a total bust. 

          Merry Christmas,


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