Say “launder” and “quilt” in the same sentence, and many quilters will run away. But, we all know that quilts get dirty and need to be cleaned at some point during their existence.

The question is how to clean them. And, as usual, my answer is – it kind of depends.

True vintage quilts are in a category of their own, special care should be taken with them, and they are excluded from this conversation. But for other quilts, fear not, there is a way to launder them that is safe and will assure they will last for many years.

The first consideration is the soap or detergent you use.

When I first began quilting, I thought that Woolite was the best thing to use; turns out it is about the worst thing. Over time, Woolite will damage the fibers in your cotton quilts, and you will be disappointed as they fall apart.

Starburst Quilt Block

If you talk to batting manufacturers, they say that you can use regular detergent, like Tide, to launder quilts – at least the batting in the quilt. Since that is the detergent I use for my clothes, many of my quilts are washed in Tide.

And, although they certainly don’t get washed every week, I think the sun has caused more damage than the Tide.

Another option is Orvis – the soap for horses. Many quilters use this exclusively for their quilts. Just a dab will go a long way to cleaning a quilt.

And yet another cleaner is a solution called Soak. The great thing about Soak is that you don’t need to rinse the quilt. By simply soaking the quilt and then draining the water, the dirt goes away.

Then there is the question of drying.

For other ideas about laundering quilts and information about drying your quilts, visit:

Happy Quilting!