|A Few Tips on Caring for Quilts
by Patricia Cummings, Quilter's Muse Publications, http://www.quiltersmuse.com
Straight Talk about Quilt Care, a previously published book, is now available as a CD-ROM.
1. Remember that quilts like the same environment as humans. Do not store quilts in unheated areas, in plastic bags, or
in high humidity. Attics, garages, and basements are a no-no due to the fluctuating temperatures there.
2. If you don't know what you are doing, don't wash a quilt. Even if you think you know how to go about washing a
quilt, really think twice before doing so. Irreparable damage can be the result.
3. Handle old quilts with gloves to protect YOURSELF from possible contaminants on the surface.
4. Take care in hanging any quilt, old or new. Make sure that it is evenly supported.
5. Ideally, take down a wall hanging (quilt) and let it rest for the same amount of time it has been vertically suspended.
Three to 6 months is an ideal time period to leave a quilt on a wall. Let the quilt rest for an equal amount of time.
6. To store a quilt, fold it in thirds, padding the folds with polyester fiberfill, an inert substance that will not damage the
quilt, or specially purchased, acid-free, lignin-free, tissue paper, that is folded accordion style. This paper is only found to
purchase at archival supply companies such as Gaylord and others mentioned in my book.
7. Dry cleaning utilizes chemicals that are carcinogenic, in nature. Avoid dry-cleaning any quilts. The solvent will get
into the batting and remain there, causing potential health problems. Solvents are anything but "dry."
8. Hang quilts in interior spaces for display, not on outside walls of your home. Mildew can build up on the reverse
side of the quilt due to changes in temperature and humidity.
9. Avoid placing quilts in direct contact with untreated wood surfaces. Paint wooden shelves with white paint and seal
them with several coats of poly-acrylic. Alternately, line closets with wide sheets of aluminum foil, such as that sold at
Sam's Club in the U.S. Enclose the quilt in de-sized muslin, an archival product (see my book for details on where to
order). For this purpose, never use sheets or pillowcases that have been used. Body oils never come out of those items.
10. If using acid-free paper, learn which kind is best for the type of textile you have. Replace the paper often. When
the paper is yellow, that is an indication that the ph level of acidity has returned and the paper needs to be replaced. Also
there is a special pen is sold by archival supply houses that can indicate when acidity has returned to the tissue paper.
Most Important: Enjoy your quilt!