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Cleaning Quilts

quilted fabricOften the last thing a person considers when making a quilt is whether the finished product can be cleaned. The biggest problem cleaners face is poor colorfastness and shrinkage. The fabrics used in the quilt also may be made of different fibers that require different care.

When you receive a handmade quilt for cleaning, try to obtain as much information about the quilt as possible, including the age of the item, the fiber content, and its approximate value. How the quilt should be cleaned depends on the nature of the soils and fiber content.

Be sure to check the quilt for weaknesses in the fabric, tears, stains, or damaged areas before cleaning. In addition, since most quilts are made of many colors and/or elements, all pieces must be tested for colorfastness. If samples are not available, test all colors in unexposed areas using the corner of a white handkerchief or a cotton swab with drycleaning solvent. If no dye bleeding occurs, the item may possibly be cleaned. However, keep in mind that even if cursory preliminary testing is conducted, this does not always ensure that the article will withstand a drycleaning process.

Before cleaning, it is important that you notify the customer of the possible risks of cleaning the article. If the quilt has any sentimental value, it may be best to consult an expert or conservator before doing anything. Because of the nature of the dyes, filling, age of the fabrics, and backing, some quilts cannot be safely cleaned by any method.
Posted 10/24/2018 1:11:13 PM
 
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