Skip Navigation Website Accessibility



How to Care for Your Quilt to Make It Last

When you’ve spent so long making your quilt perfect, the last thing you want to do is to damage it. But sometimes the way we care for our quilts is the very thing that makes them not last as long as they should. Here are our best practices to keep your quilts looking their best. 


The most gentle way to wash your quilts is in the tub. You can let them soak with a mild detergent like Synthrapol or Mary Ellen’s Best Wash and then rinse them until the water runs clear. Lay it out on a line to dry, or over a couple of dining room chairs with towels over the top.

If you don’t have time for that, and a lot of us don’t, don’t be afraid to wash your quilts in your regular washing machine with your standard detergent. If you’re going for that crinkle factor, use hot water on the first wash but wash using cold water after that. The thing that really wears out a quilt is heat, so the dryer isn’t our friend. Instead of loading your quilt in the dryer and drying it completely, stick with only drying it half way then letting it air dry the rest of the way.


We all get into the habit of folding our quilts the same way every time. Half this way, then half that way, over and over again. Those folds over time become creases in your quilt, and a crease can easily become a weak spot or a spot for dirt to collect and discolor your quilt. So the next time you put a quilt away, try and fold it differently than it was when you pulled it out. You could fold in thirds, or not match the edges and fold it, or get wild and crazy and fold on the diagonal.


Storing your quilt is simpler than you think. Sure, you could get fancy and store them in archival quality boxes with acid free tissue paper, and for a really special heirloom that’s a great plan, but it’s probably overkill for most of your quilts. Avoid things like cedar chests; yes the cedar smell will keep pests away, but the cedar oil could damage and discolor your quilt. Also stay away from plastic bags and plastic tubs; plastics break down over time and can let off gasses into your quilts and leave them smelling funky. So where do you store them? Stick to a dry place without direct sunlight like a linen cupboard or somewhere with good ventilation.

Have you been using any of these tips for keeping your quilts in top shape?