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« Word Lover | Main | Cleaning Old Linens »

Tuesday, January 13, 2009



Deb! That quilt is just beautiful!! I love the browns and pinks:) together!! What a treasure, but I know NOTHING about how to clean it the right way...sorry. :( Anyway, if you just can't bring yourself to using it, I bet I could force myself! LOL *grin*


How pretty! What a special treasure.

If the handwashing doesn't work, I'd take it to a laundromat and put it in one of the large front loaders.


It's even more beautiful than I remembered! Have we worked out a sharing schedule yet? ;-)


I have a quilt made by my great-great grandmother from old clothes that her family wore. It's not in perfect shape so I'm afraid to wash it. I wonder if consulting a professional dry cleaner about your beautiful quilt might help. Maybe they could at least share some tips.



It is just beautiful!!! My grandmother hand quilted her quilts and used the fan pattern that I see on your quilt. Too bad you don't have the history of this family heirloom. I pray it comes clean for you so you can enjoy it.

Jenny Haugh

I had heard baking soda would do it. You put it in a large yard garbage, add baking soda, and shake shake shake. Then you take it out, and shake all the baking soda off. We had called an extension service to ask about cleaning stuffed animals, and they said it should work for stuffed animals, throw pillows, quilts etc. But he only tried in on the stuffed animals, so we're not 100% sure if you'd want to use it on an heirloom :)


It's a gorgeous quilt Deb! Hopefully swishing it in the tub will work for you. Sorry I can't be of better help.

Nick Jesch

What an amazing treasure to find, and in such good condition!!
As to caring for it, I'd recommend AGAINST the idea of using ordinary laundry detergent... most of these, even today, are benzene based, in other words, harsh chemicals that do not rinse or air out, leave residues that resoil quickly, and other ugly things (not to mention how harmful they are for us....). I've no idea whether they are available locally, but try and find some of the new, non-benzene based products. I am familiar with a company called Bio-Kleen, and have used their products in carpet cleaning (commercial work). They are totally natural, leave NO residue, and are not benzene based.. and yet work well. Two of their products would be recommended... "Bac-out", which breaks down any natural contaminants such as foods, body oils, "fallout" from bugs such as carpet beetles. Their "Fiber-Glo" is an amazing product, totally safe for all natural fibers (wool, silk, cotton), neutral pH, rinses well, works in cold water, leaves NO residue (a friend of mine, a commercial carpet cleaner, has been using this on his own hair for years.... and he's not TOO wierd yet....). If you can't find the Fiber Glo, they also have a laundry liquid and a hand dishwashing liquid, all along the same lines for gentle and safe cleaning.
The bath tub idea is great, as you can agitate gently, change the water numerous times easily, vary the temperature... cold or mildly warm would be best, not hot. Stay away from the violence of things like the large laundry machines, or a tumbler.

Not sure about the idea of the baking soda, as it is way off neutral in pH. Safest thing is to stay near neutral for pH. Who knows what dyes are used in those old fabrics? And perhaps the greatest risk is setting off the dyes so they migrate and stain nearby fabrics with different dyes in them. We've only had color fast dyes for a while now.. that quilt could easily predate those.

One other advantage of the Biokleen products is that many of them (Fiber-Glo, certainly) use grapefruit seed extract, a natural biocide, which leaves a slight residue for a while, decomposing in a few days, this helps prevent regrowth of things like molds, mildews, mites, helping it to remain much cleaner for longer. No bleaches, whiteners, bluing, scents, are used in these products.
As to where to find them, try some natural food sorts of places, the places the yuppies go to find their delicacies and satisfy their amusing desires for "healthy living". Not sure if Trader Joe's or Whole Foods is back there, ir whether they'd have this line of products. If you absolutely can't find anything, and want to, I could pour out a few ounces into something and post it off to you...... I've got almost all their products.
I do think your plan of airing it out, good side down, whenever possible, is a great one. Perhaps an ouut of the way place inside, for days its not fit to do it outside... basement rec room, wherever... anything to keep it exposed to air rather then bundled up will help dissipate the smell of the ol paradichlorobenzene. Note the "benzene" part.... precisely the same category of chemicals used as the base for almost all detergents. You'd essentially be trying to remove oil with more oil, using a benzene based cleaner to remove a benzene based chemical. Hope some of this makes sense, and helps.


Why don't you ask these ladies.

Sorry I have no idea on what to do with the quilt.Keep us posted.

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