by Staff Writer
A quilt needs special care and maintenance. Whether you're displaying your quilt in the living room, using it as a bedspread, or carefully storing it in your closet, you can easily keep it looking its best for many years to come.
Keep quilts out of direct sunlight: If left in the sun too long, the colors in the fabric will fade and the fibers will disintegrate. Quilts need to be kept in shaded rooms that are cool and dry. If possible, do not allow the humidity in the room to reach above 55 percent. You can place a dehumidifier in the room if you are concerned about the humidity reaching above this level.
Avoid washing handmade quilts: Don't hand-wash handmade or antique quilts or put them in the washing machine. If your quilt becomes dirty, have it dry cleaned at a business that has quilt experience. Vacuum it to remove excess dirt between dry cleanings; place the quilt flat on the floor and use the vacuum brush hose on the lowest setting.
Machine wash regular quilts: If it's not delicate or antique, you can machine wash your quilt. Use cold water and run it on the gentle cycle. A gentle detergent, like one used for baby clothes, would be good to use. Tumble dry it on low, making sure that it dries thoroughly before you use it or store it.
Store quilts properly: Fold and store your quilt in acid-free tissue paper or wrapped in muslin. Place several pieces of acid-free tissue paper large enough to cover the entire surface both on top of and underneath the quilt. Fold the quilt carefully until it is small enough to place in your closet. This will prevent them from being damaged.
Prevent pests: To keep moths and other fabric-eating bugs from getting at your quilts, place several small satchels of lavender in the trunk or closet where they will be stored. If you're worried that there may already be pests, place your quilt in a large, sealed plastic bag and freeze it for a week or so; this will kill any living organisms which can then be gently vacuumed away.
Display your quilts: If don't want to use your quilt as bedding but aren't ready to store it in a box, consider a hanging quilt display frame. These frames help preserve your quilts by hanging them out of reach while still letting everyone enjoy their intricate designs.
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