I’ll admit I have a soft spot worn-out quilts, often passed over because of stains and wear, and no longer desirable to many. And that’s a shame. If you have a tiny bit of patience, these quilts can be given new life. The first thing I do when I bring home vintage quilts is to soak them in OxiClean (I promise this is not an advertisement). It takes out most old stains and and brightens the fabric too. I like to fill my big laundry room sink with burning hot water and then mix in several scoops of OxiClean, stirring with my hands to dissolve. (Rubber gloves work well to protect hands from the hot water). When I fill my sink, I usually add in 3-4 full scoops and after the OxiClean is dissolved, I submerge the quilts, 1-3 at a time, depending on the size of the quilts. The water usually becomes very filthy with the soaking. Eek!
Notice the stains on this quilt top before soaking:
Generally, I soak each batch for anywhere between 2 hours – overnight, depending on the severity of the stains. After soaking, I run them through the washer on warm, with a little laundry detergent and softener.
As for the wear, I like to restitch pieces that have become slightly detached, and to patch little holes when possible. Any repairs I do helps to strengthen the quilts and gives them a longer life span. To me, they’re worth saving.
In my experience, OxiClean is best for a long soak stain removal rather than adding it into a load of laundry in the washing machine.
Transferring a heavy, soaking wet quiltt from the sink to the washer can be sort of a pain. If your sink isn’t near your washer, I recommend transferring the quilts in a big tub so they don’t leave a wet soapy trail from the sink to the washer.
I’ve never had issues with color transfer on old quilts when I soak them this way, but it is possible for colors to transfer, as all fabrics are not the same. If I had a quilt I was too worried about harming with a deep soak or washing machine, I’d take it to a professional cleaner I trust. It’s always possible that the colors in the fabric can bleed from soaking or washing so testing out a small section before doing a major clean or soak is another option as well.
Note:I was NOT paid to write about OxiClean, it just happens to be a favorite of mine.
IT'S ME, SERENA!
In 2002, I was dreaming of creating a fun and happy little event to sell my vintage and handmade goods. In 2002, I held my first event in my neighbor's barn along with a handful of friends. The sale became wildly popular and began attracting visitors from across the country and recognition in national magazines. Today The Farm Chicks Vintage & Handmade Fair fills the Spokane County Fairgrounds and features hundreds of creatively and carefully curated spaces packed with vintage and handmade goods. Many describe it as a bucket list event, magical, inspirational, and the best event of its kind in the USA. I describe it as the best weekend of the year!