How to Wash a Quilt?

Jean Chaney
Jean Chaney
Research Writer
Jean is the brains behind her fashion label. She's a whiz with a needle and thread, and has been sewing since she was old enough to hold a pair of scissors. Jean has always read more
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Isabel Misner
Isabel Misner
Expert Consultant
A professional seamstress. Isabel has her own video blog where she shares her experience about all the aspects of sewing – from choosing suitable materials to step-by-step read more
Last updated: August 25, 2023
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One of the most neglected bedding items is the quilt. When people wash their bedsheets, most of them forget that this item also needs cleaning. If you are here, maybe you are trying to learn how to wash a quilt properly. No need to fret because the procedure is not difficult, although it is delicate. Before you attempt to clean your item at home, there are some elements that you must consider. Firstly, we recommend that you check the quilt’s care label. It generally comes with washing recommendations and instructions. Following those, ensure that your item is properly taken care of.

Whether you have purchased your quilt from a commercial retailer or you have made it yourself, here are the best cleaning tips that will help you clean your item and make it last longer!

Preparation Steps

Do you want to know how to clean a quilt Trusted Source 3 Ways to Clean a Quilt - wikiHow Wash your quilt once a year – more often, if it’s soiled – with cold water, by hand or in a washing machine. Dry your quilt in the dryer on a gentle setting, outdoors, or indoors with a fan. Air out your quilt regularly. ? Before doing so, there are some variables that you must consider. These will help you take the appropriate steps that will make your bedding item last longer.

Care Checklist

How to Wash a Quilt?As we previously mentioned, you must check the item’s care checklist. They provide you with the appropriate care instructions and recommendations on product labels. They generally include the adequate washing method that goes with the quilt.

Apart from the care checklist, we also recommend you air dry your bedding item directly under sunlight. This helps you remove any kind of moisture on the quilt. As you know, the sun is one of the best natural antibacterials. Not only does it dry clothes (or, in this case, your quilt), it also keeps them fresh and hygienic. It is the best way to kill bacteria and germs.

Besides, when you seasonally change your quilt, make sure that you store your bedding item into a sealed bag. You can leave the zip slightly open to enable air circulation. It helps to keep your quilt fresh when it is stored!

Look Out for the Fabric

How to Wash a Quilt?If quilting tips help you learn everything you need to know about quilting, cleaning tips help you know how to wash a quilt without bleeding. Having said that, you must consider the type of fabric of your bedding item before cleaning it.

Looking out for the fabric from which it is made helps you know which cleaning method is appropriate.

Down and Feather Fill

Is your quilt made from feather and down fill? This requires only dry cleaning. It helps cleanse down clusters and remove surface stains.

Wool Fill

If your quilt is made from the wool fill, you can wash it using an industrial-size machine. To do that, you must set your machine on the wool cycle before using it. Also, make sure that you use a wool-specific cleaner or detergent. Wool quilts are also compatible with the dry cleaning method.


How to Wash a Quilt?Generally, most quilts are 100% made with cotton or cotton mixes. This fiber is preferred because it is natural, hardy, and soft at the same time. Also, it is available in multiple colors and patterns that make it perfect for quilt making.

If you have a multiple-colored cotton quilt, you can use the Shout Color Catcher sheets. They can pull dyes out to save your quilts.

Concerning the cleaning of a cotton quilt, we recommend you wash it before the first use if you just bought it. This material or fabric requires a gentle and warm machine wash. Besides, don’t forget to pull your bedding item into shape while it is wet and line-dry it over several lines.

You can dry clean cotton quilts. We don’t recommend ironing or tumble drying them.


Do you have a polyester quilt? You can use a gentle and warm machine wash. Just like the cotton fabric, polyester requires line drying over several lines. Also, we don’t recommend you wring, soak, or bleach your bedding item.

Use the Right Detergent

How to Wash a Quilt?How to wash a handmade quilt? You must use the right detergent or cleaner. Although most detergents nowadays are harmless on some fabrics, they can be rough or inflict damages on others due to the additives that they contain. That is why you should always check the fabric’s care checklist.

The right detergent is the one that is color-free unscented, and liquid-based. Avoid using a cleaner that contains fabric softeners, as they damage the fibers’ fabric. You can apply the Orvus WA Paste Cleaner. It is compatible with almost all types of fabrics for quilts: cotton, lace, linens, wool, polyester, silk, and more. It is designed to be gentle and effective on stains.

Do not use bleach on your bedding item, as it damages both the fabric’s fibers and the color.

How Frequently Should I Wash My Quilt?

Before we go right into the procedure, you may be wondering how often you should wash your quilt. The answer is simple: less washing is advisable. Your quilt should not be treated the same way as your bed sheets are treated. You don’t need to wash it every time. If you can get away from washing it infrequently, do it.

If you don’t have pets who climb on your quilt often, then you can get away from washing this bedding item frequently. Cleaning it seasonally will do, and you will know when it is the right time to wash it.

Having said that, we also recommend you to spot clean your quilt before you wash it. Doing this helps you catch stains when they happen on your item. You can use distilled water as soon as you discover them to remove them. It removes stains and does not damage the fabric.

Step-by-Step Quilt Washing Guide

Do you want to know how to wash a quilt? Here is a step-by-step walkthrough that will guide you. Firstly, make sure that your bedding item does not need any repair (loose threads or stretched seams). Having said that, you can use one of these two methods to cleanse your quilt:

Machine washing

How to Wash a Quilt?Are you washing your quilt using your industrial machine? These are the steps you should follow:

    • First, make sure that the fabric is compatible with machine washing
    • Secondly, set your machine to a delicate or gentle cleaning cycle. This helps protect the fibers of your quilt.
    • Add a gentle cleanser or detergent to your machine and use cold water. Make sure to stir the water so that the detergent can dissolve.
    • Insert your quilt into the machine and launch the cycle.
    • Once the cycle is complete, launch another cycle, this time without detergent. It makes sure that there are no traces left of detergent on your quilt.

Hand Washing

Hand washing is by far the best method to wash your quilt. We recommend it for homemade quilts as it ensures that the bedding item is properly taken care of:

  • You must use a clean tub or sink. We recommend the tub because the quilt is more maneuverable, and you have sufficient space.
  • Fill the tub or sink with cold water, and add a mild detergent to the water.
  • Agitate the water to make sure that the detergent dissolves.
  • Gently stir the quilt with your hands until the stains are removed.


How to dry a quilt? Once your bedding item is washed, you can dry it. Again, you can use one of these two options: machine drying or air drying. If you are using the first option, make sure that you set your machine properly. If you want to use your machine safely to dry the quilt, don’t let it dry all the way. We recommend you tumble dry it on low until it is just damp. Then, you can let it air dry.

Letting your quilt air dry completely is a great option. Make sure that it is dried flat. This avoids damaging the item.


Once your quilt is dry, you can put it back on your bed or store it if you are not using it. Always keep it in a dry, dark spot. Also, put it in a sealed bag before storing it.

Final Thoughts

Your quilt is your treasure. When you learn how to wash a quilt it properly, you can pass it down to your children and children’s children. All of the measures and advice we shared will help you take care of your bedding item. Don’t hesitate to put them into practice. Also, we recommend you to check our selection of the quilting books to get more ideas for your next project!


3 Ways to Clean a Quilt - wikiHow
Wash your quilt once a year – more often, if it’s soiled – with cold water, by hand or in a washing machine. Dry your quilt in the dryer on a gentle setting, outdoors, or indoors with a fan. Air out your quilt regularly.
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