Amish Quilt Care
Knowing how to properly care for your quilt will ensure its longevity. Amish quilts generally take approximately 400 hours for an Amish quilter to complete. Considering how much time it took to make your quilt, we know you will want to handle it with care. Here are some helpful hints that we received directly from Barbara, an Amish quilt designer from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
To clean your quilt, we recommend two solutions:
Traditional Amish Quilt Care
Barbara said this is what she does to clean her quilts. Soak your quilt in cold water in either a bathtub or washer machine. Add 2 quarts of apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon of mild soap (like MelaPower), and a 1/2 cup of table salt. Do not use bleach. If you use your bathtub, let your quilt soak for 1 hour. If you use your washing machine, put your quilt on your Gentle cycle. After your quilt has been soaked or washed, hang dry it. Do not machine dry your quilt or use fabric softeners.
Amish quilts can be dry cleaned. Ask your dry cleaner if they have cleaned quilts or bed coverings in the past. Dry cleaning is recommended if your quilt has loose lace or puffy applique work because this material can be damaged in a machine wash. Dry cleaning is also recommended for fabrics that may run in water, such as fully saturated dark colored and hand-dyed fabrics. To determine if your fabric will run, rub it with a piece of cotton that has been moistened with very hot water. If color bleeds onto the cotton, do not wash your quilt – even in cold water. Instead, have your quilt professionally dry cleaned. After your quilt is dry cleaned, hang it outside to air it out.
For quilts that are used daily, we recommend that you clean them once a year.
Amish quilters use markings to guide them as they hand stitch a quilt. Often these lines are still noticeable when the quilt is complete. Amish quilters typically use either pencil or chalk. If the quilt markings are made in pencil, you can purchase an eraser from a fabric store. Do not use a regular pencil eraser; they have oil in them that will permanently mark your quilt. You can also use a clean toothbrush. Dip it in a mixture of warm water and mild liquid laundry soap (we recommend Woolite). Use the toothbrush to gently rub out the quilt markings. If the marking line is white, it is probably chalk and can be brushed off or easily removed with a damp cloth.
Direct sunlight is not good for your quilt. It will naturally cause your colors to fade and the fabric to weaken. To store your Amish quilt, we recommend that you use a pillowcase or sheet. Do not use a plastic bag. Keep your quilt somewhere dark and dry.
Michael Bell is an expert on Amish quilts and has provided commentary in publications such as National Geographic Traveler. To see a full selection of authentic Amish quilts from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, please visit AmishQuiltShop.net.