Washing Suggestions For Your Quilted Items
For purchased items, there may be concerns about bleeding of fabric dyes:
Since we don't know if the fabric was pre-washed before the quilt was created, we may need to worry about the colors running. I suggest you go to my page "MISC, DYE-STAINS" to read what I tell my students about using "Retayne" and "Synthropol." You may not need to worry about these things, but if it happens, you will know what to do -- the Synthropol removes dye stains. These items can be purchased at quilt shops.
For nicer quilts and hand-quilted quilts:
You can purchase quilt soaps at quilt shops, but I just hand wash in lukewarm water using a gentle "natural" liquid soap like Amway's LOC. I prefer to hand-wash my nicer quilts and hand-quilted quilts, because the items last longer, keep their "new" look, and don't have the quilting threads stressed by a machine pulling on them.
Small items can be washed in a sink. If the item is large, I fill the bathtub with lukewarm water and LOC. Soak the item for an hour or so, moving it around once in awhile, then drain the water and press out soapy water. Refill the tub with clean water and gently rinse in the tub.
Try not to "wring" the water out. Instead, press it out, then lay it on a towel and roll it up inside the towel. With it wrapped in the towel, press down on it to squeeze water into the towel. Lay it out flat to dry. You may also fluff dry in a gentle dryer. I actually prefer to do some fluffing in the dryer to remove any wrinkles and to fluff up the batting. If you let it air dry and see it has wrinkles, you can pop it into the dryer with a lightly damp towel for a few minutes to fluff it. Another option would be to lightly spray it with water and then fluff dry about 5 minutes.
For utilitarian quilts (like quilts I make for children that need to be washed often):
These hardy quilts are made to be put in the washer on the gentle cycle with lukewarm or cold water. I make them to be used hard - no hand sewing on them. After washing as much as needed for their purpose, they look well used - but they last because they are made well with strong machine stitching.