Sunday, September 29, 2013


The first experience washing my candlewick spread was a success, so I thought I'd give one of the Willow Tree Quilts a wash. I chose the second one because it's in much better condition and will withstand a wash better than the one with the fringe. It also had the best potential to improve with a washing, with only some minor discoloration and stains. So far it looks like it's going well.

Just like the candlewick, I soaked it overnight in a very dilute sodium perborate solution- 1T per gallon. Some sources recommend using six times as much, but I've gone with Mom's much more conservative recommendation and it's worked beautifully.

This morning I began the process of rinsing it at least five times, again per Mom's recommendation. That will help get the residual dirt and sodium perborate out. Each rinse includes 30 minutes soaking. When working with the quilt I'm using rubber gloves to avoid getting any of the residual chemical on my skin. After each rinse and soak, I drain the water with the quilt rolled back from the drain, and gently press out excess dirty water with the quilt rolled in the center of the tub and water streaming down either side of the rolled quilt.

Lulu has a lot to say about the whole thing

The quilt will come out of the tub and go to the drying table around noon. I have several plastic tables pushed together in my loft, covered with clean white towels and a sheet over top. After about 12 hours with the quilt drying on top of the towels and sheet, I will remove the damp linens and let the quilt dry on the bare plastic tables, with any excess moisture evaporating.

before washing
After washing
I had fans circulating the air in the space to assist the drying- and it's important to use new, clean fans when drying whitework. You don't want any soot flying off a dirty fan on to your clean textile. When it was about 75% dry, I flipped the quilt over and let the underside dry. It took a couple days to dry completely, and looked so much better after washing. 


  1. It is quite a process.....

  2. Thank you for your concise directions. I shall pass this information on to others who collect antique quilts.