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Last Christmas my aunt gave me an Amish quilt that she bought about 30 years ago. We've had it on the bed all year. I'd like to wash it right before we leave for our Christmas trip and hang it to dry. I have an old washing machine and do not have a gentle cycle. Do you think I can wash this quilt in my machine?
 

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I have an Amish quilt that is about 50 years old. I have been advised not to wash it. I just put it out on the line to air it out.
 

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I asked this question up in CF and got a lot of different answers. It isn't really dirty but I have severe dust mite allergies and thought cleaning would help.
 

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It's probably not a good idea to put it into the washing machine, and washing by hand in the bathtub is a lot of work -- especially if you have shower doors instead of a curtain. But it certainly can be done. Test for colorfastness of *each* color first -- if a wet piece of white fabric rubs color off, water washing will make it run and fade.

Lay a sheet in the tub -- wet quilts are HEAVY and you don't want to strain the fabric or stitching by lifting it by itself; lift it on the sheet, instead. Lay the quilt on the sheet, gently pleated, not folded, to fill the space. Fill the tub with lukewarm water and use a mild soap -- NOT Woolite! Gently work the fabric up and down with your hands -- no rubbing or wringing. Empty the tub and refill with cool water. Work the fabric again. Do this rinse process several times until the water runs clear. I don't use any fabric softener, just a little white vinegar in the final rinse.

Gently squeeze water out of the quilt -- no twisting or wringing. Lift the quilt out of the tub (using the sheet) and spread it flat to dry. This is best done in a warm, airy, shady place . . . the middle of winter in the north is not the best time for this project!

If you can't/don't want to wash it, you can vacuum it. Fasten a piece of nylon stocking or tulle over the open end of the hose and vacuum through it. This will prevent the vacuum from pulling fabric in but will still get rid of loose dirt and hopefully, mites.
 
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