Hand-washing is the preferred method for cleaning quilts, as machine washing can cause the stitching to unravel.
Fill a deep, laundry sink or bathtub with cold water. Be certain that the sink or tub is very clean and has no residue from cleaning agents that could cause damage to the quilt. Use a liquid detergent that is gentle and free of dyes and perfumes. A liquid detergent will disperse in the water and leave less residue on the fabric.
Add 1/2 cup vinegar to the water to both brighten colors and soften the quilt.
Place your quilt in the water, being certain that the entire quilt gets wet. Gently move your quilt around in the water. Allow the quilt to remain in the water for about 10 minutes. Next, drain the wash water and fill the tub again with fresh water. Repeat draining and refilling the tub until the water and quilt are soap free – clear water and no suds.
MACHINE WASHING INSTRUCTIONS
If you decide to machine wash, use cold water, a low-sudsing gentle detergent like Dreft or Woolite, and the shortest, most delicate wash cycle. You can also use a color catcher in if there are really saturated colors in your quilt.
If you have hard water or iron bacteria in your water source, you should use distilled water for washing your quilt so that no minerals stain your fabric.