Caring for my custom Amish quilt
Caring for my custom Amish quilt requires more than just throwing it in the washing machine when it becomes soiled. The Amish use mainly dark colors that are in contrast to the white in their custom made quilts. Like all colors, especially the darker ones, the dye used to create the color has a tendency to bleed out over time.
One part of this is to set the dye in place in the fabric itself. This requires more than just dying the cloth and allowing it to dry. One of the oldest and best known ways to help set the dye in the fabric is to wash the quilt in cold water with a very mild detergent. The washing itself should be done in a wash basin and not your machine. This is the gentlest manner in which to wash cloth.
If the stains and dirt are too much that soaking the quilt will not remove them, the use of a washing machine in the gentle cycle can be used. Again, only use cold water for both the wash cycle and the rinse cycle.
Hot water will cause the dye to become separated from the cloth and bleeding will occur, the hotter the water, the greater the amount of bleeding. This is why only cold water in every step of cleaning your custom made Amish quilt should be used.
Another old fashioned method to help prevent the fading of the dark colors on your quilt is to add a small amount of vinegar to the wash water. Vinegar is a natural fabric softener that will also help to prevent the darker colored cloth from fading. Most people do not like the smell of vinegar, but there is no need to worry. With the vinegar in the wash cycle, all of the odor will be gone by the time the final rinse is done. Also, make sure you rinse the quilt a minimum of 3 times to make sure all of the vinegar is gone.
The drying of your Amish quilt is another critical step in preserving the darker colors. While over drying your Amish quilt will contribute to the fading of the dark reds and blues, under drying will not. Do not place your quilt in a mechanical dryer and place the setting on high. This is the fastest manner in which to make the colors fade. The lowest possible setting is always best. This will take more time, but the colors will last longer.
One advantage of using a dryer over just letting your custom Amish quilt drip dry is that, on a very low setting and for the first time, the heat will help set the dye in the fabric. Repeated drying will cause fading, but once too set the dye in the cloth is recommended. This is generally done by the manufacturer of the cloth, but not always. That is why it is advised to do it once.
There are also two other products on the market that you may wish to use on the first washing. First, there is synthrapol. This removes any of the dye that has not adhered to the cloth yet. Retayne is a product that will help set the dye in the cloth and then also rinse away any unfixed dye.
These are a few of the things you can do to help keep your new custom made Amish quilt looking like new for years to come. Just remember, the more you wash it, the more worn your new quilt will look.