Getting Stains Out of Handmade Quilt

sameboatNovember 3, 2009

I have a gorgeous quilt my mom made by hand 25+ years ago. It has stains that look like water stains on it - I am grossed out to say I think the dog urinated on it (not my dog - my dad's). I have had the quilt dry-cleaned but the stains are still there. Is there anything I can do to lighten the stains or to get them out? It's a shame I love the quilt and it's huge and warm but the stains make me sick. The quilt has been in the closet for many years now as I am unable to use it.

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There's a product at quilt shops to soak it in that removes stains and whitens the whites. I think it is called "Restoration". We used it to whiten old linens in a class so I know it works for that.

There's also an old homemade recipe you soak in:
1 gallon water
1 quart buttermilk
2 Tablespoons lemon juice.

Please report back to us how you do so we'll benefit from your experience. That's how we all learn things here.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2009 at 2:38PM
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Here's a website that shows products to wash quilts. I hope it helps.

I was surprised to see my Orvus paste soap there that I wash quilts in. I buy it in the feed store for $26 for 7-1/2 pound jug (120 oz.). It has no phosphorus and is used to wash animals, like a shampoo. I guess word has gotten out. Darn! Now they'll raise the price.

Here is a link that might be useful: for washing quilts

    Bookmark   November 3, 2009 at 2:48PM
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Thank you Toolgranny! I will update you on my progress. This will be difficult to clean at home, as the quilt is quite large (for king-size bed it goes to the floor). I'll have to do it in the tub and the hang it to dry.

Thank you!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2009 at 4:32PM
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What color fabric are the stains on?? Depending on how long the satins have been in the quilt and if they have been exposed to heat at the dry cleaners they may be hard to get out, and I'm sorry to say, permanent.
Try spot treatments with the stain removers for colored fabric and then wash in the quilt soap Linda (Toolgranny) suggested.
If you live in an area larger than mine LOL you may have professional quilt cleaners you could consult. Most of the time they can just look at the stain and tell you if it is possible to remove it.
I hope you succeed with such a lovely treasure.
Post a pic, I would love to see the quilt.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2009 at 5:12PM
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If you do it in the tub, lay a sheet in first to use as a lifter for the wet quilt later. Fold the outer quarter on each side to the back, and then put it into accordion folds to fit in the tub with the accordion pleats going up and down. The folds help make sure all the front gets nice swishing water, and then can be gently recompressed to get some of the rinse water out. My mom never used much soap, because she said it's really hard to rinse a quilt and water is pretty cleansing anyway. That may not matter so much these days with special quilt soaps-she always used a shampoo she liked the smell of. Enlist help to lift a wet quilt out the tub--it's going to be really heavy. Lay it out flat to dry, again on top of a sheet and my mom always puts another sheet on top of the quilt to protect from any sun and bird droppings. Nothing quite so frustrating as a clean fresh quilt that's almost dry with a plop of bird poop on it.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2009 at 10:51PM
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Petalpatsy-WOW! You gave some great advice for how to wash a large quilt in the tub! Love the sheet idea! And I've used Restoration & also QuiltWash, both available at quilt shops. I've had both products get stains of unknown origin out of very old quilts I had purchased at sales/auctions.
Sameboat-Good Luck!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2009 at 11:26PM
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Thank you all. I am not up to it yet but I will definitely let you know how it comes out once I finally do it, and post a photo.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2009 at 9:24PM
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