Washing a large quilt (blanket)

I'm a bachelor. I have a large quilt or maybe it's not really a quilt, but a thick warm blanket. It's been on my bed for several years and really needs to be washed. I have a normal home washing machine, not just one of those small apartment sized ones. This blanket will NOT fit in my machine. I live in the country, not where there is a laundromat. How the heck do I wash this thing? About all I can think is to toss it in the bathtub, wash by hand, and somehow hang it to drip dry.
Any ideas?
Greg
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On Sun, 24 Feb 2008 16:39:31 -0600, gregpatton@ho__ail.com wrote:

Wait and then wash in another several years! -- Oren
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On Feb 24, 5:39 pm, gregpatton@ho__ail.com wrote:

1 - Take it with you the next time you have to go into the "big city" and plan your schedule around washing it in one of the bigger machines while you run some errands or visit a friend then transfer it to the dryer and run/visit some more. 2 - Ship it to mom/a relative/a friend and have them wash it for you and ship it back.
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gregpatton@ho__ail.com wrote:

Wait for warmer weather. If it is a quilt - layers of fabric with fluffy stuff between sewn together - it should not be tightly wrung or lifted without support while it is wet, as that can break stitching.
Is it one color? Cotton fabric or knitted? If it is a quilt, then just slosh it around in the bathtub with mild detergent and tepid water. If it has heavy soil and it is colorfast, then you can probably go with hot water. Look for a tag. Washing in a tub is easy. Just wash till water turns clean, empty tub and run two fresh water rinses. Move it around so water moves through it. Drain water, roll it up to express extra water. Put into plastic bag or tub to take it outside. You can walk on it to squeeze out all the extra water - roll it in a couple of clean old bath towels. Now lay a clean sheet on the lawn when the grass is high and ready to be mowed. Lay the quilt on the sheet, right side down in the sun. Hanging it over a hedge works well, too, if you have one. Only way I do quilts.
If it has a tag that says "dry clean", then washing is risky. If it has very thick batting (the stuffing) or all cotton batting, it can get lumpy after it is wet. One reason to support it's weight, so's the stuffing doesn't shift to one side of the sewn spaces.
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gregpatton@ho__ail.com wrote:

You're on the right track. Things, all things, not just big things, were washed before there were washing machines of any size.
Check with rec.crafts.textiles.quilting (or somesuch) for special tips.
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Exactly. And before tubs. Even in the country there are streams. Take it to a stream and wash it on the rocks. I saw this in Honduras, and it seemed to work quite well. The advantage of a stream over a lake is that you get a continuous supply of water. Be sure to use soap or detergent with no phosphates. We don't want to damage our environment. (The dirt will sink to the bottom to replenish the silt.)

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Grin, Greg, common problem really but not one I've seen asked before. Yes, you can do this in the bathtub or if you have a large 'washtub' that you can take outside, thats a little easier since you won't have to transport a heavy drippy 'blanket/quilt' outside.
If it's colorsafe or all one color, (and doesnt have a dryclean only tag) you can use your normal washingmachine soap and just cold water from a hose. It's better to wash it twice with 1/2 the normal amount of soap because you'll find the soap is a bit hard to get out. Since you say it is blanket like, I can assume no cotton filler? That will make it easier and you wont have lumpy cotton batting that wads up on you.
The best way to dry it is to lay it out flat or over something big. My neighbor washes his car then uses the top for the heirloom quilt drying rack. He parks his car in my driveway so it's shaded by our communal tree (keeps the sun from fading it but now and again he has to spot clean a bird drop).
In winter, he borrows 2 of our sawhorses to add to his and makes a frame in his garage to dry it there.
Now if it's dryclean only, you can chance it with woolite (or a woolite knockoff) if you want. Same process. No guarentee there but thats how I do my queen sized 'mink blankets' I got in Thailand and Korea. If yours are that type or sound near it, let me know and I can get more specific for them.
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On Sun, 24 Feb 2008 16:39:31 -0600, gregpatton@ho__ail.com wrote:

Take it next time you go to the city and use a large coin-op washing machine. If the laundrymat has an extractor (not too common), all the better. Be careful not to allow the quilt to be wet for more than a day to avoid mold/mildew.
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Just put the washing machine on the gentlest cycle possible. Most cleaning is done by the water so you don't even need soap. Just be sure to rinse well as that's when the dirt and smells wash away.
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On Feb 24, 4:39 pm, gregpatton@ho__ail.com wrote:

Next time you're in town drop it off at a drycleaners or commercial laundry. HTH
Joe
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