Pre-washing Fabric for Quilting

If you are a quilter, it won’t take you long to find a lot of mixed information on pre-washing fabric to be used in quiltmaking. Every quilter has their own answer to the “Should I pre-wash?” or “Shouldn’t I pre-wash ? dilemma.

As a life-long hand-quilter, I learned long ago that I will not risk damaging expensive fabric by NOT pre-washing.  I have seen what happens when I put a navy blue or red solid cotton fabric into a sink or washing machine with hot water and solid white fabric. It is not pretty, at least I don’t think so.  Thus, I pre-wash everything as soon as it comes home in my shopping bag.  You choose what you want to do.  It’s your decision. Totally.

I have had many quilters ask me the same question:  “But what if you buy a precut fabric pack such as those “5- inch charm squares” or any other size pre-cut fabric pack? How do you pre-wash THOSE?

mesh laundry bag

That is an easy question to answer, and it doesn’t cost much at all.

  • Invest in a couple of mesh laundry bags or a Lingerie Washing Bag set.
  • Open the zipper and insert a handful of fabrics that have the same color value (Example, your bag might have all red fabrics in it.)
  • Fill your kitchen sink with HOT water and DAWN dishwashing detergent.
  • Throw the bag into the hot water. Swish it around for a few minutes, then walk away.
  • Leave the bag in the sink for about 30 minutes, then look at the water.  If it looks like it has  a red or pink hue to it, pull out the bag, squeeze the excess water out of it, and fill the sink up with hot water and Dawn detergent again.
  • Repeat the soaking process until your water no longer has a color showing up in the water.
  • Drain bag and gently squeeze out the water.
  • Then soak the bag and its fabric contents for about 10 minutes in COLD WATER.
  • Rinse, soak, repeat until you no longer see any color.
  • Toss the bag with it contents into your dryer and let the dryer do its thing.  You might need to press your fabric when you are finished, but your fabric will be safe and you will not have red (or any other color) staining on your white fabrics.
  • The end.  Easy Peasy.