How to Store a Quilt

When you have finished making your quilt you will probably want to put it on display for your family or friends to see. Perhaps you may even choose to use it as a day-to-day quilt bed cover. There will inevitably be times however when it is necessary to store your precious quits somewhere safe for a while.

Also, if you do use your quilt every day it is generally a good idea to periodically give it a break every few months and let the quilt rest for some time. This will let the fibres in the quilt fabric which have been stressed time to recover to their natural shape and strength.

In this article we discuss the various methods of storing a quilt and ensuring minimal damage while being stored.

Eight tips for storing your quilts safely

Tip #1 – Keep your quilt dry. Find a place where your quilt will get good circulation of cool, dry air. Damp air and moisture can attract mold and mildew to that will quickly rot the fibres in the fabric and ruin your quilt.

Tip #2 – Wrap your quilt in a cotton sheet. Never store your quilt in a plastic box or plastic wrap as these are non-breathable and will cause moisture to build up. Wrapping your quilt gently in a cotton sheet is great as it will protect the fabric from dust yet will still let the material breathe.

Tip #3 – Avoid extremes of temperature. Although it may be convenient, it is never a good idea to store your quilts in the attic or cellar as extremes in temperature can be very damaging to a quilt. Changes in temperature can cause stress and deterioration of the fibres in the quilt and excess heat will cause it to dry out.

Tip #4 – Watch out for bugs and mice! When choosing a place to store your quilts, think about how accessible that place might be for small bugs, mice and insects. Garages, attics and sheds are popular havens for rodents and insects and should be avoided at all costs. Cardboard boxes should also be avoided as it is not unknown for mice to chew through the cardboard and harvest fibres from the quilt inside to build their nests!

Tip #5 – Keep your quilt in the dark. Sunlight can be very damaging to a quilt, by breaking down the fibres and fading the colors. Direct sunlight should be avoided at all costs. Be particularly careful when drying your quilt out on a line after washing it. Even the light from fluorescent lighting can be damaging to a quilt over time.

Tip #6 – Keep your quilt unfolded. It is best to try and avoid folding your quilt for long periods of time unless you have to. By far the best place to store your quilts is by lying them on an unused bed with a cotton sheet on top. If you must fold your quilts, then every few months you should make a point of unfolding the quilts and shaking them out to air them. Make sure when you put them back that you re-fold them in a different way to prevent creases that occur when a quilt is folded the same way all the time. The topic of folding brings us on to the next point which is:

Tip #7 – Use acid-free paper. If you must fold your quilts to store them, you should always place some crumpled acid-free tissue paper in the folds to pad it out and minimise creasing. Remember that creases tend to become permanent over time and the tissue paper will help the quilt keep its shape. It is important to use acid-free paper to do this however as conventional tissue-paper contains acids that will stain and corrode the quilt fabrics over time.

Tip #7 – Roll your quilts. If you are short of space then it is preferable to roll your quilts rather than folding them. The rolled quilt can then be kept safely inside a large cardboard tube, but make sure that you line the tube and wrap the quilt in acid free paper first to prevent contamination from the cardboard!

Tip #8 – Keep your quilt away from wood. Be careful where you leave your quilts! Unfinished wood, such as the type often found inside wooden drawers or chests, often contains acids that can damage fabric. If you must store your quilts in these places make sure you line them carefully with acid-free paper before putting the quilt down.