How To Clean a Vintage/Antique Quilt Top

Uncategorized | December 2, 2014 | By

I’m a little particular about the smells and condition of the quilt tops I work on, for myself and customers.  I have a terrible mold/mildew allergy, so there is no tolerance for them in a quilt top!  I have found a few things that work well for me.  Here we go…..

AMMONIA, is the secret to removing mold and mildew.  I soak 1 part ammonia to 7 parts water in the bathtub, overnight.  Every now and then I go in and give it a good stir and a squish.

The next day I gently squeeze out water, rinse, repeat, at least 3 or 4 times.  You will find the water is so dirty and smelly that once or twice is just not enough!  I rinse until there is no more brown in the water.  I squeeze out all the water I can without twisting or wringing.  Then I lay it out on the grass for most of the day.  Depending on the fabric and the stitching, I might air fluff it in my dryer for about 20 minutes.
This quilt had a lot of “tea” stained areas due to age, so it got a second soak for the staining AFTER it was quilted with a product called Retro Clean.  It comes in powder form and I also mix it in the bathtub and let it soak overnight.  Same process, squish out all the water and then lay outside for a good sun soak.  I definitely give it some time in the dryer for a softening.
This quilt came out looking brand new when it was finished!  It’s initial bargain price of $10 took a little work to get to the finish, but all worth it at the end!
I used an all over sunflower pattern for the quilting.
I love the vintage fabrics and especially how white and bright it became!
Need a vintage quilt, quilted, and wonder what it would cost?  This top was 80″ x 90″, which is 7,200 sq inches.  I charge 2 cents per sq in for an edge to edge design, totaling $144 for the quilting.  Add in 3 yds of batting at $10/yd and the total is $174. Shipping both ways will also run about $20-$30, depending on the size of your quilt.  That’s it in a nutshell!  Email for a quote and time frame!


  1. Leave a Reply

    July 29, 2017

    Thank you so much for this! I just found a beautiful old top at an estate sale. A wedding ring quilt and I’m determined to quilt it on my Avante. You are an inspiration and I thank you for all the info you share!!

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