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Usually I don't prewash my fabric. The only exception: red or black fabric. These ones I test for bleeding. If they bleed, I prewash. I learned how to test from Harriet Hargrave (wherelse?).
This is the manual how to wash my quilts - my quilts as in 'I made them'. I don't take responsibility if you wash any other quilt that way, especially antique quilts!
Buy some colour-catching sheets in your drugstore. Usually there are 10-20 sheets in one package.
max. 30 degrees Celsius / 90 Fahrenheit, gentle spinning (I switch to 600 cycles)
washing by hand (ideal)
or wool (also possible)
or easy-care (if that's the correct translation into english)
During the very first wash cycle don't use any detergent at all
but use 3-6 colour-catching-sheets, it depends on the size of the quilt and the intensity of the colours. Don't be afraid to use more, they don't do any harm to the quilt.
Let the wet quilt in the machine and start the 'standard' wash cycle immediately.
The 'standard' wash cycle
3-6 new colour-catching-sheets, depending on the size of the quilt and the intensity of the colours AND
a small amount of a very mild detergent. The best detergent is Orvus Paste. Don't use any additional stuff like fabric softener. The quilt doesn't need it!
Whenever you will wash the quilt from now on use colour-catching sheets until they come out of the machine and are still white. From that point on you don't need them any more.
After the washing
Handle the wet quilt with care, otherwise the seams may break.
The quilt will be wet but not dripping after the gentle cycling.
Lay it flat or spread it over a clotheshorese. Don't hang it on the line (hanging means 'not handling with care').
It will be completely dry within a few hours.
I've heard you can put the wet quilt in a dryer, but I don't own one and never tried it.
You can iron the quilt (two points) - but why bother?
If this comment did help you - please leave a comment. And leave a comment too if you have other suggestions!