Quilts are labors of love that are an expression of creativity and hours of hard work. Many families have quilts that have been passed down from generation to generation, making them heirlooms that should be treasured. If you have a lot of quilts, old or new, you’ll find it impossible to display all of them at once. Give some thought to your storage options, because how you store your quilts can impact greatly on their appearance and longevity.
Do not store your quilt:
- In a plastic container. Plastic is very good at being waterproof, meaning that it will trap any moisture from the air inside with your quilt. This can lead to mold growth which breaks down fibers and causes unsightly stains (not to mention an unpleasant moldy, stuffy smell). Plastic is also known for attracting insects, which may attack and harm your quilts.
- With mothballs. Mothballs contain naphthalene, which goes into the fibers of the quilt and will never quite go away.
- In a cedar chest. Surprisingly, wood can damage and stain quilts quite easily.
- In direct sunlight. Sunlight is harsh and can cause fading and discoloration, and can also create temperature changes which can affect fibers and make them brittle.
- In basements or attics. Basements and attics have huge changes in both temperature and humidity during the year. Humidity is terrible news for quilts, and temperature changes can promote the growth of mold as well as insect infestations. Rather store your quilts in the house, where the temperature and humidity are relatively stable.
- With too many other quilts. You may have accumulated a large number of quilts throughout your lifetime, and it’s tempting to keep them all stacked on top of each other. However, this can lead to creasing which is incredibly difficult to remove, resulting in permanently wrinkled quilts.
- On a hanging rack for too long. Display racks are great for showing off quilts, but they should be rotated every couple of months to prevent too much damage from sunlight and also from the constant tension of hanging.
- In cardboard boxes. Not only does cardboard not do enough to protect your quilts, it has many staining chemicals that can irreparably damage your quilts.
Store your quilt
- Use a batting tube. Roll up your quilt along with some archival tissue paper and store in a batting tube. Make sure that the tube is made from natural materials and contains no chemicals that might stain your quilts. Some companies make specialized textile storage boxes and containers that will protect your quilt without staining or damaging your treasured items.
- Layer your quilts. If you want to show off your quilts, consider having a number of them on your guest bed, rotating them as each guest comes to visit.
- If you want to fold your quilts, make sure you do it correctly to prevent irreparable creases that will ruin your quilt. Archival tissue paper provides support in the creases which can prevent wrinkling, so make sure to have some of that in the corners of your folds.
Quilts are traditionally considered precious family treasures, and appropriate storage is essential to ensure that they can be passed down from generation to generation.