Prewashing Quilt Fabric

©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Reds tend to run, so you should prewash to find out if you have a usable fabric.

Before you begin a quilting project, it's important to first wash quilt fabrics. This will remove some of the chemicals added by the manufacturer and make it easier to quilt. Also, cotton fabric does shrink, and most of the shrinkage will occur during the first washing and drying. Be sure to use settings that are as hot as those you intend to use with the finished quilt.

Dark, intense colors, especially reds, tend to bleed or run. Wash these fabrics by themselves. If the water becomes colored, try soaking the fabric in a solution of three parts cold water to one part white wine vinegar. Rinse thoroughly. Wash again. If the fabric is still losing its color, discard the fabric and select another. It is not worth using a fabric that may ruin the other fabrics when the finished quilt is washed.


Not what you're looking for? Try:

  • Learn all about using patterns to create quilt templates in Making Quilt Templates.
  • Before you begin a quilting project, it's best to take the time on the front end and complete quilting prep work. Learn more on our Quilting Preparation page.
  • Learn How to Quilt or brush up on the basics with our refresher course.