How to Wash a Quilt Cover

Quilt covers act as a barrier between the quilt and the environment, trapping dirt and dust that can accumulate over time. If they are not washed regularly, these substances can become trapped in the quilt, which can lead to skin irritation, respiratory issues, and other health problems.

Also, unwashed quilt covers allow dirt and oils to seep through, ruining the quilt and making it harder to clean. Therefore, Washing your quilt cover regularly will ensure that it remains clean and safe for your family.

Instructions for Washing Your Quilt Cover

A quilt cover can be washed either by hand or by machine. Even though hand washing is more time-consuming and labor-intensive, and requires more water and detergent than machine washing, it is often preferred because this process is gentler on fabrics, while machine washing can be too harsh on delicate fibers. However, if the quilt cover is made of a more durable fabric, such as cotton or polyester, then machine washing is usually the better option.

Machine Washing

It’s always a good idea to read the manufacturer’s instructions before washing the quilt cover in a washing machine. If there is a washing instruction, I recommend you follow it. Otherwise, just follow these simple steps to get the job done.

  1. Put your quilt cover in the washing machine drum.
  2. Add mild detergent where your machine indicates. You may also add non-chlorine bleach as needed. The quilt cover’s fibers should not be damaged or weakened by bleaching.
  3. Use cold water and a gentle wash/spin cycle to clean your quilt cover.
  4. After cleaning is complete, remove the quilt cover from the washing machine, gently shake it out, and dry it right away.

Pro Tip: In order to effectively remove body oils, sweat, and dirt from your duvet, place some tennis balls in clean socks and tie the socks so the balls don’t pop out, then throw them in the washer with the quilt cover.  

Washing by Hand

It’s true that hand washing a quilt cover takes some time and effort. However, it’s worth it because washing by hand is much safer than doing it in a machine. Additionally, it keeps the color of the cover vibrant and increases its lifespan.

Here are the steps you need to follow to wash your quilt cover by hand:

  1. Fill your bathtub with enough cold water so that it can submerge the entire quilt cover.
  2. Add mild detergent, and neutral pH soap to the water and mix well.
  3. Soak the quilt cover completely by pushing it down underwater and then gently move the quilt cover without overagitating to prevent felting and shrinkage. When done, wait at least 20 minutes.
  4. Now drain the tub and re-fill it with water to rinse the quilt cover. Rinse at least twice to remove soap residue.
  5. Pull the quilt cover out of the washing machine and gently press it to remove extra water. Make sure not to wring or twist it.

Tips to Prevent Wrinkles

  • Use a gentle wash setting to prevent tangling during rinse and spin cycles. This will ultimately reduce wrinkles.
  • Measure your detergent carefully because too much can wrinkle.
  • Fold the quilt cover immediately after drying to prevent creases and wrinkles from setting in.
  • After laundering, you can iron wrinkles or creases left in the fabric if the cover’s care label indicates it’s okay to do so. Turn the cover inside-out and iron on the reverse side for a smooth finish.
  • Whenever you fold the cover, smooth the fabric between each fold so that it comes out from storage looking crispy and fresh.

Can Quilt Covers Go in The Dryer?

While you can dry most quilt covers in the dryer, it’s advisable to do it the old-fashioned way and dry manually. This is because the heat and tumble action of a dryer can weaken the fabric fibers, leading to shrinking, fading, and other damages especially if the cover is made of delicate fabrics like cotton, wool, or silk.

Aside from that, the dryer’s tumble action can cause the fabric to pill and wear down. This can result in a rougher texture and an overall decrease in quality. Unfortunately, if you don’t have enough space to dry the cover on the floor or on a cloth line outside, the only option left is to use a dryer.

Note: If you plan to dry a quilt cover in the dryer, set the temperature to low or medium, and don’t let the cycle run longer than necessary. Leaving it to dry for too long can damage the cover.

Pro Tip: Toss some wool dryer balls into the dryer. As they punch and fluff the fabric, they allow more air in, allowing your quilt cover to dry faster, soften the fabric, and reduce wrinkles.

How Often Should You Wash Your Quilt Cover

This depends on the type of fabric your quilt cover is made of and how often it is used. Quilt covers should be washed at least once a month. If you don’t spend much time in bed beyond sleeping, wash your quilt cover every two to four weeks. However, if you often watch television, read, or spend other time in bed—or if your furry friends sleep with you—you may need to wash your quilt cover once in a week.

It is best to wash your quilt cover frequently to avoid stains or odors. Additionally, you should wash your quilt cover more often if you have pets. The same applies if you suffer from allergies or asthma.

Safety advice: Whenever you spill something on your quilt cover, you should remove it immediately and wash it right away in order to prevent the spill from seeping into your quilt and causing damage.


Can you wash a quilt cover with the quilt inside?

No, it is not recommended to wash a quilt cover with the quilt inside. This could cause the quilt to bunch up and the fabric of the cover to stretch. Besides, the heavy weight of the quilt may cause the cover to rip or tear in the washing machine.

What detergent to use when washing a quilt cover?

You should use a detergent recommended for use on delicate fabrics such as wool or silk, as these are often used in quilt covers. Avoid using detergents that contain bleach or other harsh chemicals that may damage the fabric. It is also a good idea to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for best results.

What temperature to use when ironing a quilt cover?

Generally, it is best to use the lowest temperature setting possible. This will help prevent the fabric from scorching or shrinking. Check the care label on the quilt cover to determine the best temperature setting. Cotton quilt covers should be ironed at a higher temperature while delicate fabrics, such as silk or polyester, require a lower temperature.


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