How to Wash a Quilt With Cotton Batting

Both hand and machine washing guide for a quilt with cotton batting

I know you came here hoping to learn how to wash a quilt with cotton batting, but I’m sorry to say that before inserting the batting into the quilt, you should have washed it first. If you have already done that, there is nothing to worry about. If not, here is a guide to pre-washing cotton batting.

Generally, it is not a good idea to wash a quilt containing cotton batting that was not pre-washed before use. It will cause the quilt to be stained by tiny oil spots since cotton seeds contain oil.

Moreover, after washing the quilt with the cotton batting inside, the batting may bunch up or fall apart between the stitched lines. It is possible for cotton batting and other natural fiber battings to shrink from 3 to 5 percent. So, when you take it out of the dryer, you should expect it to be smaller than it was before.

Don’t worry, if you have pre-washed the batting before inserting it into the quilt, none of that will occur. However, if you did not prewash the batting before using it, then you should be ready for the oil stains and shrinkage.

A Guide to Washing a Quilt with Cotton Batting

There are two ways in which you can wash your quilt, either by hand in the bathtub or by machine. However, if your quilt is large, it would be better to wash it in the bathtub rather than in a machine.

Machine Washing

  1. Select the delicate cycle in the washing machine
  2. Set the temperature of the water to a cooler setting
  3. Use mild detergent or quilt soap specially made to wash quilts
  4. Afterward, load the quilt into the washing machine
  5. It’s time to close the door and hit the Start button. Allow the quilt to soak for 15-30 minutes.
  6. As soon as the quilt has been washed, remove it from the washing machine and gently squeeze out the water. Be careful not to wring or twist the quilt. (You can be at ease if you have a washer-dryer combo since the spin cycle of your machine will dry the quilt for you.)

Washing in a Bathtub

  1. Fill your tub with normal-temperature water about three to four inches deep. In the case of a king-size quilt, this may need to be a little deeper.
  2. Add a mild detergent or quilt soap and mix in evenly throughout the water.
  3. Now immerse the quilt in the water and press it down firmly, then move it gently to let it soak completely. Once that is done, wait for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Drain the tub completely, re-fill it with water, then gently rinse the batting, moving it back and forth carefully. Repeat the process at least twice to ensure that all soap has been removed.
  5. Drain the tub again once the process is complete. Squeeze the quilt to let excess water run down the drain. Do not wring or twist the quilt; instead, gently squeeze out the water.
  6. Roll the quilt in a large towel and squeeze to get as much water as possible out of the quilt.
  7. Lay the quilt on a flat surface either outside or in a large room to finish drying.

Final Thoughts

The process of washing a quilt with cotton batting may seem complicated at first, but if you follow the steps above correctly, it’s easy. It doesn’t matter whether you wash the quilt on a machine or by hand in a bathtub, just keep patience and do it carefully. It’s important to note that cotton seeds contain oil, if your quilt batting was not pre-washed before inserting, your quilt may catch little oil stains everywhere. Furthermore, since the batting is being washed for the first time, your quilt is likely to shrink and become smaller than it was before. All those won’t happen if you have pre-washed the batting before inserting it into the quilt. Hence, you can relax.

Share your washing experience in the comment section below to let us know how it went. Have fun quilting!


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