Monday, October 22, 2007

Wash or No Wash?

You see it everywhere "pre-wash your fabrics". OK, but why? If you tell me it is because you are allergic to the chemicals and starches I would understand. If you tell me you think a particular fabric (usually red or hot pink) will run, I would understand. But please don't tell me it is to pre-shrink it. Have you really had a problem with today's fabrics shrinking? I certainly haven't. I have some quilts that I have made in the early 90's with less than stellar fabrics, from less than stellar sources. I never pre-washed any of that fabric and those same quilts have been washed a ton of times. Not only that but (are you sitting down?) I wash them in the washer with a teaspoon of dish soap, and then put them in the dryer. Are you shocked?
These quilts have not shrunk one tiny bit, they haven't even puckered (which I wouldn't mind if they did).
So someone, please tell me, what is the point?


katelnorth said...

There are a number of different reasons for pre-washing. To remove sizing or other chemicals either for allergy reasons or just to leave a nicer hand when working on the fabric; to ensure colourfastness (particularly in batiks, reds, purples, but sometimes in other colourways); to pre-shrink (I've had some that don't shrink at all, others have shrunk by as much as two inches across the width - yes, even with today's "quality" fabrics). Some fabrics might be fine on all these counts, but I decided a while back just to wash everything the minute it comes in the house, and then it's ready to go when I need it, with no dithering. And safe for swaps which require pre-washing, too.

Archaic Dome said...
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Archaic Dome said...

Meh. If I'm stitching something special, it's to a quilt shop with pre-washing and uber-pressing I go. If I'm stitching something to keep warm, it's Wal-Mart's dollar rack (I know you're cringing...). Then it gets washed with Tide in the washer. If it can't be well-loved, I don't want it. I made my parents one for their 15th anniversary, and it's been washed twice a month for 5 years (by my dad, who doesn't know to separate whites from reds), and it's aging beautifully.

rubytuesday said...

I agree with you about prewashing. I just don't do it unless I fear color fastness. And now with the dye magnets, I don't really worry about that too much. I just give a box of them with the quilt.