Removing Mold From Quilts - Rescuing Quilts from the Flood Waters
As a result of the Floods of 2008, Debra Murphy and some other EIHQ members were presented with the dubious opportunity to learn how to save quilted items that had been caught in the flood waters. They collected information from a variety of sources and were able to put together the following method which they used to save quilted jackets, wall hangings, and a queen sized quilt.
Items for Storage (until cleaning is possible)
Plastic Garbage Bags (one at least the size of the quilted item laid flat, and one large enough to hold quilted item)
Items for Cleaning
Garden Hose (hooked up to outside cold water faucet)
Kiddy Pool (to bleach larger quilts)
Laundry Detergent (Tide Recommended)
Important Note: Always wear rubber gloves when handling the contaminated items!
Storage Try to keep the quilted items damp until you finish cleaning them. If they dry out before you are able to retrieve them, get them damp again as soon as possible. When working with several quilted items or if you are too busy to give the items attention right away, put the ones you aren’t currently cleaning in the freezer to halt the spread of bacteria. Roll the quilt or item like a jelly roll, with a layer of plastic (the garbage bag) separating the layers of damp fabric so that they don’t touch to help prevent colors from bleeding. Place the rolled item in a plastic garbage bag and put the bag in a freezer. When you have time to work on it, take it out of the freezer and thaw long enough to so that it can be unrolled and continue with the rest of the cleaning immediately.
Cleaning It is important to get the river sludge rinsed out as soon as possible. Lay the quilts out on the driveway and use the garden hose with a spray nozzle to hose them off with a sweeping motion, back and forth across the quilt. Hopefully you will see the dirt lift out and spray away. Turn the quilts over and spray the back clean. Repeat until you feel it is as clean as you can get it.
The items must be bleached with enough bleach to kill the bacteria and mold. However you also want to avoid using too much bleach, which could cause the colors to fade. Add 2 tablespoons of bleach to a washing machine tub full of water (cool or warm). Agitate the water for just a bit to ensure the bleach is evenly distributed and then add the quilt. Run the washer for just a few minutes, and then drain the bleach water.
For large quilts you may you may use a kiddy pool to treat them with bleach instead. Fill the kiddy pool part way with cold water and add about 3 tablespoons of bleach. Swish the water to distribute the bleach evenly and then add the quilt to the pool. Swish and push the quilt down through the water until you feel the quilt has enough bleach water through all the layers to be safe. Move the quilt to the washer to finish cleaning.
Run a regular wash cycle and use Tide detergent. If there are any spots that need additional cleaning, you can dip your fingers in the Tide and rub them on the area. This works especially well to make sure that white fabric comes out a nice bright white again. Rinse out the quilted item at least twice. If it still seems to be a little sudsy rinse it again.
Do not dry the quilts in a dryer. They must air dry. If you find spots that you have missed you will have a better chance of removing the spot if they are not heat dried. Oxy Clean may be used on spots that are found and need to be cleaned again.
You may find that there is some color running on your items as a result of being in the flood waters, but after bleaching and cleaning those spots are likely to be hard to find.
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