Every once in a while I pre-soak/shrink my batting…and since I get a lot of questions about it I thought I’d answer it in a quick post.
I usually don’t pre-wash my batting unless I’m concerned about shrinkage in the final quilt or I’m using a Chenille backing, as was the case this time.  I like the crinkly look of a washed quilt, and even with pre-shrinking I’ve found that my quilts still shrink a bit.  Out of the package batting is also thinner and way easier to work with/fit under my sewing machine foot, so that’s another main reason I usually don’t.
When I do pre-soak …I cut my batting at least 4″ larger than my quilt top around all sides (if I’m quilting it myself).  Then I stick it in my washer in hot water and let it soak for the day or overnight.  I use a tiny bit of detergent, or you can use a product like this made for soaking.
After it’s soaked at least 5 hours or so I spin cycle the batting in the washer (don’t agitate it though!) to remove the water.  Then I throw it in the dryer on low just as I would with any delicates.  Because it dries fast, I check it often and take it out right when it’s dry so it’s not bouncing around in there needlessly getting too hot.
I use mainly Warm and White batting.  This roll in the picture is long gone (can you believe it?)…but now I usually buy it when it’s 50% off in King sized packs because that roll takes up a lot of room!

14 Responses to Soaking

  1. Missy Shay March 7, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

    Thank you for this, I had read to wash and not to wash so this helps.

  2. Dree March 7, 2012 at 2:38 pm #

    I am about to make a quilt with a minkee back, and haven't decided if I should even put batting in. Though the point of the minkee is to make my 9-year-old happy, and it's all about soft and warm with him.

    Will have to see if I can adjust this for a front loader! No agitation is easy, soaking is hard…

  3. Nicci P March 7, 2012 at 2:56 pm #

    Dree, you could soak it in your bathtub, then spin it in your washer.

  4. LeAnne March 7, 2012 at 5:03 pm #

    Good to know! I've always wondered how on earth to preshrink batting without making a massive mess! Also, if you have time to let me know! where did you find your chenille fabric in the picture? Thanks!

  5. vintage grey March 7, 2012 at 5:11 pm #

    thank you for sharing this great information! xo

  6. MeganAnne March 7, 2012 at 10:21 pm #

    I {stupidly} did the agitation and at a laundromat to boot! It was quite a diasppointing mess.

  7. 2ndAvenueStudio-Rachel March 8, 2012 at 4:40 am #

    Im confused why you soak for hours…
    I just spin and fry in the dryer…
    I dont do it often either but with bamboo and when I use vintage linens..

  8. Judy Blinkenberg March 8, 2012 at 5:34 am #

    Thank you so much for this. I have never washed my batting and appreciate the info. It's nice to have the fabric just crinkle a little but the batting stay nice. I'll try it. That's alot of batting. Wish I'd get busy and quilt more.

  9. Barb - The Empty Nest Mom March 8, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

    I've never heard of washing batting and learned something new here. Appreciate the specifics on when you DO wash.

  10. LuAnn March 11, 2012 at 12:04 am #

    I was in Barnes and Noble yesterday and picked up a copy of Artful Blogging. I enjoyed reading your story and seeing your quilts there in the current issue.

  11. CaroleM March 11, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

    I have a front loader, so not sure how that would work… To be honest, I haven't preshrunk my batting before. Worthwhile on some projects though, for sure. Perhaps just letting it sit in the laundry sink for a bit…

  12. Logan March 12, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

    Thank you for the tips!

  13. Rebecca July 6, 2012 at 8:48 pm #

    I really like these tips on when/how to pre-wash batting. I've never done it, but I am debating using chenille for the backing of the quilt I'm currently working on, so if I do, I will try this! Do you have any other tips on backing a quilt with chenille? It will be a first for me!

  14. Elaine September 30, 2013 at 5:48 pm #

    Is it cost effective to buy it in packs? I also wait for the 50% off sale but my husband says to buy the bolt and stick it in the storage cabinet in the gargage!!

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