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Home All About Quilting How to Avoid Sun Damage on Quilts

How to Avoid Sun Damage on Quilts

by Beth Cooper

Hey there, fellow quilt enthusiasts! It’s time to talk about the effects of sunlight on antique quilts from the past and on the quilts we are making today. Yes, those beautiful, intricate quilts that have been passed down from generation to generation can be ruined by the sun’s harmful UV rays and so can your beautiful newly-finished masterpiece. But fear not! By learning from the mistakes of the past, we can take steps to preserve our treasured quilts for future generations to enjoy.

Antique quilts are a window into our history, and we want to keep them in as pristine condition as possible. Unfortunately, many antique quilts have suffered damage from years of exposure to sunlight. The fabrics have faded, the colors have dulled, and in some cases, the fabric has even deteriorated. So, what can we learn from these mistakes, and how can we avoid them in the future? Because this isn’t only about antique quilts, we also want to preserve your new quilts as well and prevent them from getting sun damage.

This acid-free tissue is perfect for wrapping around a treasured quilt for storage.
Find it on Missouri Star Quilt Co., or by clicking here.

Irreversible Damage

The first step is to understand the damage that sunlight can cause. UV rays can weaken and fade fabrics over time. This means that if you store your antique quilts in a sunny room or display them in direct sunlight, you’re putting them at risk of irreversible damage.

To avoid this, it’s essential to store your quilts in a dark, cool, and dry place. This could be a closet, a drawer, or a storage box. Just make sure that the place you choose is free from pests and moisture. If you choose to display your quilts, be sure to do so in a spot that’s away from windows or use UV-blocking film on your windows to protect your quilts from the sun’s rays. If you do display a quilt in a sunny spot or on use it on a bed in a bright bedroom, etc., just be sure to change it out frequently. Don’t leave it in one spot for an extended period of time. If you must leave it there, darken the room to protect it.

These acid-free boxes come in many sizes and are perfect for storing quilts that you want to keep in pristine condition. Find them here.

Handling Quilts

Another important factor to consider is how you handle your quilts. Always make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before touching your keepsake quilts, as the oils from your skin can cause damage over time. Be sure to wash quilts that are used frequently on a regular basis. When storing your quilts, fold them carefully and avoid creasing the same spot repeatedly. It’s also a good idea to wrap your antique and other stored quilts in acid-free paper to help protect them from yellowing and discoloration. Do not store them in plastic containers. A cotton pillowcase works great.

Quilts are a precious link to our past and to our future. We must take steps to preserve them. By learning from the mistakes of the past, we can ensure that our treasured quilts remain in excellent condition for generations to come. So, keep your keepsake quilts out of the sunlight, handle them with care, and store them properly to preserve their beauty and history. Happy quilting, folks!

Want to read more articles like this? Check out How to Whiten that Antique Quilt!

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Betty Jennings
Betty Jennings
11 months ago

I took 8th and 9th grade home economics but I learned most from my neighbor and dearest friend, Dorothy. I made some fairly elaborate clothes in high school and college. Began making quilts in my 30’s but took a ten year break when rheumatoid arthritis settled in. I now quilt almost daily and have millions to start and finish!