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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Caring for Bedspreads

We only use our bed comforter for show; I purchased it solely because it went with a specific chair that I wanted to use in our bedroom.  Every night, I remove the comforter, fold it up, and lay it in the corner.  In the morning, I make the bed up and place the comforter back on, topping it with decorative pillows, and smile as I walk away because I like the way the room looks.  I take great care of this comforter because I don’t want to have to invest hours (again) in trying to find another one that goes so well with the room.  You’re thinking, just have it cleaned.  But the truth is that I’m concerned about shrinking and fading; even if I follow the care label and use the proper cleaning procedure, it could fade or shrink.  Why is that?  Many times, comforters are finished with a special glaze to give them a nice shine or are colored with dyes that are not colorfast to both dry cleaning and washing.  After they are cleaned, by either washing or dry cleaning, they may appear streaked, have an overall dull appearance, or experience light fading that is noticeable when place with matching items that haven’t been cleaned.  Then there’s the batting on the inside that can get clumpy. 

Sadly, comforters and quilts aren’t covered by the Care Label Rule, so how do you go about making sure they continue to look lovely over the years?  Look for quality when purchasing:
  • Check to make sure there is a care label and read the care instructions.
  • Find out if the bedspread has been preshrunk. If it wasn’t, then it could shrink even during an acceptable cleaning method, which could cause it to not fit properly and to look too small.
  • If you are thinking of purchasing a down or fiber-filled comforter, make sure they are well-quilted, with stitches that run both vertically and horizontally with quilting lines running about 8-10” apart.
  • Check to make sure the stitching is strong and secure.  Loose stitching will allow the filling to shift during cleaning.
  • Read the label to see what kind of batting the comforter uses; wool batting can shrink and distort if washed in a washing machine.
When caring for your bedspread or comforter:

  • Remember that light exposure over time will lead to color fading.
  • Clean any spots or spills immediately to prevent them from becoming permanent.
  • Before washing or having items cleaned, make sure there are no loose stitches, cuts, or tears.  When a quilted item gets wet, it gets heavy and small imperfections can turn into larger ones.
  • Follow the instructions on the care label.  If there is no care label, take it to a professional.
  • Wash or have all matching items cleaned together to ensure they will continue to look uniform.
  • If you are concerned about color loss, take it to a professional so they can test an inconspicuous area to see if it might possibly fade.
  • Bedspreads and comforters that are filled with heat-sensitive fibers can pucker or shrink during the cleaning process or if the items was not preshrunk, even if the instructions are followed exactly.  A professional dry cleaner can test an inconspicuous area to see if this could happen to your bedding. 
The bottom line is that if you are in doubt, check with a professional dry cleaner.  A Cleaner World has 32 locations throughout North Carolina and Virginia, and we would be happy to take a look at your bedding and offer advice or simply just take care if it for you so that you don’t have to worry about it.

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