Cleaning a feedsack can be a daunting task. How can an 80 year old textile stand up to today's modern chemicals and machines? The answer- surprisingly well.
Before you spend hours cutting, sewing, and quilting feedsacks, you will want to clean them. Why spend hours of work on something that is going to fall apart in the first wash, right? If you are dealing with feedsacks with advertising designs, you will probably have to try very hard to remove the design. The oldest feedsacks were printed with ink that wasn't water soluble. That meant as hard as you tried, your feedsack slip was going to keep the words "Pride of Dixie" right across your girls.
Transfer your wet feedsacks to your washing machine. I do not have an agitator. If you have access to an HE machine, I suggest you use it. I set my HE machine on "whitest whites" for both sets of feedsacks. That is a 100 minute cycle of hot water. If you have an agitator in your machine, I suggest using a delicate cycle. I chose hot water because I used BIZ with my detergent. BIZ needs heat to activate.
Back to the feedsacks....I washed the feedsacks without an agitator in hot water with 1/4cup or so of BIZ and my regular detergent. What came out were fresh smelling, beautiful feedsacks that I can feel confident will stand up to washings once placed in a precious quilt. I also feel safe selling these to people should I go that route. I'm a little crippled with fear at cutting into them, especially the intact ones. I am considering selling them but I really really want to create with them. I could buy my husband a really awesome Christmas present with the money from these, so I'm completely torn. I am gonna marinate on that decision for a while. I'd love to hear your thoughts on exactly what I should do with them.
PS: If you would like to try the BIZ, they have a $2 printable coupon on their website.