How To Clean Spray Baste

I’ve updated this post here.Β Better camera, better photos, better tutorial, less editorial. πŸ˜‰


I really think that sometimes people like getting offended just for the sake of being offended. Or they like to argue, get their panties in a bundle, feel personally affronted….all because they are bored with their lives. These people must have all kinds of extra time on their hands that I just can’t fathom and, honestly, wouldn’t want. I like being busy.

Let’s take spray baste as an example. You mention spray baste on a quilting forum and you’re going to get a lecture on how you should really put 5000 pins in a quilt while in a cabin in the woods while making your own goat milk cheese because spray baste is so toxic and the fumes and you’re going to die and it’s so bad and evil…from people typing this on plastic computer, using wifi, with minerals from slave labor in the African Congo….yeah. Shut up. I don’t want to hear it. I just wanted to know how to get off too much spray baste.

I like spray baste. I have a can of June Tailor right now from Joann’s and it’s just fine. At least I think it’s June Tailor…I don’t really care. It works. I sew woven fabric to minky a lot, and it’s a life saver. See. I make cute stuff:

Baby Shower Gift Set
Baby Shower Gift Set

Minky, with all the pins in the world, using whatever foot you want, serger or sewing machine, will stretch, move, go to 7-eleven, and make sewing really difficult. Spray baste solves that. It’s a light, tacky spray that just barely holds the two together long enough to get the job done, which is all I require of it. I can adjust the minky over and over until everything is together, and it stays together through sewing.

spray basted, adjusted and cutting
spray basted, adjusted and cutting
sewing together
sewing together

Now, occasionally, I will get a little heavy handed with the spray, as anyone will, and there will be some residue, which will grab lint in the washer and you’ll get something like this.

The Gunk
The Gunk

I looked for help, hence the rant about zealots. The most helpful person was Julie at Crafty Quilter but it wasn’t quite enough info as she’s a pro and I screw up.Β  So, I went through a few cleaners, of course all non-toxic, super good for the environment, blah blah blah to find what would work to clean it off…ok, mostly to find what would take off the adhesive but not melt the minky or stain the fabric. I love, LOVE Bio-Kleen products. The Bac-Out is better than Spray’n’Wash x1000 and the cleaner/degreaser stuff is wonderful for everything else and can be quite strong depending on the concentration level. Did. Not. Do. A. Thing.

Bac-Out cleaner
Bac-Out cleaner

Then! THEN!! I remembered my friend, Sabrina. Oh, Sabrina is a goddess of stage and performance. The woman wrote her college thesis on corsetry. CORSETRY! That blows my mind. I’m not sure I even know how to spell cooorrrssseeetttrrryy. Anyway, Sabrina is the person theatres call for help and one time she was telling me about working backstage at The Lion King, and how they spray down the costumes in between with alcohol in spray bottles. Sometimes, they use 50% diluted cheap vodka in a spray bottle.


I don’t drink because I become an entire episode of Cops if I do, BUT I do have isopropyl alcohol on hand because when you have 4 kids, there will be blood.

Oh, hotdog, that did the trick! Just brush in one direction with toothbrush dipped in booze isopropyl alcohol and it comes right up.

toothbrush magic
toothbrush magic
not VODKA!
not VODKA!


Open a window if you get high from the fumes, throw the blanket back in the wash one more time so the baby doesn’t get high from the fumes, and you’re golden.

20 Replies to “How To Clean Spray Baste”

  1. Just starting out. have only made 3 quilts. My third one guess i got a little heavy on the spray and missed the back and got some on the front. Tried this out, and worked great. Thanks

    1. Great! I’m so glad! When you take your can back out to reuse it or before putting it away, I also recommend using a q-tip with alcohol to clean the nozzle. I just did this, so it’s top of mind!

  2. Dear SewBecky-

    You are the only only person I could find on the Internet to explain how to get a grey gunky funky stain out of my first quilt….which happened to be grey and white MINKY!

    Lawd, Lawd……I looked all OVER.

    The debates and criticisms did seem ENDLESS. Until I found your blog. (Angel Sounds….and twinkling bells)

    Not only did I not pre wash! (the HORROR). I cut up a strip sewed white and grey MINKY one side (DING DONG!). Yes well, I didn’t think I would need to with polyester. WRONG.

    And…I created my own grey lint to stick to the white in the process. Heck, if I’m going to GUNK UP MINKY and STAIN IT…..why expect my dryer remnants to do it? I gotta make sure I’ve got good grey blobs on the basting over spray. I do not mess around either!

    Thank you Miss Becky….,,you saved the first quilt I ever made and it was a gift for my niece! (More Angel Sounds & Heavenly Light)

    I owe you girl. Carmen

    PS – I’m still confused on the Vodka Lion King Thing…..but obviously…I have issues.

    1. Jane, that is a bummer! I haven’t had to clean it from silk, honestly. I suppose it depends on how you pretreated your silk. I wash my silk, so therefore I’d go for it. Silk is very strong, and any color issues would have shown up then. But if you’re dry cleaning, then you’d have to take it to the dry cleaner I would think. I’m sorry I’m not much help here!

  3. Becky, thank God for your post. I have some over spray my first time using a basting adhesive that didn’t come out in the wash. I can’t wait to try your solution because I really don’t want to change the border of a cuddle blanket. Thank you for your post!!!!

  4. Oh my God, you saved my kid’s dress. I love you, I love you, may flights of angels sing you to your etc. Thank you!

  5. Your post is a tonic. I’m so tired of perfectionist quilters!! I just used spray for the first time on a full size quilt and it’s awesome!

    1. Jennifer Carlton-Bailly was just presenting at our local modern quilt guild meeting Thursday night, and she had the best quote – something along the lines of “we’re not learning to be perfect, we are learning a skill.”

      Quilting and sewing are tactile, squishy, messy, physical, creative endeavors. How you get from A to B is how you get there. Jen, incidentally, is pro-spray baste and even glue basting (she’s the queen of curved seams – her templates are fabulous.) At the end of the day, you want a quilt, not a framed Matisse in a museum.

  6. This is the most refreshing and intelligent, FUNNY advice on the entire internet. Finally, someone with common sense and a sense of humor. Need MORE LIKE YOU. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸŽˆπŸŽˆπŸŽΌπŸŽ΅πŸŽΆπŸŽΌπŸŽ΅πŸŽΆ

  7. I used the Sullivans Spray (new and improved). I have spent months (and $) making a beautiful quilt top for my first grandchild. Wanting it to be perfect, I tried the basting spray. It was bad, right from the start and it smelled horrible. The resulting gummy inside did not allow for uniform stitching, so I had to abandon my original quilting plan and β€œhide” the uneven stitches in the seams of my piecework. But I kept thinking it would wash out, and the softness would return . I have now washed it 3 times, the last 2 in hot water (the last with an overnight soak in the hot soapy water) with heavy duty detergent. Well, it is not fine. It is just as stuck as ever and the quilt is as flat as a pancake. The gumminess has caused the batting to lose it’s loft as well. At best, this intended cosy quilt, will become a stiff, flat toddler bedspread. I am so sad! Do you have any suggestions for removing the spray from the inside of the quilt?

    1. oh, this one…I don’t know. Did you use 100% cotton, including batting? It may hold up to an alcohol soak – but alcohol will break down any synthetic: adhesives, polyester, etc. You could get some cheap Costco or HDR vodka and soak it in a tub and try it IF it’s 100% cotton. If it’s not, it may be a loss… I’m so sorry. Your other option is an old fashioned dry cleaner – not a “green” dry cleaner. Dry cleaners aren’t really “dry” – they use pretty gnarly solvents to spray down garments and you can ask them to give it a go…. ? Let me know what you do – I’m hopeful it works out.

  8. Hi Becky Jo,
    Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. The back of my quilt is Minky, so it is not 100% cotton. I may test some of the remnants to see how they hold up to the Vodka. I have a fear that the dry cleaning would only make things worse. At this point, it could be used as a bedspread or on the floor as a play mat and I would hate to ruin it further, so that it is not useable for anything.

    1. ugh, the problem with WordPress is that once I approve a commenter, it doesn’t let me know of more comments unless I check. Sorry about that. anywho…
      My original testing of the alcohol removal was on minky. That was using 70%. I generally use 90% now almost exclusively. Would I soak minky in alcohol for very long? no. But faced with a total loss, I’d sure pop it in and leave it for a bit. I mean, it won’t kill the cotton top, so at that point, what have you got to lose? Let me know how it’s going.

      1. Hi Becky Jo, The Sullivan Company Customer Service responded and said that my problem arose because I sprayed too heavily… which I do not believe was the case. (the fabric was still moving around enough that I pinned it as well). They recommended dry cleaning. I really wanted to avoid more chemicals, so I just continued to wash the quilt. After 6 washes it did soften up, but the loft of the batting was lost. So I did give it to my grand baby. Although it is more like a blanket, the Minky back side is still soft and cuddly. I am glad I made it big enough to eventually become a toddler size bedspread/blanket.

        1. Thank you for getting back to me if only for others who come here and read the comments. I doubt you were too ‘heavy’ with it too. Such a bummer. I’m sure it will be loved – us makers are harder on the perception of our makes than anyone else ever is, right?

  9. If you’re looking for ways to get spray basting overspray off furniture — as in a wooden table top — I’ve just discovered that Goo Gone works.

    1. totally a legit product! If I had some around, I’m sure I would have tried it. For me, 99% isopropyl alcohol is my go-to for all goop/stickies, but use what you got, and if it works, awesome!

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