Curtain Care: A step-by-step guide on how to clean curtains at home

Good homes essentially feature good window treatments. The paint on your walls and the curtains on your windows are probably the first things anybody notices as they enter your home. And they are also probably the two major areas that can cut out a lasting first impression on any visitor. You may have the best home furnishings, but without the right window treatments and curtains, your home can look dull and unappealing. Most of us carry a lot of excitement and hoopla when we go shopping for window drapes and curtains. Often, we get ourselves the most fabulous looking window drapes, and then have no idea how to go about maintaining them, when they start to outgrow their fresh, new look. Take a look at our tips on how to clean your curtains at home.

How to clean dust from curtains:

Every night, as your curtains are drawn closed, remember to give them a gentle shaking to prevent dust and dirt from lodging in the fibers. In fact, the first step to how to clean heavy curtains is to prevent dust from setting on them- by following a simple weekly care regimen, by using the upholstery brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner to vacuum clean dust. For light-weight and delicate curtains, an occasional shaking should do. For lightweight curtains, you may follow the vacuum cleaning procedure mentioned above every month instead of every week. Use a low suction setting on your cleaner and ensure that all trims, buttons, and embellishments are secure before vacuuming.

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Washing your curtains:

First of all, check the care label on your curtains first. If you’re not sure about whether they are hand or machine washable, spot test in a small corner using a mix of water and detergent. For most curtains, you will need to use cold water and a small amount of laundry detergent.

If you’re sure your curtains are washable, the next step is to remove hooks, rings and other hardware from your curtains. Ensure the trims are tightly attached. If you’re wondering how to clean curtains by hand, all you need to do is rinse gently and thoroughly, and then line dry.

If you’re using a washing machine, then wash on the gentle cycle, using cool water and mild detergent. Don’t overload the washing machine. Tumble dry using the low or air setting, or line dry.

Don’t wash your curtains if:

  1. The drapery or lining isn’t washable.
  2. The drapery and lining are made of different fibers, so one may shrink and the other may not- spoiling the look when you hang them again).
  3. Sunlight has damaged or weakened fabric, so it may wear and tear over machine-wash.
  4. You think the draperies are too large to fit into your washing machine- don’t overload the machine under any circumstance.
  5. The trims and embellishments aren’t washable or give away color.

Drying your curtains

As stated earlier line dry or tumble dry on low or air dry setting. Don’t wait till they’re 100 percent dry. Over-drying curtains leads to unruly wrinkles that are hard to iron out. Remove them when they’re 95 percent dry.

Ironing your curtains

Iron only if absolutely necessary and always do so on the reverse side. You can spray lightly with plain water if seams have puckered. Stretch them back to size, taking care not to damage the stitching. Replace your curtain hardware after they’re dry and hang again.

How to clean delicate curtains

  • Delicate curtains like lace or sheer curtains may need some extra caution. To remove dust from lace curtains, you can tumble dry on the air cycle. Most of these are hand or machine washable. If you’re washing them in the machine, a good idea is to place them inside a mesh bag or an old pillowcase, shut it tight and then gentle wash using cool water and mild detergent. This will prevent fraying and damage.
  • If you want to give your lace curtains some extra volume, dip freshly washed lace curtains in a light starch solution. If you’d rather like a soft look, then hang them without starching while they are still slightly damp.
  • If you have metal hooks, place a piece of tissue paper under each hook to prevent rust from getting onto the fabric.
  • Dry clean sheets that are fragile and prone to sun damage.

A word about sun damage- Light colored curtains usually reflect light whereas dark colors absorb light and fade and may even damage over the years to the point of tearing off. To protect your fabric from sun damage, use lined window treatments, blinds or shades.

With all the above tips, we’re sure you can now clean your own curtains!

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