Last update: 2 weeks ago
Many folks often neglect their curtains when cleaning their house simply because they don’t look that dirty. However, it’s been proven that drapes actually hold a lot of dust and grime that can seriously affect the quality of the air in your home. So for your convenience, we have made this short useful guide on how to properly clean curtains at home, no matter the material.
Check the labels for the appropriate cleaning methods
If you don’t want to permanently damage your curtains, we advise that you check the label for the recommended method of washing. Some materials such as silk or velvet, for example, are too delicate to be put in the washing machine, so they need to be hand-washed. Others are pretty sturdy and will probably survive most of the DIY cleaning techniques. Finally, there are also the ones that can only handle the gentle dry cleaning method.
How to clean curtains in washing machine
Now, let’s begin with the safest methods for cleaning your curtains in the washing machine.
- Keep in mind that with most drape materials, treating them with hot water will often result in shrinkage.
- Check with your manufacturer what the recommended temperature is for both washing and drying, if you have a dryer. We advise that you always put them on the delicate cycle, just to be on the safe side. For the finer materials, you choose a slow spin with cold water.
- Usually, it doesn’t really matter what type of laundry detergent you will use. If you have one that is specially made for the fabric of your curtains, go with that one. Do not use bleach or any other abrasive cleaning solutions.
- We recommend you use the washing machine only for your lightweight drapes. The heavy ones retain water for a much longer period of time and the rinse cycle does not help at all.
- The best drying option will be to air dry them so that there is absolutely no chance of damaging the drapes.
How to hand wash curtains
Hand-washing is recommended for delicate fabrics and for the times you are not sure if your curtain will survive a cycle in the washing machine. It’s surely the safer option for all kinds of drapes but it is the harder one to complete, as well. Here are some general steps to help when you need to clean your drapes.
- Invest in a gentle laundry detergent or soap that is made just for hand-washing fragile materials such as silk and lace.
- Carefully read the instructions of the chosen detergents as different kinds are used in different concentrations.
- Wash the curtains only with cold water and do not use any hard brushes or other tools that might damage the fabric.
- If your drapes are too heavy, consider dry cleaning or steam cleaning them. The drying time is a lot longer as they soak up a lot of water and detergent.
- Air dry your freshly cleaned curtains.
How to dry clean your curtains
As we’ve mentioned above, delicate and bright-coloured curtains are best dry-cleaned. They can shrink, lose their colour and get damaged by almost any wet-washing method, so you always need to be super careful when treating those fabrics. This is why we do not recommend dry cleaning curtains at home as it’s fairly easy to mess up and permanently damage your drapes. However, if you do have the confidence, here is what you can do.
- Get a suitable “dry-cleaning-at-home kit” with instructions.
- Test the fabric if it’s colourfast. Just put a small dose of the chosen detergent on a small inconspicuous area. If the colour fades away, then you shouldn’t treat the rest of it with the same chemical.
- Once you have found the right kit for your curtain, follow the instructions carefully and the same as with the hand-washing method, do not use any abrasive brushes.
- Clean only one curtain at a time.
- When you are done, hang them away from direct sunlight.
- If you need to iron them, always put a white towel, blanket or a t-shirt on top. Never iron the drapes directly.
How to steam clean your curtains
If you have a steam cleaner, you’ve probably noticed that it has a special attachment that makes steam cleaning curtains at home an easy task to complete. You can use it for drapes that are suitable for machine washing but cannot fit in the appliance or are difficult to remove from the rails.
- Gently hoover the curtains and remove the dust, any cobwebs and dirt build-up.
- Check what the recommended temperature is for treating your curtains and adjust the steam cleaner to the appropriate setting.
- Start the cleaning slowly from top to bottom making sure that you’ve covered all the area.
- If there are any stubborn stains you need to take care of, treat them separately. We recommend that you use special spot remover for the type of fabric you are dealing with.
Allowing the right amount of drying time in the right conditions is a crucial aspect of the cleaning process of your drapes. Otherwise, if not careful, the risk of your curtains developing mould and musty, heavy odours is a lot bigger.
Here are some general tips you can follow to ensure that you are drying your curtains the right way:
- The best place to dry your curtains is, of course, outside on a dry, sunny day, located somewhere with a nice breeze that would speed the drying even more.
- A lot of fabrics lose their colour when placed under direct sunlight, so it’s best to avoid such areas and put them in partial shade.
- You can machine dry your curtains but only if the fabric permits it. Check the label and see what the maximum temperature that they will withstand should be and adjust the setting accordingly.
- If the drapes are prone to getting wrinkled, take them out of the appliance just a little before the cycle is complete and leave them to air dry.
- If you don’t have space outside your home to dry the drapes, place them in a well-ventilated room and open as many windows as possible. Turn on a couple of fans to speed up the whole process.
- We don’t recommend that you dry heavyweight curtains inside. They can develop mould, where the spores spread onto other furniture. This will lead to a number of problems, such as a nasty odour that will be extremely hard to get rid of, health issues and many more.
Maintenance after cleaning
Truth is that cleaning all of your curtains at home is a tedious task that often times takes up a whole day to complete. So naturally, you do not want to spend every weekend doing so. Luckily, there are plenty of useful maintenance tips that will surely reduce the need to clean your curtains that frequently.
- Invest in a dehumidifier. It will surely reduce the risk of your curtains developing mould and will overall improve the quality of the air in your home.
- Curtains absorb a lot of smells, especially when you are cooking and if you smoke indoors. Our advice is to draw out the curtains and keep your windows open whenever it’s possible so that the room is always ventilated and all of the bad smells evaporate more quickly.
- Every two weeks or so, you can take down your curtains and just hang them outside to air.
- Whenever you are vacuuming your house, go over your curtains, as well. Of course, by using the appropriate attachment.
- If you don’t have a special setting for curtains, you can do the following. Give them a good shake and a good beat so that all of the loose dirt falls off. Leave it to settle for a couple of minutes and after that vacuum the area under them.
Need some professional help?
Maybe you don’t want to risk damaging your drapes, you cannot determine what the exact material that they are made of is and you’re not sure how to treat it or you simply don’t have the time to take care of them properly. In that case, you can always count on the professionals of Fantastic Cleaners to do the hard job for you. The trained technicians are able to identify the best way of treating your curtains, regardless of what type of material they are made of. They have experience in cleaning both synthetic and mixed fibres or delicate, natural materials that need a gentle touch.
When in doubt, call Fantastic Cleaners and enjoy quality results without lifting a finger!
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- Make sure that the vacuum attachment you are using is designed for cleaning curtains! Note that some upholstery attachments can damage your drapes permanently.
- You can vacuum your curtains every time you are doing a general clean of your house. However, it’s always good to wash them at least once every two months.
- No matter the material or the type of cleaning method you choose to use, always test the detergent beforehand. Sometimes, you cannot predict how the drapes will react to a certain chemical even if the label says it’s okay.
We hope you found our article on how to clean curtains useful. Share your experience with us in the comment section down below!
Image source: Shutterstock/Africa Studio