Curtains and drapes, like any other exposed fabrics in your home, get dirty over time and require regular maintenance to keep them looking and smelling their best. They attract a lot of the odours in your home and also dust, which if not taken care of regularly can build up making it more difficult to clean in the long run.
Keeping your curtains clean is a difficult and mysterious task which not many people are too experienced at doing. If your curtains are made out of high quality fabrics and you do not want to run the risk of ruining them during cleaning, take them to a curtain cleaning professional to get the best results.
In order to keep your curtains looking their best you will need to practice regular maintenance and, once in a-while, wash them thoroughly in a machine, by hand or with a steam cleaner.
Washing your curtains regularly should not be considered a viable option since it is a time consuming task, and if done too often, will eventually damage your curtains. It is much better to regularly clean dust and dirt off your curtains and reduce the risk of them becoming entrenched with foul odours.
Clean dust and dirt off your curtains regularly
Since curtains are usually a barrier between the inside and outside of your house, a lot of dust and dirt can accumulate on them in a short amount of time. For this reason, you should make cleaning your curtains part of your weekly house cleaning routine. Follow these tips to keep your curtains looking their best week in and week out:
- Pick your weapon of choice; a duster, damp cloth or for heavier weight curtains, an upholstery brush attachment for your vacuum
- Start at the top where most of the dust accumulates and work your way down as dust settles on lower parts of the curtain
- A lot of dust also accumulates on folds and hems so focus on those areas
- dust or vacuum both sides of the curtain to get rid of all dirt
- for lighter weight curtains you can also shake it to get rid of dirt. This is a sure way to keep from damaging the fabric
and here are some things to watch out for:
- Do not use a damp cloth as your cleaning tool on lightly coloured curtains as you may end up rubbing the dirt into the fabric causing a discoloration
- If you are going to use a damp cloth, pass the duster over the curtain first to avoid smearing any dirt into the fabric
- Keep an eye out for heavy stains on the curtain that may need a more complete wash
Keep your curtains smelling clean
Keeping your curtains dust and dirt free is one thing, but getting foul odours out of your curtains can be a difficult task without having to wash them. The best practice here would be preventative maintenance. To do this you should keep your kitchen door closed while cooking to reduce the risk of odours seeping into your curtain.
Cleaning your curtains in a washing machine
While you are doing your regular maintenance you may notice that your curtains need to be washed more thoroughly. One of the ways to give your curtain a deeper clean is to use the washing machine. Before doing this, however, make sure to check the label in order to see the manufacturer’s suggestions with regards to using a washing machine. Here are some tips for cleaning your curtains in the washing machine:
- Remove any non-fabric hardware that may be attached to the curtain
- Unless the curtain label states otherwise, always wash your curtains in cold water on your washing machines most delicate cycle, using only a small amount of liquid detergent
- If the label suggests that it is ok to wash with warm water you can do so for heavily soiled curtains
- Curtains with delicate fabrics should be placed into a mesh bag before being put in the washing machine to avoid having any damages
Washing your curtains by hand
This is definitely a more time consuming, labour intensive process, but sometimes it may be the best and safest option for washing your curtains. By hand washing your curtains you minimize the risk of damaging them, especially when it comes to curtains made of delicate fabrics such as 100% cotton. Here are some tips for how to hand wash your curtain properly:
- Try to use a soap that is specifically designed for hand washing delicate fabrics. If you do not have one available, use a small amount of liquid detergent
- gently scrub out any stains on the curtain. Do not scrub too aggressively as you may ruin the fabric of the curtain
Using a steam cleaner to wash your curtains
If you have access to a good quality steam cleaner with an upholstery attachment, you can try the steam cleaning method which can prove to be the most efficient method delivering the best results. This method should only be used for curtains whose label suggests they can be machine washed. If the label says “dry clean only” then take it to the dry cleaner to ensure it is washed properly. In order to steam clean your curtain effectively, follow these tips:
- Only use this method for curtains made from heavier materials that are difficult to take down from the curtain rods
- Leave the curtain hanging and start the cleaning process at the top, working your way down
- Try to minimize any water build up on the curtain. Having a little bit of dampness on the curtain is expected but you do not want it to get completely wet
How to dry your curtains after cleaning
Once you have successfully washed your curtains at home, it is time to dry them. It is recommended to leave them drying outside in an area with a breeze and away from sunlight to minimize fading. Try to also find a place with no dirt or you will have to start the process all over again. By drying them outside the creases should go away leaving your curtains looking good as new.