Curtains and drapes are some of the oldest forms of window treatments, and they are still very prevalent in people’s homes. These window coverings provide a level of class, elegance as well as privacy to your home, unlike any other window treatments.
But they can only do their job properly if they are properly maintained, and for this, you must know how to clean curtains.
There are many ways to clean a curtain. If the curtains are made of wool or cashmere, or if they have stitched pleats, they should be dry-washed. For curtains of other materials, such as cotton, nylon, polyester, etc, you first have to remove all the hardware and vacuum them, before washing them with cold water and mild detergent.
Let’s take a detailed look at how you should clean your curtains.
How do you clean curtains?
Since curtains are made of fabric, they gather a lot more dust and dirt than other window coverings, such as shades or blinds.
Being made of the fabric also means that they need to be cleaned in a different way than blinds and shades. While these two window treatments can be cleaned by simple wiping, you have to clean your curtains by washing them.
Now, there are a lot of different ways to wash curtains of different types and fabrics. Let’s take a look at all of them.
1. Curtains that need dry washing
Let’s get the curtains that need to be dry washed to clean out of the way first. Some fabrics, such as wool, and cashmere you can’t wash with water, or they will be damaged.
Also, if your curtains or drapes have stitched pleats, heavily structured swags, or any other ornaments, then you must refrain from washing them in the washing machine or by hand, and resort to dry washing them instead.
This is because these ornaments will get shrunk because of dry cleaning curtains.
2. How to wash cotton curtains
Cotton curtains are one of the most common types of curtains in people’s homes around the world. One thing that is common before cleaning all kinds of curtains, is you should remove all the hooks or any kind of hardware before the procedure.
Now, here is how should clean your curtains made of cotton.
- Removing statins before cleaning: Curtains made of cotton are stained way more than others, except for sheer curtains. So, before you wash them, you should spot-clean the stains as much as possible.
- Washing the curtains: Once you spot clean the stains, you should put the curtains into the washer. Only use cold or lukewarm water to wash curtains in a washing machine. Also, use mild detergents for this purpose, otherwise, the fabric, and the color of the curtains will be damaged.
White setting the cleaning cycle, set it on delicate, and avoid overloading the washer. Give the curtains ample space to tumble, which will not only protect the fabric but also ensure they are cleaned properly as well.
- Drying them: Once the curtains are washed, bring them out and put them into the dryer. Dry them using low heat, to save them from wrinkling. Remove the curtains from the dryer while they are still damp.
- Ironing the curtains: You should iron your curtains while they are a little damp. This will prevent wrinkling. While ironing them, press the side that will be facing the interior of your home. You should use a pressing cloth, which will eliminate the risk of them being scorched.
- Drying the curtains: Once the curtains are ironed, hand them on a clothesline so they are completely dry, and then hang them back into their place.
3. How to wash synthetic curtains
Synthetic materials like nylon and polyester are not suitable for dry cleaning. If you dry-clean drapes made of nylon or polyester, they can be severely damaged in the process. This is why you should clean them by hand, or by washing machine.
Here is how to wash drapes made of synthetic materials.
- Separating the colors: If you have synthetic curtains of multiple colors, then you must separate them before cleaning. Doing so will ensure that the colors won’t mix while washing.
- Washing them: If you are cleaning drapes at home don’t rub the synthetic curtains too much. Just agitating them after soaking them in cold/lukewarm water and mild detergent will be enough. If you are using your washing machine, then wash them using the method mentioned above.
- Drying the curtains: Once you have washed your curtains, you now have to put them into the dryer. Dry them in medium or low heat, and take them out as soon as they are dry. They don’t need ironing after drying.
4. How to wash silk curtains
Silk curtains are one of the most elegant and delicate among all curtains. This is why, you should do the silk drapes cleaning by hand, instead of dry washing them, or washing them with the washing machine.
- Washing the curtains: First mix mild detergent into cold/lukewarm water, and swish the water for a bit. This will create sud. Then soak the curtains in the water, and gently squeeze them. Once you are satisfied that there is no dirt on the curtains, rinser them with cold or lukewarm water.
Once you have removed all the suds, spread the curtains onto a flat bath towel. Then roll the towel and squeeze it so that all the excess water is wrung out of the curtains. This is the best way to clean curtains made of silk.
- Drying the curtains: Unlike other curtains on this list, do not dry silk curtains using a dryer. Hang them on a clothesline to air dry them, while doing so, ensure there are no heat sources nearby.
- Ironing the curtains: Take the curtains down from the clothesline while they are still a little damp. Then iron the curtains on the wrong side using a low setting. You should use a press cloth for added protection.
5. How to wash sheer curtains
Unlike other curtains, you must not wait until stains are visible to wash your sheer curtains. These curtains need to be cleaned more frequently than other curtains to keep them as clean as possible.
Here is how you should go about cleaning sheer curtains.
- Washing them: You should use a mixture of cold weather and mild detergents for washing sheer curtains since the fabric is quite fragile. After putting the curtains in the washing machine, take them out after 5 minutes. Wash them using a delicate setting. Once you have washed them, take them out and squeeze the water out.
- Drying them: While drying sheer curtains, you should put them inside the dryer but don’t use any heat. Dry the curtains using the ‘air-only’ setting. You should add a couple of dry and soft terry cloth towels to the dryer. These towels will prevent the curtains from balling up.
- Hanging the curtains: Take the curtains out from the washer while they are still a little damp. Then hang them directly on your windows without ironing them, as the air will take care of drying them. Once you hang them on the windows, pull them back into their places, so that there are no wrinkles and puckering.
The key to keeping your windows clean and beautiful is to know how to clean curtains.
As different curtains have different cleaning methods, you should be careful about what method you are using to clean your particular curtain.
1. How do you clean curtains without taking them down?
There is a way to clean your curtains without taking them down, and it is to vacuum them. But if you vacuum curtains, it will only get rid of the loose dirt and dust on the curtains, not the stains.
2. Can all curtains be washed?
Yes, all curtains can be washed, but by different methods. While some curtains can only be dry-washed, some other curtains can only be washed by hand. Also, some curtains can be machine washed as well as hand-washed.
3. How often should you wash your curtains?
There are a lot of factors that determine how often you should wash your curtains. If you have a hypoallergenic family, then you should wish your curtains every 3-6 months. If you live near the sea, or you have a lot of dust in your area, then your curtains should be cleaned once every 6-12 months.