Cleaning Curtains And Drapes

Caring for your window coverings need not be a cumbersome task when you take time to assess the job first and then follow directions.

Curtains and drapes get dirty from hanging months and years on the wall. The most significant reason that curtains and drapes get dirty is from an open window or a change in the weather when tiny particles blow in through cracks around the casement. Sometimes window coverings get dirty when people with dirty hands decide to look at the view outside. Pets also cause curtains and drapes to get dirty. Cats love to climb up in the windows to look out. And of course, dust from the house during the winter adds to draperies getting dirty. This means, of course, that at some point a prudent housekeeper will choose to clean them via one means or another.

One of the best things you can do is to vacuum the drapes or curtains every time you clean the house. This will save time and money because you won't have to take them down to wash them or drop them off at the dry cleaner's as often. Certain fabric-covered wooden valances and unremovable rods can only be vacuumed. When you are vacuuming drapes or curtains, try not to use much suction, because your window coverings can get clogged in the sweeper roller and tear or unravel.

Before attempting to launder or dry clean your draperies and taking them down, check for cleaning instructions on the label. Also examine the window-exposed side of the fabric to see if they are sun rotted. If they are, you will have to buy new ones, as there is no effective way to treat this. When taking down curtains or drapes, mark where the hooks and tie backs are so you will be able to hang them in the same manner after cleaning.

Lined insulated curtains need to be washed in cold water, line dried, and ironed on the fabric side. To clean permanent press fabrics, use delicate wash and delicate dry settings, and don't leave them very long in the dryer.

Use cold water on the delicate wash cycle for curtains with chenille balls or tassels, and if possible, hang them outside to dry. Ruffled curtains are not as hard to care for as people make them out to be. Don't over-dry them because this will cause wrinkles. Cotton ruffles will need to be starched and then you can iron them for added appeal. Poly blends and all synthetic ruffles can be spun dry and then hung, but do not tie them back until they are completely dry.

Sheer or delicate fabrics should be washed in cold water in the delicate cycle. Then hang them up and let them finish drying. Washable kitchen curtains should be ironed when they are still a little damp. As soon as you are done ironing them, they need to be hung. Dry-cleaned curtains and drapes also need to be hung as soon as you get them back from the dry cleaner to prevent wrinkles.

Curtains or drapes that have been treated with soil retardant will need to be re-treated after washing them or having them dry cleaned. Make sure you always read the label so you will know how to clean your draperies and window coverings. Don't try to wash curtains or drapes that should be dry-cleaned only. Draperies on your windows are like adornments for the eyes on a face. Make yours as attractive and appealing as possible.

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