Ways To Clean Curtains And Drapes

Find out different ways that you can clean your curtains and draperies.

Cleaning curtains and draperies is an important part of home maintenance, as the build-up of dirt and pollutants can exacerbate allergies and damage the fabric. Window treatments should at the very least be vacuumed every six months, and more frequently for people with allergies. However, cleaning your draperies need not be an expensive undertaking. Before you use any method, look at the tag on your window treatments to see what cleaning method is recommended. Then see which home-based method is right for you.

Consider what type of fabric your curtains are made of. If your curtains or draperies are made out of a shiny fabric, such as a glossy cotton or silk, then dust will come right off of them. You can give them a gentle shaking, or vacuum them with your vacuum cleaner's upholstery attachment. When vacuuming curtains, always work from the top down, do the inside of the folds, and finally the outside edges.

Some fabrics, such as cotton, linen, and many synthetics, are very easy to work with. The best way to clean these curtains is to put them in the washing machine with a gentle cleanser, and wash in cold water on the hand-wash cycle. Of course, hand washing is also an option if you do not have a gentle cycle on your washer. You do not want to agitate the fabric too much in the machine, as this can cause pilling or tearing of delicate fabrics. Once the curtains have been cleaned, hang dry. Do not put them in the dryer, as you may very well experience shrinkage and warping. Once your curtains have been hung out to dry, if they are outdoors, make sure that you bring them in as soon as they are dry. You do not want to bring outdoor allergens into your house, and items that have been left on a clothesline to dry for too long often take on an unpleasant smell, especially if you live in a city with pollutants from cars, etc.

When ironing draperies, be very careful. Check to make sure that the draperies do not have a lining that is made of a synthetic that could be damaged by heat, such as the thin foams often used in blackout curtains. Ironing also very easily damages gauzy nylon curtains. Start out with a low setting, and if all is well, then set your iron to the setting recommended for the fabric type. It is always smart to test iron a spot near the bottom to make sure that your draperies can handle ironing.

There are professional grade systems and tools that you can purchase if your draperies require a dry cleaning solution. This will essentially enable you to dry clean your curtains in your own home, without removing them from the rod, which is very convenient. Rotovac makes this equipment, with the curtain cleaning attachment starting at $119.00. If you use this method, it is also a good idea to test it in an unobtrusive area, as the heat from this process can occasionally cause streaking of the fabric.

There is another method you can use using a common clothes steamer. First of all, shake the curtains or draperies to remove as much dust as you can. Then go over the fabric with your clothes steamer. As with the above method, do a test spot first. The advantage of this method is that the heat from the clothes steamer will kill any dust mites that are in the curtains, helping to relieve allergies.

It is always a good feeling to save money by cleaning your own window treatments. Commercial cleaning can be quite costly. Just remember the physicians' creed, and "first do no harm." Be gentle with your methods, and you are sure to be pleased with your outcome.

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