Curtains and drapes can be your elegant centerpiece, bringing life to the interior decor. They’re stunning to look at, especially when you first installed them but not until they track in dirt, dust, and allergens so fast. One day, you open them expecting to let the warm sunshine in, only to be showered by particulates, turning the experience badly tenfold.
That is why properly caring for your curtains and drape is a must. Most homeowners normally clean their carpets and rugs weekly, and their upholstery at least monthly. But, when it comes to window treatments? You might be surprised that people only attend to them less than once a year.
Remember, same with your carpets, rugs, and couches, your curtains and drapes need cleaning to ensure they last longer and keep them looking stylish and beautiful like the day you first had them up.
The question is: if you quickly pull out your vacuum to clean dog track on your entryway rug or to the fallen breadcrumbs on your carpet floor, should you do the same for your soiled curtain and drapes? Continue reading below to discover the answer.
How to Clean Curtains and Drapes
As curtains and drapes are magnets for dirt, dust, pollens, ash from tobacco, and other debris, it’s best to remove them and deep-clean them by hand or through a washing machine every three to six months.
Just be mindful that not all window treatments can be thrown into the washer. Make sure to read the label or washing instructions first of the curtains and drapes you purchased to avoid them from being damaged. Remember, dry-clean only items may shrink or lose shape in washing machines.
Other reasons not to include them in the washer are if they have snags or holes, as it can result in even more damage, or if they are not colorfast. You can check if the fabric is colorfast by taking a hidden corner and soaking it in a small bowl of warm water with detergent. If it bleeds, you can wash them separately to take them to a professional cleaner instead.
If you have determined that your curtains and drapes are safe to hand wash or machine wash, here are some quick tips for you to make the process easier:
Washing Machine Cleaning
- Remove the curtains and drapes with much care and check if there are any stains or spots, which usually come from fingers that touch the fabric. Pre-treat any stains and spots before throwing them in the washer.
- Make sure that there’s enough room in the washer so avoid the fabric from getting crushed.
- Use cold-water to prevent your window treatments from shrinking or fading.
- Pick a mild detergent specifically made for delicate fabrics.
- Wash on gentle cycle only, even if your curtains and drapes’ fabric are thick.
- Tumble-dry them gently in low-heat. Hang them as soon as they dry to avoid wrinkles.
- Get a large basin and fill it with cool water.
- Add a mild detergent and swish the water around to fully dissolve the detergent.
- Soak the curtains and wash carefully, depending on the fabric.
- Rinse and gently squeeze excess water. Repeat until it’s no longer sudsy.
- Hang to air-dry indoors or outdoors.
While cleaning your curtains and drapes by machine or hand, they can be a challenging chore if you have curtains made of thicker and heavier fabrics. It will be hard to bring them down, wash, and remove all the water, greatly prolonging the task.
To deal with curtains and drapes made out of heavy materials, steam cleaning is your best resort. Don’t miss checking if the fabric is suitable for steam cleaning. In general, most cottons, wool, silks, polyesters, and synthetics can be steamed.
- Use a reliable cleaner and work your way from top to bottom. If the material is getting wet, move the device a little further from the window treatment.
- Clean the front panel and back panel to get a thorough clean.
- Let the curtains air dry on their own.
Can you vacuum the curtains and drapes?
With so many options available in cleaning your curtains and drapes, should you still need to vacuum them and is it safe to do so?
Vacuums are a powerful tool that can work incredibly great in sucking up dirt, dust, and other debris from your floors. However, one common mistake about vacuums is thinking that they are merely floor-cleaning machines.
Truth to be told, your window treatments can actually benefit from thorough vacuuming. The superb way to actually clean curtains and drapes is by vacuuming them once a week. That way, you get rid of all of the dust, dirt, and pet hair off them and ensure that they still look great in between the washes.
To do so, you need to use the upholstery or the soft-brush attachment of your trusty vacuum cleaner to avoid the fabric from getting sucked into the hose. It will help loosen or knock up particulates, making it easier to clean. If your vacuum cleaner doesn’t come with those accessories, you can place a nylon stocking at the end of the hose nozzle to prevent the fabric from getting sucked.
Check if there’s an option to turn down the suction power. Adjust it to a low setting so you can vacuum your curtains and drapes with more ease but sans any worries of damaging them.
Always start from the top and work your way down. However, if you’re using blinds instead, you must vacuum horizontally, and not up and down. Clean all areas, but focus on the hems and folds, where most of the dirt and dust accumulates. Vacuum on both sides, as particulates settle in on the window-side, too, especially when you always keep your windows open.
Remember, you can do all the vacuuming without having to take your curtains and drapes down. Just see to it that your curtain rods are durable and stable.
Curtains and drapes are essential to your home, providing lots of benefits from enhancing its beauty, providing privacy, regulating sunlight, improving sleep quality, and of course, collecting dirt and dust from your room.
That’s why it’s also vital that you properly maintain them to keep getting the perks they offer. You can machine wash, hand wash, steam clean, or send to them to a professional clean, but never forget to vacuum these window treatments amidst the washes to keep them fresh as much as possible at all times.