Washing curtains can be a delicate matter. Curtains that have been weakened by sunlight or have very delicate material can be ruined if washed improperly. For this reason many companies choose to send out their curtains to be cleaned, but this can be costly. When it comes down to it, washing your drapery is as easy as doing a load of clothes. Let’s discuss some things to keep in mind when cleaning your curtains and tips to keep your curtains looking like new.
Tips For Washing Curtains
Machine wash. Before you begin to wash your curtains always make sure to check the label to see whether the fabric needs any specialized cleaning. Some curtains call for dry cleaning, while others fabrics may be too delicate to be machine washed and would be better off washed by hand. In general, most curtains should be washed in cold water and on a delicate spin cycle. This is especially important since sunlight overtime can fade and weaken the fabric. Always make sure to remove any hardware that may still be attached to your curtains as you don’t want this hardware spinning around in your washing machine.
Choosing a detergent. Before making a selection, check all labels or contact the manufacturer if need be. Most curtains can be washed with a gentle detergent. If you are having doubts about which detergent to use, try spot testing a small area first with a mixture of detergent and water. If you notice even a slight discoloration, you may need to choose a more delicate detergent.
A gentle and yet powerful detergent to wash your curtains is Laundersol. Laundersol is chlorine free, making it safe for both colors and whites. It can be used in top-loading, side-loading or high-capacity washing machines. Simply add to your load as prescribed on the bottle.
Another gentle cleaning detergent that works great for cleaning curtains is Oxy Care. Oxy Care uses a oxygenation process that is activated by warm water. This oxygenation process easily removes any organic stains or odors that may be clinging to your curtains. As mentioned, this detergent is activated by warm water thus make sure to check all labels beforehand as not to shrink the fabric. Keep in mind too this product is citrus scented, meaning your curtains will come out smelling great. Simply add the powder as directed for each load.
Hand wash. If you have very delicate curtains or curtains made from cotton, you may choose to wash the drapes by hand. Even though this may mean more work for you, it will reduce the chance the material shrinking or being damaged in a washing machine. On the other hand, avoid washing heavier materials by hands as these can take a lot longer to dry.
Drying curtains. Avoid drying your curtains in a dryer. The best way to dry curtains is to hang them outside. With this in mind, hanging your drapes in the direct sun can fade and discolor the fabric. Thus look for a suitable drying area, perhaps one with a good balance of sun and shade. After the curtains have dried, steam out any wrinkles and hang in place once again.
Tips For Keeping Curtains Clean
Dust regularly. Dust can build up on your curtains fast, increasing the need to have your drapes washed more frequently. Reduce this number by dusting your drapes at least once, if not twice a week, as needed. For light-weight curtains, simply remove them from the rod and shake them out. For heavier fabrics, you may need to use a vacuum cleaner with a powerful nozzle to pick up those dust particles.
Use a vacuum cleaner. Rather than removing your curtains from the rod, an easier approach is to use a vacuum cleaner with an attachable nozzle. Use a soft brush adjustment and focus on the top area and the hem lines of the curtain, as this is where the dust tends to build up most often. Avoid sucking in the curtains by reducing the power of the vacuum cleaner before you begin or hold the bottom of the curtain taut while cleaning.
Air out. Curtain fabric tends to absorb odors such as cigarette smoke and cooking aromas very easily. In this case, it’s quite difficult to prevent these scents from fostering, therefore it’s important to let your drapes “air out” from time to time. You can do this by opening the windows around the drapery itself, or hanging the fabric outside, perhaps on a windy day, to release those absorbed smells and replace them with a fresher scent.
Stains. As when dealing with any kind of fabric, if stains are left unattended they can quickly ‘set-in’ and be very difficult to remove later on. Once a spill or stain is noticed, it should be treated immediately. Simply use a mixture of the detergent mentioned above and a reasonable amount of water to scrub the affected area. In most cases, a soft-bristled brush will work best as not to damage the material. After you have pre-treated the stain, wash immediately either in a washing machine or by hand if instructed to do so.
Follow the above steps and keep your curtains looking like new.