Curtains were originally made to stop sunlight from entering a room and to provide a little privacy. However, these days, curtains are used to decorate your rooms as well. The right curtains can make any space look appealing. Nonetheless, once you’ve chosen these heavy drapes, cleaning them can be a huge problem. While the tags on most curtains say they should be dry cleaned, especially those made of silk and satin, there are ways to clean your curtains at home.
Home Curtain Cleaning Techniques
Vacuum to Remove Dirt
The biggest downside to having drapes hung by your window is that they catch constant dust, especially if your drapes are heavy and you don’t move them around as much. Dusty curtains are a health hazard for you and your family. They keep a constant influx of dust particles in the air and may irritate, and cause sneezing and coughing to sensitive people. Use a vacuum and set it to the brush attachment. Switch your vacuum on at low speed, and gently run it over the surface of the curtains.
If the fabric of your curtains is delicate, it would be better to keep a distance between the brush and the fabric. The suction from the vacuum can damage the strands and stitching of the curtain. Shake your curtains, patting them often to release the dust gathered in them. This will help the vacuum gather any dust that was too hard for it to suck before. You should thoroughly vacuum your curtains every month to make sure they are clean.
Wash Garment Curtains
Take off any hardware, broaches, beadings, and ornaments your curtains might have. First, shake or gently vacuum the curtain to shake off the dust. When washing the curtains, use cold water, and a slow cycle, making sure to wash no more than 2 panels at once. Once the cycle is complete, remove the curtains, and put them in the dryer. The dryer should be set on its lowest heat setting. After drying, the curtains should be hung back immediately. Leaving the curtains without hanging them can cause wrinkling.
Hand Wash Silk Curtains
With silk, it is better to hand wash the curtains. This will ensure the delicate fabric isn’t ripped or damaged in the wash. Use lukewarm or cold water. Using hot water may cause the fabric to shrink after washing. To wash the silk, you can use a liquid detergent or dishwashing soap.
When washing, fill a tub or sink with water, and drip in some liquid detergent. Submerge the curtains in the water, and let them sit for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, gently move the fabric in the water, shaking lightly to remove any stuck dirt. Let the water drain, and refill the vessel with clean water. Wash the curtains with clean water so that all the detergent washes out. Drain the water and refill again. Repeat the process till the water becomes clean, and all the detergent has been rinsed out.
Use Epsom Salt
A good idea to make the curtains as crisp as they used to be is to use Epsom salt. All you have to do is dissolve one cup of Epsom salt in a bucket of cold water. Once the curtains have been washed, submerge them in the salt solution for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, gently press out all the water from the fabric. Make sure you do not rinse the curtains again. Do not wring or twist the curtains to remove water. Hang them on a laundry line to dry naturally.
Clean Velvet Curtains at Home
The easiest way to wash velvet curtains is to have them dry-cleaned. However, if you want to clean those heavy drapes at home, here’s what to do. Check if your curtains are lined or unlined. Lined velvet curtains cannot be washed at home. A dry clean is the only possible solution that can wash them without damaging them. For unlined curtains, use a wet cloth, and gently dab on an area of the fabric. If the color stains the cloth, the curtain has to be dry cleaned. If the color doesn’t bleed out, you can wash the curtain at home.
The truth is, you don’t need to wash velvet curtains like the other curtains. You can simply use a soft cloth dipped in warm water. Wring out the cloth thoroughly, making sure it is damp but not wet. Rub down the velvet curtains with this damp cloth.
If you want to wash the velvet curtains, you can use a washing machine on a delicate cycle. Wash one panel at a time, in cold water, and use half the usual amount of detergent. Take them out of the washer the moment the cycle ends. Never put velvet curtains in the dryer, crumple or wring them. Leave them on a cotton bed sheet to air dry.
You should clean the curtains frequently, even if they don’t appear dirty. This is because, by the time the dust starts to show, the curtain may be discolored. Sheer curtains are delicate and the fabric doesn’t have a lot of strength. This means getting tough stains completely out of them is near to impossible.
When washing sheer curtains, you should make sure you don’t fill the machine more than half. Add a little detergent and fabric whitener to cold water. Leave the curtains in the water for about 10 minutes, before draining the water. Run the machine on light mode setting for 2-3 minutes.
To dry the curtains, you can simply put them in the dryer with terry cloths. Leave them in the dryer for about 2-3 minutes with a no-heat setting. Pull the curtain into shape and re-hang while it is still slightly damp. You can iron the curtains too. Just make sure to do so while it is hanging from its place.
Clean Acrylic Bead, Shell, and Irremovable Curtains at Home
Acrylic curtains or shell curtains can be very difficult to clean. This is because they are impossible to remove, without messing up the delicate layers of ornaments adorning them. There is a method to clean curtains like these, without removing them. You can also use this method on any curtains you don’t want to remove and wash.
Just hang a bedsheet behind the curtains to protect the wall, and keep a towel under them to absorb any drips. Fill a spray bottle with water, and add some liquid detergent to it. Shake the spray bottle vigorously till the detergent and water have mixed.
Next, spray from the top of the curtain to the bottom, making sure to get every inch of the fabric. Wipe them clean with a damp cloth, rubbing on any heavily stained areas as needed. Once the curtains are clean, leave them to air dry. You can then repeat this process on all the other panels.
Things to Remember When Washing Curtains
- You should always shake your curtains thoroughly before washing to get rid of all the dust you can. However, if they are silk, do not shake them thoroughly as silk is a delicate fabric.
- For curtains, the dryer should always be on the no-heat setting.
- Any curtains that bleed color, should always be dry cleaned.
- Washing silk and sheer curtains in mesh bags may protect them from crumbling and losing shape.
- Measure your curtains before washing them. This way, if they shrink while washing, you can stretch them to their original length.
- Don’t leave wet curtains to dry on wood. Wood can stain them.
- If you want to iron the curtains, iron along the vertical side of the drapes, so it doesn’t show. If the curtain has slightly dried in places, wet it again. This will ensure you don’t create any watermarks.
- You can use a handheld steamer for easy ironing.
- Velvet curtains will shrink in the dryer.
- Never scrub, wring, or twist any curtain.
- An Epsom salt bath will return crispness to silk curtains.
Suggested Reading – How to Choose the Right Curtains for Bedroom?
Cleaning curtains can be hard work. However, you can do it if you pay enough attention. Each curtain fabric has its demands when being cleaned. On top of that, curtain fabrics absorb a lot of water and become heavy, so washing them often becomes hard. If you follow the above-mentioned tips, you will be able to wash curtains and keep them clean for a long time.