Top Tips for Curtain Cleaning and keeping your Curtains in Tip Top Condition!
Now that the days are sunny and the nights are warmer we can stop lighting the fires and throw open the windows to let the warmth of the sun flood our homes.
And it’s at this time of the year after the winter has left us, that we get lots of enquiries regarding the best way to clean curtains so we thought we’d share our top tips!
Easy Peasy Curtain Cleaning!
If you have simple voiles or unlined curtains at your windows many of these fabrics will be washable in your home machine but do contact whoever supplied your curtains just to check the fabric washing instructions first be fore you embark on your curtain cleaning!
Be sure to remove all of the curtain hooks and if you have a tape heading, let out the cords, ensuring there is a firm knot at the end, so that they cannot disappear.
If your washing machine has a delicate cycle, be sure to use it; otherwise, choose a cool wash with a slow spin. Your normal laundry detergent will be fine to use.
The best way to dry curtains is to hang them outside, away from direct sunlight to avoid bleaching, and in a breezy place if possible. Letting curtains dry naturally in a hanging position allows the creases to fall out, and if necessary a quick iron afterwards will have them looking like new.
Don’t be tempted to put wet curtains into the dryer. The tumbling motion can cause stubborn creases to appear that not even a hot iron can remove.
If you are particularly worried about the material shrinking, don’t risk putting the curtains in the washing machine, and hand wash instead.
If you have heavier weight curtains then using a good quality steam cleaner with an upholstery attachment is one of the most convenient methods of curtain cleaning.
Be sure to start from the top and work your way down the curtain.
If you notice that the material is becoming wet, hold the appliance further away from the curtain.
Be careful when using a steam cleaner: always read the manufacturer’s instructions before you begin, and remember that steam can burn you – so ensure you wear appropriate protective clothing.
Keeping up Appearances
A seasonal cleaning regime will help to keep your curtains in top condition and hopefully avoid the need for deep cleaning.
Try and vacuum your curtains once a month; place a soft muslin cloth or a pop sock over the end of the nozzle and try to ensure that you get into all of the folds and the pleats in the heading. And remember to hoover the back as well, it´s here that the outside dust and pet hairs tend to gather!
Give the curtains a good shake and then dress them back into their folds; this will prevent staining/marks, dust and pet hair build up, and will help to keep the fabric fresh and in good condition.
Then yearly take your curtains down and give them a breath of fresh air by hanging them outside for a few hours. Brush them with a soft brush and let the breeze blow out the dust and give the fabric an airing.
Whilst they are outside it’s a great opportunity to clean the track or the pole; most metal poles will simply need a dusting, whilst track can be cleaned with a damp cloth and sprayed with a small amount of silicon to ensure the track continues to run smoothly. If you have wooden poles then these will benefit from a quick polish with furniture cleaner and a clean cloth.
When rehanging your curtains, dress them back into their folds, tie lightly with a scarf and leave them to hang for 24 hours. This retrains the pleats and will ensure they settle back into their desired position.
If you keep up this routine then your curtains should stay looking fabulous for many years. But sometimes deep professional curtain cleaning may be required to remove stubborn dirt.
If your only option to bring your curtains back to life is to send them for a heavy-duty clean, there are some precautions you can take to protect your curtains. The main risk is shrinkage especially with lined or interlined curtains where the various different fabric types may react differently to the cleaning process.
Professional ‘dry cleaning’ services actually immerse fabric into a drum of cleaning fluid, and so the process is rarely ‘dry’; any immersion into liquid like this can be problematic with fabrics and could change their appearance and/or dimensions.
With this in mind, it is recommended that you tack round the edges and hems of your interlined curtains before you send them to be cleaned. This will help to stop the interlining moving/shrinking out of the turnings. It may seem bothersome, but far less so than having to repair damage or replace whole window dressings!
We recommend before you embark on your curtain cleaning, that you measure your curtains before you take them down and ensure that you write the measurements onto the order form at the cleaning specialists: this will ensure you can prove any shrinkage should the worst happen, and will mean the dry cleaner can check against your measurements.
When you get the curtains back from the cleaners you should re-hang them, draw them closed and keep them closed for 12 hours with some ventilation, this should ensure all remaining solvent evaporates quickly.
And finally draw them open and dress into folds, following the guides above to settle the pleats back into place.
If possible, always ask your curtain provider for the cleaning instructions for the fabrics they have supplied to help guide you, and if having your curtains professionally cleaned talk through the options with the cleaning company to ensure your curtains are treated in the best possible way.