Wondering how to go about cleaning those dirty curtains in your home? These coverings mainly serve a functional purpose by blocking out excess sunlight and providing privacy. However, they also add to the overall beauty of a room (and the whole house) and are equally important to the final design just like art & wall color. Regularly cleaning curtains, therefore, is a key task. It can help retain their original look, prolong their lifespan and help avoid overexposure to allergens and dust. Thankfully, the cleaning process does not have to be as daunting as it seems. With the necessary tools, anyone can easily clean curtains of all size and material. Here are a few best cleaning methods you may consider.
One of the easiest, yet effective, ways to clean your window coverings is to vacuum them. This can be done without having to remove them from the windows, something that may be needed if the curtains are too fragile. For best results, you should use your vacuum’s soft brush attachment or feather duster. Vacuum from top down to ensure that anything that falls off can be cleaned up later. Remember to check in the hems where hidden dirt tends to accumulate and also wipe down the windows.
Be sure to avoid any fringes/cords that could be ruined in the event they’re caught in the cleaning equipment. Additionally, try to avoid excessive pull so the curtains do not fall off. Regular vacuuming will help prevent dust and dirt build-up due to leak in from the windows, ceiling fans, or just naturally occurrence.
2. Shaking Them Out
If you’re looking for a quick clean, simply shake the dusty curtains out while they’re still hanging on the rods. However, to avoid contaminating other surfaces or components of your home, you may want to detach the curtains & then shake them outside. Note that this technique may not be very effective for curtains that are very dusty or haven’t been cleaned for some time.
3. Steam Cleaning
You can find a range of handheld steam cleaners on the market that are affordable and effective for cleaning curtains in your home. But before steam cleaning, make sure to check the label to ascertain that the method is acceptable. In general, if your curtains are machine-washable, the method can work although the best results would be realized by tossing them into your washing machine. Steam cleaning works in the same as vacuuming; with gentle strokes while they’re still hanging.
Be sure to start from back of the dirty curtains and work from top down, holding the equipment about 2 inches or so from the fabric. When done with the back side, repeat the same on the front and allow them to dry for about 15 minutes with the windows closed to prevent them from attracting dirt or debris from outside. You can then determine whether a second round of cleaning is needed or not. Always remember to follow the curtain and steam cleaner manufacturer directions.
4. Using Lint Brush/ Fabric Softener
A lint brush can help rid dirt and dust from curtains made of velvet or similar material. Simply rub the brush along the covering to leave them clean and fresh. This method is quite simple & quick and is ideal for heavy models that would be difficult to manoeuvre or take down. The fabric softener works in the same way like the lint brush but has an added benefit of leaving a sweet scent on the curtains.
5. Machine Washing
Another cleaning method for curtains is to machine wash them. Note that this method is only ideal for machine washable curtains, and requires some caution as the sun can damage the fabrics or the fibers may become weakened. As a rule of thumb, you should only wash the dirty window treatments in the delicate cycle, regardless of whether the fabric is thicker and seems like it can withstand heavier cycles. Further, it’s advisable to wash them in cold water so as to minimize the possibility of shrinking or fading. Curtains should only be washed alone, not along with other laundry. This is because they need sufficient space for washing & moving inside washing the machine.
Always employ the same cycle when washing your drapes and make sure to use the appropriate load setup that applies to their weight & size. For heavily soiled curtains, you may wash them in warm water but only if the manufacturer’s label recommends it. Consider investing in a cleaning product specially made to not fade curtain color if the coverings are dark colors. In general, machine washing is an easy and relatively inexpensive method to clean curtains.
6. Hand-Washing Them With Water & Detergent
If your curtains are not “dry-clean only”, you can wash them using water & liquid detergent in a bathtub or sink. Here are the simple steps you should follow:
· Carefully take the dirty curtains down. Be sure to take out the rods, hooks and pins as, if left, they could tear the material during the cleaning process.
· Apply the detergent and then gently wash to remove the debris. Note that, since most of these window treatments are quite delicate, you should only use a mild detergent. Never use bleach.
· When done, hang them up to dry. This can be done indoors or outdoors for as long as there’s sufficient air to ensure proper drying.
7. Dry Cleaning
Dry cleaning is an effective way to eliminate accumulated dust, debris and allergens from curtains. There are a range of dry cleaning solvents that can be used along with a steam cleaner to clean the window treatments at home. However, to ensure maximum results while minimizing damage to the fabric, it’s recommended to take them to a professional who not only knows a thing or two about your particular fabric but has also handled them in the past. A tip is to seek recommendations from friends, co-workers or neighbours.
Like other coverings, curtains can become dirty over time due to natural or human-induced reasons. When this happens, taking immediate action is necessary to avoid them becoming a health hazard. Thankfully, there are a myriad of methods that you can use to clean them and restore their original state. The trick is to follow the directions of the manufacturer as well as the steps for the cleaning method you choose.