How to Clean Curtains and Drapes

clean curtains and drapesAre you getting amped up for a major clean? Then you definitely need to add sprucing up window treatments to your spring cleaning checklist, as they can collect a lot of dust and grime and are often forgotten about in routine cleaning.

You want your spring clean efforts to count, right? Then you need to know how to clean curtains and drapes like a professional.

Check the Label

Before you do anything, check the care label on your window treatments to see if the manufacturer recommends hand washing, steaming, vacuuming or dry cleaning and whether it’s safe to put your curtains in the washing machine. Follow the care instructions for the best way to clean your curtains to the letter. Otherwise, you may be shopping for window treatments rather than cleaning them.

Do a Spot Test

If the best way to clean your curtains is with a steamer, in the washing machine or by handwashing, you’ll want to do a spot test on an inconspicuous area. For steamers, you should steam clean a small area of your curtain and let it dry fully to make sure drapes don’t end up discolored. Using the washing machine or handwashing? You need to test an out-of-sight portion of the fabric to see if it’s compatible with your detergent. Again, let the spot dry fully so you can see the end results before washing full panels.

Clean Curtains by Hand or in the Washer

Curtains that have to be washed by hand can be cleaned the same way you would hand-wash delicates. The steps below will teach you how to clean curtains in the washer:

  1. Take your curtains down and remove any hardware.
  2. Go outside and shake curtain panels out to get rid of as much dust as possible.
  3. Follow the cleaning instructions on your care tag. If there aren’t any instructions for machine washing, use cold water and a little bit of gentle laundry detergent. Delicate curtains — like those made from lace — should be washed in a mesh bag if hand washing is not specified.
  4. Only clean one or two panels in your washing machine at a time, depending on the thickness of your curtain fabric. You want to make sure panels get clean and you don’t want to overload your washer.
  5. Hang curtains to dry, outside if possible. If you’re drying your curtains inside because of allergies or lack of a clothesline, set down towels to absorb dripping water. You may want to place plastic garbage bags under the towels if you have hardwood or laminate flooring.
  6. Iron your drapes using the appropriate fabric setting before hanging them back up.

Steam Your Drapes Clean

Using a steamer is one of the best ways to clean window treatments because it’s so darn easy. You don’t even have to take your curtains down! So how do you clean drapes with steam?
  1. Make sure your steamer has an upholstery attachment.
  2. Follow the instructions on your steam cleaner.

It’s that easy.

Tip: If your curtains are machine washable, you can opt to steam clean them. Keep in mind, however, that machine washing might yield better results.

Dry Clean Curtains at Home

No DIY tips here. When care labels say to dry clean curtains, you need to take them to the cleaners. Do-it-yourself methods can be tempting, but use them at your own risk in this scenario.

Vacuum Window Treatments

A vacuum cleaner with attachments is the best way to clean curtains and drapes on a regular basis. Try to vacuum your window treatments on a weekly or biweekly basis to keep them looking fresh in between detailed cleans. And make sure you vacuum both sides!

Call a Professional

The easiest way to get clean window treatments is to have someone else take care of the task for you. Request a free estimate to inquire about curtain and drape cleaning services.

Ready to keep your spring clean rolling? Check out these instructions for cleaning blinds and then pick up some tips on making your windows shine.