Curtains not only serve to enhance the internal ambience of a buidling, they're also a line of defence against sunlight and dust/dirt, as well as providing much-needed privacy. To serve well, your curtains need to be cleaned and cared for regularly, particularly if you have lighter-coloured drapes that yellow or show dirt easily. How they need to be cared for depends on a number of factors, including the fabric and construction of the curtains. Read on for details on keeping the curtains clean.
Self-cleaning versus dry cleaning
The first thing to do is to read your care labels. Fabrics like cotton, polyester and cotton-polyester blends can be safely machine washed according to the care instructions. Remember not to mix colours and whites to avoid colour bleeding. After drying, iron with a warm iron on the reverse side. More fragile fabrics like lace, velvet and silk, or complicated constructions, should be left to the professionals because they need extra-careful handling.
In addition, do not wash if the drapes have linings, trims and non-washable embellishments, or if the lining is made of different fibres from the curtain. Ensure the washing machine isn't overloaded for a good wash and line dry or tumble-dry on low setting. Avoid washing them if fabric has been weakened by sun or is too old. You should also consider getting in touch with a bulk curtain laundry service.
Keep your curtains clean
Between wash cycles, you can keep your curtains clean by shaking them in closed position every evening to remove any loose dirt so it doesn't lodge in the fibres. In addition, vacuuming monthly (more often in dusty areas) using a handheld vacuum with a soft brush accessory can remove dirt. Ensure that buttons, trims and all other embellishments are well attached before vacuuming. Use the vacuum on low setting.
Ask about pickup and delivery
Removing and installing curtains is tedious, particularly when they're heavy and/or constructed complicatedly. If you're dry cleaning, ask the dry-cleaner whether they can offer removal, pickup, delivery and installation for an additional fee, so that you save yourself the stress. This is especially useful if you don't have ready transport to deliver and collect the curtains.
Caring for sheers
Sheers or blinds are usually made out of light materials such as lace or light cotton/nylon. If the lace isn't complicated, you can wash at home by hand or machine, following the label instructions. If you want extra body, dip your lace sheers in light starch and then dry. For softer draping, skip the starching and hang them back while slightly damp.
If using metal hooks, place a small piece of tissue where it comes into contact with the fabric, so that the hook doesn't rust onto your curtains.