How to Clean Different Curtain Fabrics

Apr 8

Curtains can be made from a variety of fabrics depending on the requirements you have. Though there are numerous types of window treatments available today, curtains and drapes remain the classic favourite among homeowners. However, cleaning the curtains can be a tiring task and the procedure varies from one fabric to another.
This post outlines the cleaning and maintenance routines of different types of curtains based on the fabric that it is made of.

How Often Should You Clean the Curtains?

The frequency of washing and maintaining the curtains depends on the kind of fabric that is used. While dust and grim cling to certain fabrics, others are much smoother and do not get dirty as easily.

  • Weekly- Irrespective of the fabric, during weekly home cleanings, give your curtains a good shake to dislodge the loose dust. After that proceed with the cleaning of your home and furniture. This will ensure the dust does not settle into the fabric and become difficult to wash out later.
  • Monthly- Vacuum the fabrics once a month, focusing on the top portion of the curtains particularly since dust tends to accumulate there the most. Do not use teethed attachments which might snag the fabric and tear it during vacuuming.
  • Periodically- it can be once in 4 months or 6 months, but getting the curtains dry cleaned from a professional depending on the type of fabric is recommended to maximize the longevity of the product and keep it looking as good as new.

Different Curtain Fabrics and Their Maintenance

The following are popular fabrics for drapery and curtain making which requires different cleaning methods.

  • Cotton

cotton curtain fabric

This is a universally favourite choice among homeowners for its versatility and comfort. There are blends and pure cotton curtains to choose from. If you own curtains made of pure cotton, do note that this natural fabric tends to shrink unless it is processed and preshrunk. Use cold water in case of materials that are not preshrunk. In other situations, one can use warm water for lighter colours and cold for colours that are likely to fade. Do not over dry the material which can lead to shrinkage too.

  • Lace

lace curtain fabric

Lace is more aesthetically appealing than it is functional. It is prone to wrinkling and snagging when it is wet. Shake the curtains outdoors to dislodge the dusts and pet hairs. Wash each panel by soaking it in a soap water solution made from lukewarm water and a tablespoon of detergent liquid and swirling them gently. Drain the soap water and wash the panel in cold water to remove soap residue and hang the curtains to dry.

  • Linen

linen curtain fabric

Linen is another lightweight natural fabric that is popular for curtain making. Unless the cleaning instructions specifically say it must be professionally dry-washed, linen can be machine washed too. Use cold water for cleaning and note that linen will absorb more water than other fabric so the water proportion should be accordingly set. Air dry the fabric for best result and iron it on the backside to preserve the colour better.

  • Velvet

velvet curtain fabric

Velvet drapes have a royal and sophisticated look. They are a heavy, opaque fabric that works great as blackout drapes. If you have unlined velvet curtains, you can use cold water and delicate cycling in the washing machine with half the usual amount of detergent you use. However, before you opt to clean the drapes in the washing machine, perform a colourfastness test. Dab a small area with a damp washcloth and if the colour transfer, it is best to dry clean them. Also, make sure the freshly washed curtains are laid flat on a surface for air drying and should not be placed in the dryer.

  • Silk

silk curtain fabric

Silk is a lustrous fabric and while it is washable, the problem arise with embroideries which can tighten and shrink when washed and the colours may bleed depending on the kind of threads used. If the silk is hand-washable, mix mild baby shampoo is warm or cold water for cleaning the fabric. Avoid tumble drying silk curtains- instead, roll them up in a towel and absorb the excess moisture, and then hang them to air dry.

Important Considerations

The following factors must be considered when you are washing the curtains.

  • Consider the lining material as well since the wash and care for the lining may be different from the primary fabric.
  • Wash dark colours carefully and separately so that it does not bleed and blot the lighter shades.
  • Do not try to wash all your curtains and draperies at one go as it can be a very rigorous task- instead, clean them in batches by the room over a period.
  • Always check the care and maintenance label on the materials before undertaking cleaning at home to ensure you are doing the right thing.

Choosing the curtain fabric can be a daunting task, particularly when you must take the efforts of cleaning the material into account. Knowing the basic cleaning methods of different fabrics makes your choice quicker and easier at the window covering store.

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