Curtains are an elegant addition to homes but are often neglected.
They look so lovely when you first put them up but you really don’t realize how much dust and dirt they collect until, years later, you whisk them open to let in some precious sunshine and a cloud of dust circles the air. Now you are faced with two decisions: wash or replace.
These days, draperies are inexpensive, and people change home decor themes often. When the curtains begin to look dingy, they simply buy new ones – usually as an excuse to redecorate! While we’d never discourage redecorating, there are plenty of reasons to clean your curtains more often than you do now.
Curtains get dirty quickly as they act as a barrier between outside and inside. When you have your windows open, your curtains absorb moisture and attract dirt from the outside. Even on colder days when your windows are closed, cracks and drafts bring in tiny dirt particles.
Curtains can also collect dirts and dust settling from ceiling fans and air conditioning units. Even when you are giving your house a spring clean you are putting dirt and debris into the air and this is being transferred onto your poor curtains. Taking all this into consideration you can see why its important to clean your curtains on a regular basis!
How to keep up with the dirt and grime on your curtains
No matter how dirty and dusty your curtains get, it would be way too much work to wash them or have them cleaned every week. It would also ruin your drapes. You can, however, get a lot of the dirt and dust off the surface of your curtains by dusting or vacuuming them every week as part of your general household cleaning. You can use a feather duster, static duster, dusting cloths, a damp cloth, or a dusting attachment that fits onto your vacuum cleaner.
Here are a few tips to remember:
- Start at the top of your curtains and work your way down so the dust falls onto parts you haven’t dusted yet.
- Concentrate on dusting hems and folds as most of the dust accumulates in those areas.
- If you use a damp cloth, make sure you dust or vacuum the curtains first to avoid smearing in dirt.
- It’s best not to use a damp cloth on lightly colored curtains.
- It’s easier to leave your curtains hanging when you dust them. Consider getting a more secure curtain rod if you aren’t able to hold the curtains taught to vacuum or dust them.
- Be sure to dust or vacuum both sides of your curtains. Dust and debris collects on the sides facing windows as well, and it can fall onto your floor, cause odor, or cause particles to become airborne allergens.
Steam Cleaning Curtains
Handheld steam cleaners are now widely available and inexpensive enough to be purchased for home use.
But before using a steam cleaner on your curtains, check the manufacturer’s label to be sure steam cleaning is acceptable.
Dry Cleaning Curtains
If your curtain labels say, “Dry Clean Only,” it’s important to follow the directions. Keep in mind, though, that all dry cleaners are not the same. Your neighborhood dry cleaner might not be knowledgeable about different fabrics. They might send their cleaning out to other facilities that may or may not correctly clean your draperies.
Machine Washing Curtains
Machine washable curtains are the easiest and least expensive to clean. There are some tricks to getting the best results. Caution is warranted because the sun does strange things to fabrics, and the fibers become weakened.
Drying Machine Washable Curtains
Always dry your curtains on a gentle cycle (tumble dry is best) with low or no heat. It might take longer, but it will definitely make your curtains last longer.