Much like bed sheets and pillowcases, curtains need to be regularly cleaned of accumulated dust and allergens. They also can harbor bacteria from dirty hands, food and drink stains, and shoes that brushed against the hem.
We recommend dusting curtains weekly and washing them once a year. If you’re overwhelmed by the thought of washing expanses of heavy fabric, residential laundry services can wash your curtains.
If you’re up to getting your hands wet, follow the steps below.
1. Refer to the care label or fabric type
Always read the care labels for specific cleaning directions. Curtains that have pleats, swags, and embellishments that can’t be removed should be dry cleaned by a professional laundry service. Curtains made of finer material, such as wool and cashmere, can easily be damaged and are also best cleaned by professionals.
If your curtains have washing instructions and don’t need to be dry cleaned at a professional laundry service, continue to the next step.
2. Remove hooks and shake out your curtains
Remove anything that can snag or tear the curtains, such as hooks and replaceable hardware. If your curtains are thick, vacuum them from top to bottom with an upholstery or soft-brush attachment. Remember to gently brush the top of the curtains, where dust accumulates along the curtain rod.
If you don’t have an appropriate vacuum or your curtains are lightweight, give your curtains several shakes.
3. Wash your curtains per the care instructions
Follow the care label instructions. If you can’t find them, refer to the directions below for each fabric type:
- Cotton, Polyester, and Synthetic Fabrics: Wash by hand or machine with a small amount of liquid laundry detergent. If using a machine, use the lowest heat setting and limit the load to the curtains. If washing by hand, don’t rub or wring the curtains.
- Silk: Wash gently by hand with mild dishwashing soap.
- Sheer: Soak in cold water saturated with a mild detergent. Don’t rub the curtains.
If your curtains are a mix of fabrics requiring different care, you’ll get the best cleaning from a laundry delivery service.
4. Rinse and partially dry your curtains
After rinsing with cold water, carefully squeeze water from the curtains, then line dry them. You can also put your curtains through a low-heat cycle in the drying machine, but remove them before they’re completely dry.
5. Iron your curtains until they are barely damp
When your curtains are mostly dry but still damp, iron them on a low-heat setting on the side that doesn’t show. Pass the iron lengthwise and gently stretch out the fabric seams to avoid puckering. Stop ironing when the curtains are barely damp so that when they hang, the weight will drop them to the proper height.
6. Streamline your next washing experience
If you have curtains that need dry cleaning and curtains that can be machine washed, why not simplify your day with a laundry delivery service? You can relax, knowing your curtains are safe and getting the deep clean they deserve. Your favorite room-brightening curtains will return healthy and spotless, and you’ll have a new appreciation for the art of drapery.