Caring for your curtains

Over time your curtains will gather dust and absorb odours such as cooking smells and cigarette smoke, which can cause them to discolour and deteriorate. It’s important to clean your curtains regularly in order to prolong their life and keep your home smelling fresh. If the thought of cleaning your curtains fills you will dread then follow our simple steps and they’ll look as good as new in no time…

Machine washing curtains

Check the care instructions on your curtains before you put them in the washing machine. If they don’t have any care instructions then think about the kind of fabric they’re made from. Heavy, lined curtains may not be suitable for machine washing as they can retain too much water and become difficult to dry.

Lightweight curtains made from manmade fibres like polyester or viscose should fare well in the washing machine on a delicate cycle at a lower temperature like 30 or 40 degrees. Just remember to remove all of the curtain hooks before it goes in the machine, and let them air dry rather than putting them in the dryer. If you’re particularly worried about them shrinking then use a different method.

Hand washing curtains

Hand washing is a bigger chore than machine washing but it can be worth the extra effort if you’re concerned about your curtains shrinking in the washing machine. However, heavy materials should never be hand washed.

Delicate fabrics, like 100% cotton or satin are best hand washed. Use a gentle detergent designed for hand washing so as to avoid damaging the fabric with harsh soap, and wring out as much water as possible before allowing them to air dry.

Steam cleaning curtains

Steam cleaning can be an effective way to clean curtains made from heavy materials, or those that are difficult to take down. Steam cleaners can be rented fairly reasonably from many places, just make sure the machine comes with an upholstery attachment.

Start from the top of the curtain and work your way down. If you notice the fabric starting to become wet then move the steamer a little further away from the curtain. Be careful when using a steam cleaner, always make sure to follow the instructions to the letter as hot steam can burn.

Curtain maintenance

There are several things that you can do in between washes to reduce the need for an intense clean:

  • Vacuum your curtains with an upholstery attachment every couple of weeks to remove dust and dirt, preventing it from building up and becoming ground into the fabric.
  • Keep the kitchen door closed while you’re cooking to avoid the aromas collecting in your living room curtains.
  • If there are any smokers in your household make sure they don’t smoke indoors as cigarette smoke is absorbed by fabric and can lead to discolouration.
  • If bad smells are a continuing problem try giving your curtains an airing on the washing line every now and then to freshen them up.
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