How to Clean Curtains
What You Need
- Simple Green Laundry Detergent
- Vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment
- Sink, tub, or bucket
- Washing machine
- Iron or steamer (optional)
Raise your hand if you've glossed over your curtains while working through a deep clean of your bedroom. They're hanging up, so they can't get that dirty, right?
Things like dust, small stains, and moisture can lurk in the fibers of your curtains and ultimately lead to discoloration. Not only will these hidden elements make your window treatments look dingy, but they can also be a health issue for people with allergies.
Many cleaners, even mild detergents, tend to contain chemicals that are too harsh for more delicate items like curtains. Simple Green Laundry uses plant-based surfactants and a smart enzyme system that's tough on dirt and stains while being gentle on fabrics and the environment. It's free of chlorine, optical-brighteners, borax, and phosphates commonly found in other detergents.
Dust curtains and drapes weekly using your vacuum cleaner's soft brush attachment or with a soft, long-handled broom. If you opt for a vacuum attachment, use reduced suction, so you don't pull the fabric into the nozzle. If you can easily take down and rehang your curtains, occasionally air them out outdoors or dry them on a delicate cycle to freshen them up.
Before you begin cleaning, check the care label on your window treatments to see if the manufacturer recommends hand washing, steaming, vacuuming, or dry cleaning and whether your panels are machine washable. If the care label suggests machine washing or hand washing, do a spot test on an inconspicuous area. Take them to a dry cleaner if you're unsure, or if they have stitched-in pleats, swags, or other elaborate ornamentation.
If you're sure you can safely and correctly clean your room curtains at home, use the directions below to deep clean them once a year.
Directions for Cleaning Curtains:
- Measure curtains. Do this before washing your curtains in case you need to stretch them back into shape. Linings and seams can shrink in the wash, even if your curtains are made of a washable fabric.
- Remove hardware. Remove hooks and weights. Loosen the heading tape.
- Dust. Run the curtains through a no-heat cycle in the dryer, vacuum them with a vacuum's upholstery attachment, or shake them out to get all the dust off.
- Hand Washing
- Fill sink. Fill your sink, tub, or bucket with room temperature water, but leave room for the water to get higher when you add your curtains. Pour a capful of Simple Green Laundry into the container.
- Add curtains. Agitate for 2-3 minutes, rubbing the fabric against itself to help the detergent penetrate soils.
- Remove curtains. Gently squeeze out water. Avoid twisting, as doing so can damage the fabric.
- Drain sink. Drain or dump your used water. Rinse out your sink, tub, or bucket, and refill it with clean water.
- Submerge curtains again. Agitate, then allow curtains to soak for another 5-10 minutes.
- Remove curtains again. Squeeze out excess water.
- Washing Machine
- Wash curtains on their own. Add a capful of Simple Green Laundry and wash on a gentle cycle in lukewarm or cold water.
- Hand Washing
- Dry. You can dry your curtains by hanging them on a clothesline, laying them flat, or putting them in the dryer again on a no-heat or delicate cycle.
- Iron, if necessary. Iron or steam clean the curtains while they're damp on the side that doesn't show. Stretch the seams gently while ironing to avoid puckering, then spread them out on a flat surface to finish pulling them to their correct size.
- Replace hardware. Once the curtains are completely dry, insert any hooks or weights.
- Dust and clean surrounding areas. Before rehanging your curtains, clean the valances, curtain tracks, windows, and windowsills. Learn how to clean windows here.
Velvet, velour, chenille, tapestry, brocade, wool, and silk curtains should be dry cleaned.