Not only do dirty drapes detract from the beauty of a room, they also result in a potential increase in airborne allergens. If your windows are adorned with large customized drapes, you may be intimidated to attempt to wash them. If left untreated, however, curtain fabric can turn irreversibly dingy while also triggering asthma and allergies.
Ditch the Dirt
If you have ever opened your own drapes and discovered yourself consumed by a cloud of dust, then you know just how much debris a set of drapes can gather. The very first step in maintaining your large custom drapes clean is regular dusting or vacuuming. An assortment of cleaning implements — by a feather duster into a vacuum cleaner’s suction attachment — may also be used to remove dirt from drapes. Work from the top down so anything which falls can be cleaned later, and make sure you take care of either side. Check in the folds and hems where hidden debris accumulates and wipe down dusty windows and windowsills.
Steam It Out
While dusting ought to be carried out weekly, steam cleaning may be done on a less frequent schedule or as needed. Based on your budget, purchase an inexpensive handheld steam cleaner or even rent one. Before beginning the procedure, consult the manufacturer’s label to be sure that you wo not hurt the drapes with this method. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s directions about the amount of water to add and heating time, as it fluctuates depending on unit. When the steam cleaner is ready to go, begin with the back of the curtain and then work from top to bottom, holding the steamer 2 to 3 inches in the fabric. When you finish the back side of the curtain, then repeat the procedure on the front. Following a 15-minute drying interval, you can determine whether you need another round of steaming or place cleaning.
Even large customized drapes can fit inside super-sized washing machines, although you may need to wash them one or two at a time based on the capacity of the unit. Machine washing drapes is a snap but some techniques are more effective than others. Again, read the manufacturer’s label to make sure the drapes are machine washable. Always use the delicate cycle as fabric can deteriorate when exposed to sunlight. Cold water is ideal to minimize fading and shrinking, although heavily soiled fabrics may require a warm atmosphere. Look for a detergent formulated for maintaining color as sun-exposed fabrics especially are vulnerable to fading.
Clean and Quick
Most people underestimate the cumulative impact of the sun’s beams on fabric. Curtains are household workhorses and can have short life spans if not treated with adequate caution. Simply clean drapes when it is absolutely crucial. If dusting does not do the trick but a complete washing is not to be able, use a lint brush to slough away embedded dirt or execute a quick spot clean using a moist cloth. A tag which reads, “Dry Clean Only” needs to be honored. All dry cleaners aren’t created equally, though, so check to see if your neighborhood dry cleaner comes with expertise working with large customized drapes.