Top Tips for Drapery and Curtain Care

Maintain the quality of your curtains and drapes with these cleaning and care tips.

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    Caring for Your Window Treatments

    Both the selection and care of window treatments are important for the protection of your home furnishings as well as for your privacy, comfort, and personal preference. The method used to care for your curtains depends on the construction and fabric of your window treatments. This guide will walk you through all available options and help you pick the perfect treatment plan.

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    Sunlight Considerations

    Sun, as well as dust and grime, is destructive to fabrics. Light-colored fabrics generally reflect sunlight and resist fading. Dark colors absorb light and fade. To protect fabrics from the sun, use lined window treatments, blinds, or shades.

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    Drapery Care Tips

    Daily care of lined draperies or drapery panels is simple. Give them a gentle shaking as they are drawn closed at night. This will prevent dust and dirt from lodging in the fibers. Every month or so, vacuum with a handheld vacuum and soft brush attachment. Use the low-section setting if your vacuum has one. Always make sure that trims, buttons, and other embellishments are secure before vacuuming.

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    Tips for Washing Draperies

    Wash plain-panel or simply constructed draperies only when they are labeled washable. Hand- or machine-wash window treatments may be laundered on the gentle cycle, using cool water and mild detergent. Be careful not to overload the washing machine. Tumble dry window treatments on the low or air setting, or line dry. Complete the cleaning process by ironing curtains on their reverse side.

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    When Not to Wash

    There are many reasons not to wash draperies. If the drapery, lining, or any trims and embellishments aren't washable, for example. Or, if the drapery and lining are made of different fibers. In this case, one may shrink, causing the other to pucker and hang poorly. Also avoid laundering if sunlight has weakened the fabric, if the draperies are constructed with pleats (which may not hold their shape during machine-washing), or if the draperies are too large for your washing machine.

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    Washing Curtains

    Check the label before laundering ready-made curtains. If your curtains are washable, remove hooks, rings, and hardware. Check that the trims are tightly attached. Unless the directions instruct otherwise, machine-wash on a short gentle cycle, using cool water and mild detergent. Tumble dry on low and remove immediately, or line dry.

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    Ironing Curtains

    If necessary, iron on the reverse side. If seams have puckered, spritz lightly with plain water. Pull the seams to stretch back to size, taking care not to break the stitching. Reattach metal hardware only after the curtains are dry.

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    Caring for Lace

    Remove dust from lace curtains by tumbling in the dryer on the air cycle. Many new lace curtains are hand- or machine-washable. Follow the label directions or gently wash in cool water. Use detergent made for fine washables.

    For extra body, dip freshly washed lace curtains in a light starch solution. For a soft look, re-hang the curtains without starching while they are slightly damp. If you use metals hooks, temporarily place a piece of tissue paper under each hook where it comes in contact with the damp lace. This will prevent the hook from rusting onto the fabric.

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    Caring for Sheers

    Most sheers are washable synthetics; unless the label states otherwise, wash in the same manner as lace curtains. Dry-clean organdy sheers, which are fragile and prone to sun damage.

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