If you want to learn about washing curtains, and what needs to be done when your curtains are dirty or damaged, be sure to read through the points below. We aim to provide a detailed breakdown on how to wash curtains, and be sure you see the results you want from your drapery.
Before trying to clean curtains with any kind of the damage below, be sure to follow these quick steps:
- Measure your curtains first, in case they shrink in the wash, to ensure you can stretch them back to their proper size when dry.
- Lay out curtains and use a vacuum dust attachment to remove any dust, before putting them in to wash.
- When hand washing, be gentle with the fabric.
- Avoid stains when drying by hanging curtains over a clothesline or airer, rather than resting them on a radiator or wood.
- Iron curtains whilst damp, and iron on the side that doesn’t show.
When hanging curtains, it’s important to keep in mind that the sun will damage your new drapes over time. Exposure to the sun’s rays, on a continuous basis, can mean that sturdy and rich coloured material can become faded and fragile, and washing curtains that have been damaged by the sun can be hard.
Be sure to put them in your washing machine on a gentle or fragile fabrics cycle, depending on the make of the washer. Be sure to pair a cycle like this with some mild strength laundry detergent, to really give your curtains a fresh look that won’t scrub them down too hard.
To dry curtains with sun damage, aim to hang them outside on a clothesline, or use a clothes horse indoors. If you have a tumble dryer to use, be sure to set the dryer to no-heat and spin for a short period of time.
If your curtains are suffering from stain damage, it’s important to take them down and wash them as soon as possible. Don’t allow the stains to set and settle into the fabric, and make sure you know what kind of stain you’re dealing with.
If you notice a stain on your curtain, or you spill something on your curtains yourself, start by blotting the fabric to get the worst of the spillage up. Don’t rub the fabric, and use something like a sponge or a dishcloth to blot fast but gently.
To get rid of any remaining stain, you’re going to need to work with a solvent, or mixed solution of your own, to ensure you can remove the stain in the fastest and most efficient way possible. For common household stains, such as drinks and food stains, laundry detergents work quite well in both the blotting and washing stages. For more heavy duty stains, like crayon or nail varnish, solutions such as rubbing alcohol or white vinegar can be used to good effect.
Washing by hand is usually best here, so you can apply the cleaner yourself and work until you know the stain is gone. Be sure to use as little of a mixture, as well as water, as possible, to ensure you do not leave water marks or stains as you clean up. You may need to wash by hand more than once, but the repeated action ensures the stain no longer remains.
Repairs & Rips
Can you wash curtains that are ripped and need repairs? Depending on the material of the ripped curtain, it’s often best to hand wash any that are ripped right through, to ensure the washing machine cannot do any more damage.
Before trying to repair a curtain, you’re going to want to wash it first. This ensures there’s no barriers of dust or other dirt remaining on the fabric, and you are able to apply fixtures with as little fuss as possible. Plus, it’s much easier to wash the fabric as it is now, rather than after you’ve just applied a fix to any rips and haven’t tested if the repair is strong enough.
Once the curtains are washed, and you need to deal with a clean rip in the fabric, you can use some fusible interfacing material and an iron. You’ll be needing to iron the curtains anyway before you hang them back up, so this is a good way to integrate the repair into the washing process. Press the iron over the fusible material slowly and with a good amount of pressure, after you’ve applied it to the tear.