Drapery and Curtain Care
Consider the following cleaning and care tips for curtains, draperies, lace, and sheers.
Sun, as well as dust and dirt, is damaging to fabrics. Light color fabrics generally reflect sunlight and resist declining. Dark colors absorb light and disappear. Use lined window treatments, blinds, or shades to protect fabrics from the sun.
Acrylic and polyester stands up to sunlight better than other textile fibers and will keep color over time. Cotton, rayon, and acetate offer slightly less sun resistance. Acetate often is blended with silk or cotton to make it more sun-resistant.
Special Tip: If your windows face west or south, particularly if you live in a warm temperature, consider professionally installed window film to reduce the damaging effects of ultraviolet rays.
Drape vs. Curtain
When is a “drape” really a “curtain”?Although the terms drapery and curtain are often used interchangeably, there is a technical difference.
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 space 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 check that trims, buttons, and other additions are secure before vacuuming.
Wash plain-panel or simply constructed draperies only when they are labeled washable. – Hand or machine washes on gentle cycle, using cool water and minor cleanse. – Don’t overload the washing machine. – Rinse gently and thoroughly. – Fall dries on the low or air setting, or line dry. – Press on the wrong side.
Although fiberglass draperies are infrequently sold anymore, they still exist in some homes and are sometimes available in stores that feature out-of-date or mid-20th century textiles.
Hand wash fiberglass draperies wearing rubber gloves: never machine wash or dry-clean. Glass fibers can be picked up in the next few laundry loads. Use a large laundry tub — not a bath tub — for soaking and washing in water and detergent. Rinse thoroughly and press out excess water without soaking. Line-dry without folding over the clothesline.
Check the label before laundering ready-made curtains. If your curtains are washable, remove hooks, rings, and hardware.
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.
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