One of the most unpleasant tasks when spring cleaning is the laundering of curtains. Curtains are exposed to a lot of dirt and damage during their life that makes them tough to keep clean. Because they are positioned in front of windows, they are a front line of defense against dust, dirt and smoke from the outside. They are also vulnerable to bleaching from direct sunlight. Many curtains also tend to have intricate designs that include brocade and ribbons. To avoid damage to these areas, additional care must be taken. Here are some helpful pointers on how to go about washing your curtains without causing harm.
• When taking down your curtains, check on the labels to see what extra care should be taken. Some include the weight of the curtain. This is important as very heavy curtains may require you to wash them one at a time in the machine to avoid overloading.
• If your curtains have a lining and you are concerned about shrinkage, take out the lining and hand wash as you machine-wash the rest. Do the same if the lining is a different color from the curtain to avoid color transfer. If the trim sections seem particularly dirty, spot treat them with upholstery shampoo.
• Be sure to wash valances and scarves alongside the curtains, especially if they are of the same fabric. This is to avoid one looking cleaner than the other when hanged back up. If they are however of very different colors, wash them separately to avoid color transfer.
• Because of the heavy amount of soiling that curtains typically suffer, when loading into the machine, use the maximum recommended amount of laundry detergent for the size of load. Be sure to however set a gentle cycle.
• As soon as the curtains are done being washed, take them out of the machine and shake them loose. Avoid drying them in a dryer as the heat may damage the fabric. Line drying, preferably in the shade is best. Be sure to stretch them out to avoid wrinkles forming.
• If the curtains require ironing, use a steam iron with a low to warm setting. Iron on the inside. Once dry, you can then reattach the lining before ironing and placing back on the hooks. Sometimes linings suffer color damage when rain gets through the window. If this has happened, stitch back the lining in reverse to cover up the problem.