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Demystifying curtain cleaning

Curtains often add an extra dimension to the character of a room but knowing how to care for them properly can be a little mystifying. How often should they be cleaned? How do you protect the more delicate fabrics? Can they be washed in the machine?

Curtains can be washed in different ways but it always important to refer to the care label first.

Cleaning your curtain weekly

Using the upholstery attachment for your vacuum cleaner is perfect for heavier weight curtains. For lighter, more delicate fabrics, just a good shakeout is more practical and will prolong the longevity of the fabric. Check for stains or areas where more in-depth cleaning is needed. Commonly, the tops of curtains a prone to gathering dust so a long-handled dusting tool or the wand attachment of your vacuum can be used to gently remove it.

Dry cleaning curtains

If the care label states dry clean only, it is best to take your curtains to your local dry cleaners to be professionally cleaned. Here at Farthings in Cambridge and Trumpington, we can help. Doing anything other than dry cleaning is at your own risk. Some dyes may not be colourfast and ‘bleed’ during the washing process. Worse still, the fabric may shrink a lot, or you may notice pilling on the fabric surface. Dry clean only fabrics will need to be hung dried and lightly ironed if necessary.

Using a washing machine for cleaning your curtains

It is important to check the care label first before putting your curtains in the washing machine. If in doubt, always spot test a small corner with a mix of water and a little washing detergent. Ensure all hardware, such as curtain hooks and ties, are removed before washing. Most washable curtains should be washed in cold water with just a small amount of detergent. For the more delicate fabrics like lace and voiles, it is advisable to wash them inside a mesh bag, or hand wash, to prevent fraying and damage. After washing, hanging your curtains on a clothesline, or putting them on a low setting in the tumble dryer, will work well. If you are using a tumble dryer, it is a good idea to remove them from the machine before they are completely dried, about 95% dry, as this will help reduce the risk of setting creases. If necessary, or desired, you can iron your curtains before replacing the hardware and rehanging.


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