How To Care For Draperies
Not only do draperies filter light and provide privacy, they can also add a splash of color or an eye-catching design to your home decor. The window treatments look their best when they are fresh and clean, so give them a little regular TLC. Dirty and dusty draperies can detract from the overall look of your home, but you'll be able to keep them looking new by following a few simple tips:
Washing the Draperies
The most effective way to freshen up dirty draperies is by washing them at least a few times a year, such as during spring and fall cleaning. Many drapery fabrics are dry-clean only, so be sure to check the care label. If you have plain-paneled draperies that can be cleaned at home, either hand-wash them or place them in your washing machine on the "gentle" cycle. Use cool water for dark-colored fabric, warm water for light-colored fabric, and mild detergent. Another option may be steam-cleaning the drapes with a jet nozzle.
Either dry the draperies on your dryer's "low" setting, or hang them out to dry on a line on a nice day. After the treatments are dry, check the label to see if ironing is recommended.
In between deep cleanings, you can remove and prevent dust buildup by vacuuming your draperies on a regular basis, Dust, dander, pollen and other airborne debris settle on window treatments just as it does on flooring and furniture.
Keep your draperies dust- and allergen-free by moving a hand-held vacuum set on "low" up and down the length of them. You can use the vacuum's soft-bristled brush attachment for even more cleaning power. Be sure to empty the vacuum in between each cleaning for best results.
If you have pets, you can also run a lint roller or fabric brush over the draperies to catch any fur, which is often noticeable on dark window treatments.
Spot-Cleaning the Draperies
Another way to maintain your draperies is by spot-cleaning them. If you don't have time to completely remove the window treatments and wash them or take them to the dry cleaners, just target the dirtiest areas or stains. Again, check the care label to see what types of cleaners you can use.
For any fabric besides silk, wool or acetate, you may be able to blot at the stains with a little rubbing alcohol on a soft sponge. Using distilled white vinegar instead of the rubbing alcohol may work for the more delicate fabrics. Keep blotting at the dirty area or stain until the fabric is clean, and then dry it with a hair dryer set on "low" or allow it to air dry.