Is It Better To Wash Or Dry Clean Curtains?
It's the time of year when we look to refreshing the interior of our homes and taking down heavyweight winter curtains for lightweight summer options.
With the arrival of warmer weather, many of us take down the heavyweight curtains hung to keep out winter chills and replace these with lightweight curtains that let in cooling breezes. It is also the time you need to think about cleaning curtains, whether they have been hanging on the rail for a long time, been put into storage, or are taking them down to store until next winter.
Curtains don't come cheap anymore, and even readymade curtains cost a fair penny or two. For that reason, you want to make sure that any curtains you buy, or have custom made, will last as long as possible, and that means cleaning and storing them properly. And if you do have custom curtains made to suit the windows in your home, chances are that the fabrics selected will need to be handled with care.
How to properly clean curtains
There has always been a toss-up between machine wash, hand wash or dry clean curtains. And yes, there are certain fabrics that are washable, preferably in cold water, that you don't need to worry too much about. The main fact you need to consider is that you don't always know if the fabrics used for the curtains are washable and whether they will shrink. The only curtains that I wash are my sheer curtains on the bedroom window, the rest go every 6 months to the dry cleaner.
Before you decide to do anything with your curtains, check any labels they might have. If they are ready-made curtains, there should be a label sewn onto the curtains that display symbols that indicate the type of cleaning required. Take a look at the common symbols below for all types of fabrics.
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While you may not encounter all the above symbols, it is always good to keep these in a safe place for when you need them. These symbols are found on labels attached to readymade items and ensure proper care and attention for various fabrics and textiles.
Some materials can be hand or machine washed and some fabrics cannot be dry-cleaned. If you have curtains custom made, be sure to ask for care instructions before taking your window treatments home, and this includes fabric blinds.
How to prevent sun-bleaching damage
Bleaching or fading of colour can occur to any curtains, drapes or window treatment that is not protected from direct UV rays. There are a couple of solutions that you can take to prevent this from happening to window treatments.
1. Install sheer or voile curtains
Even if curtains have backing fabric, sun damage can occur to the sides of the curtains not covered by backing. One simple way to protect curtains from sun damage and bleaching is to fit a layer of sheer or voile curtains in front of the window and behind the main curtains. This will cut down the amount of direct UV rays entering the room.
2. Have window tinting done
Another solution and one that benefits not just your window treatments but your home as well, is to apply window tinting or solar film over problem windows. This process will drastically reduce damaging UV rays and help towards keeping a room cooler during the hot summer months.
Use vacuum storage bags to store seasonal window treatments
How to store seasonal curtains
Before putting curtains into storage until next season, have them dry-cleaned before packing into vacuum storage bags. These bags will ensure that fabrics do not fade and will protect against pests such as fishmoths or clothing moths that will destroy the fabric.
Vacuum storage bags can be used with any household vacuum cleaner and are available in different sizes that can be used for clothing, bed linen and curtains.