How to Clean Drapes Properly

Many people never wonder how to clean drapes, curtains or other window treatments in their home. This is because they are often overlooked when housecleaning.

During spring-cleaning or fall cleaning, they remove every speck of dust and dirt from their home but overlook their curtain and drapery cleaning. This happens because their window treatments still look clean, even if they have been hanging for years.

Window treatments are important for their aesthetic beauty; they protect your furniture from sun damage and give you privacy and comfort. Draperies are usually a heavier, lined fabric that extents to or close to the floor, whereas curtains are often lightweight and unlined.

Draperies, curtains and window treatments collect a huge amount of dirt over time. Dust, oil, pollution, smoke, pollen, heating fumes and bacterial are just some of the dirt that they retain. Even though they look visually clean, drapery cleaning is certainly a necessary part of housecleaning.

How to clean drapes starts with daily care. In the evening, when you draw your drapery panels or lined drapes closed, gently shake them, to keep dirt and dust from lodging in the fabric.

The most important drapery cleaning tip to follow is, vacuum your drapes often, using a handheld vacuum with a soft brush attachment. Weekly vacuuming is best but if that is not possible, vacuum your drapes at least once a month.

When you are wondering how to clean your drapes, there are certain circumstances where you need to have them professionally cleaned. Never wash draperies if:

  • they are not labeled washable

  • the fabric is faded and weakened by sunlight

  • embellishments and trims are not colorfast

  • drapes are pleated

  • the lining and drapes are different fibers or only one is washable

  • they are too large or bulky to fit properly into your washing machine

This is how you should clean drapes or curtains labeled washable.

Either hand wash, if they are small, or machine wash using the short, gentle cycle. Use cool water and mild detergent but never overload your washing machine, as the drapes will not clean properly.

Rinse thoroughly and gently and then either line-dry, out of direct sunlight or tumble-dry on a delicate or air setting.

Remove your draperies immediately from the machine once they dry. Touch up with your iron if necessary, but press on the reverse side, not on the front of your drapes.

Have a professional cleaner dry-clean your drapes that are not washable.

Now that you understand how to clean your drapes or curtains they will last longer and look wonderful for many years.


: : How to Clean Drapes

Claim your free copy of our Special Report:

How To Clean Your House: Advice From the Past

* indicates required

Read our privacy policy here.

In it you'll get...

  • The exact practices used for household management back in 1914 -- you'll be shocked to know that we still use some of these today.

  • The best methods of removing dust, cleaning paint, woodwork and glass.

  • Instructions on how and why you should make an inventory of household goods in a card file -- e.g., "Keep bed linen and towels, piled preferably on shelves, near bedrooms and bathrooms, marked and numbered. Put the clean underneath when they come from the laundry."

By entering your email, you're opting in to receive our free weekly house cleaning letter, "The Saturday Morning Cleanup". It will give you house cleaning tips and motivation to create a home that is quick and easy to clean. We'll never send you spam, and you can opt-out at any time.

Recent Articles

  1. Laundry - The Never-Ending Cycle

    Oct 24, 20 09:33 AM

    Laundry is a fact of life, and to deal with it, you simply have to have a routine.

    Read more

  2. How to Scape Up Some Motivation to Get Your House Cleaning Done

    Sep 12, 20 07:52 AM

    Sometimes you just need a little bit of motivation to get started and finish cleaning your home. Here are 5 tips to get you motivated.

    Read more

  3. How to Organize Your Kitchen In One Day

    Sep 05, 20 10:45 AM

    Organize your kitchen for a space that's less of a time suck when it comes to keeping it clean and ready for the next meal preparation session.

    Read more

  4. Toward A Self Cleaning House

    Aug 30, 20 02:21 PM

    Can you imagine having a self cleaning house? What would something like that even look like? Would it have reversible parts that automatically switch

    Read more

  5. Clutter Clearing: How the State of Your Home Affects Your Life

    Aug 29, 20 12:11 PM

    Clutter clearing is one of the most effective self-improvement tactics available to you.

    Read more