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How to Care for Curtains

by Lindsay Wilcox

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Elegant beige curtains dress up formal living room

Adding style and privacy to your home is easy with the right curtains for your windows. It's also easy to keep your drapes and curtains looking great for years to come with the proper care. Whether you need to clean delicate sheer curtains or keep your lined curtains from losing their crispness, the following suggestions will help you preserve your favorite window treatments. Read on for tips on caring for curtains.

Caring for Curtains:

  1. Protect your curtains from sunlight damage. If your windows receive a lot of direct sunlight, the drapes and curtains you hang will fade over time. Prevent this by hanging light-colored curtains in these windows, which won't fade as quickly as dark curtains will. Lined curtains are also a great option, as the lining will protect the outer fabric of your curtains from damage.

  2. Vacuum your curtains once a month. To prevent dust from accumulating in the folds of your curtains, you'll want to use a hand-held vacuum and a brush attachment monthly to suck up dust and dirt. Make sure that you also clean the edges of your curtains, especially living room curtains, because these are frequently touched and may also accumulate dust from the window sills. Before vacuuming living room curtains or any heavy curtains, however, make sure that there are no embellishments or loose trims that could be damaged.

  3. Wash curtains when they're especially dirty. You may occasionally need to wash the curtains in your home, especially kitchen curtains that absorb cooking odors and splattered grease over time. To do this, read the care instructions carefully. Bedroom and kitchen curtains made of cotton and linen can usually be machine washed, but silk curtains should almost always be washed by hand. Before washing any type of curtains, test a small patch with water to see how the fabric reacts. Some silk curtains or other delicate draperies may bleed their color when first washed. Whether you machine wash or hand wash your curtains, always use cool water and a mild detergent so that they don't shrink or become misshapen.

  4. Press your curtains when necessary. You'll need to press your curtains when you wash them, of course, but you may also need to iron your living room or bedroom curtains occasionally to refresh the fabric and keep pleats looking crisp. To iron your curtains without damaging the fabric, always turn them inside out, put your iron on a low setting and gently glide the iron over the material. Check the care label on sheer curtains before ironing them; you may be able to dip them in a starch mixture and hang them again without ironing so that you don't ruin the material. Living room or bedroom curtains with embellishments must be pressed carefully so that the fabric doesn't pucker and the embellishments aren't damaged.

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