How to Clean Curtains – Best Curtain Cleaning Methods


Dust, pet dander, pollen, and mould spores can quickly accumulate on your curtains and draperies. And without a proper cleaning schedule in place, your once extravagant-looking windows can look worn and dirty.

So how does it happen?

Dust and other particles whirl around in your home’s air each time you open and close your curtains. It slowly lands on your furnishings and flooring, giving your home a soiled appearance and odour. If you have indoor allergies, cleaning your curtains will significantly reduce your symptoms.

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With that being said, let’s go through a series of methods on how to clean curtains at home without damaging them:

How to Clean Curtains without Washing Them

1. Vacuum your curtains 

If you’re only coping with dust, a strong vacuum cleaner with a lengthy attachment should do the trick to cleanse your curtains. While vacuuming, use your device’s soft brush attachment to continuously remove tenacious dust and grime.

2. Steam clean your curtains 

A vacuum cleaner will not suffice if your curtains are oily or have stuck-on stains. Alternatively, you can use a strong handheld steam cleaner to loosen stains and debris with an upholstery attachment. Just ensure to steam clean in vertical strokes to clean the fibres without soaking them.

To cover every square inch, focus on small portions and ensure your steam cleaner is tuned to the softest setting. If your curtains are heavy and composed of natural fabrics, this curtain cleaning technique is quite efficient.

3. Hang them up and shake them out 

Stand at the top of your curtains with a ladder and shake them vigorously. This can quickly and conveniently remove all remaining dust that you didn’t vacuum prior. Proceed to brush away any stray fibres with a hard-bristled brush.

Some curtains can collect dust and fabric fibres, often called lint, which can adhere to the fabric even when vacuumed. In this case, have someone draw the drapes outwards, then use a lint roller to stick all remaining lint.

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How to Wash Curtains with Rubber Backing 

Rubber-backed curtains provide excellent insulation to your home. They have an acrylic backing to reduce heat loss in the winter and keep out the hot air outside in the summer. If you like to have these curtains last for the long-haul, you should learn how to best care for and maintain them.

Let’s go through our step-by-step approach to cleaning rubber-backed curtains:

1. Inspection 

It’s essential to understand your curtains thoroughly before cleaning. If they’re brand new and the rubber isn’t sticking to them, you can wash them in the washer. However, if the rubber is worn out, you must clean them by hand since rubber particles might clog up the machine.

2. Vacuum Cleaning 

Whether you’re hand washing or machine-washing your curtains, the first step is to vacuum both ends of the curtains to remove any excess dust.

3. Washing

Hand washing
Begin by detaching your curtains and hanging them outside. You can then soak them with a garden hose and sponge them down with soap and water. Alternatively, you can submerge your curtains in a bathtub with your preferred detergent.

Always use chilled water to wash and rinse your curtains in a washing machine, as hot water may damage or even melt the rubber. Simply soak them in a gentle cycle with a light detergent that doesn’t include chlorine or washing boosters. Lastly, make sure to proceed with curtain washing independently away from your other laundry.

4. Drying 

Once washed, hang your curtains to dry right away. Avoid using your dryer since it may harm the curtains or melt the rubber entirely.

5. Ironing 

While ironing your curtains isn’t required, nobody likes to look at crumpled curtains in their home. Instead of ironing both sides, simply iron the side containing fabric. You’re then ready to hang them up and marvel at your luxurious, freshly washed curtains.

How to Clean Your Curtains Without Taking them Down 

Vacuuming hanging drapes from top to bottom with the soft brush attachment is the main method of cleaning. You can also do this as frequently as you want, and it’s a great way to give your house a fast once-over before any expected visitors come.

Giving your curtains a quick shaking is another option to provide them with a fast clean without having to pull them down. This will assist in the removal of dust and dirt.

How to Clean Blockout Curtains 

Steam cleaning 

Blockout curtains may be spruced up and brought back to life with steam cleaning. Doing so also removes the need to take the curtains down to clean them, saving you time and effort. Instead, steam clean from the top to the bottom of the curtains, ensuring your device is not too close to soak the fabric.


When hanging your blockout curtains outside, ensure it’s free-hanging and not resting against anything. Bending your curtains can cause them to wrinkle and look worn. Once properly hung, carefully sponge clean them with a detergent solution if your blockout curtain includes a lining. You can now wait for your curtains to air dry naturally.

How to Clean Sheer Curtains 

Even if they don’t seem dirty, you should wash sheer curtains regularly since dirt can cause permanent discoloration. Let’s go through the three primary methods on how to wash sheer curtains:

Machine Washing Sheer Curtains

  1. Load your washing machine, ensuring it’s only half full, and add your detergent. Ensure your detergent has dissolved before the wash begins.
  2. Set your machine at 60 degrees and proceed with a gentle spin cycle.
  3. Do three rinse cycles, with each temperature being set at 10 degrees lower than the previous cycle.
  4. Once clean, lay your sheer curtains on a dry towel to remove the extra water. You can then hang them to dry out fully.

Hand Washing Sheer Curtains

  1. Fill a bathtub with slightly warm water and add your preferred washing powder. Ensure it has been completely dissolved before submerging your curtains.
  2. Place your curtains in the tub for wait for 5-10 minutes
  3. Gently pull your curtains out and squeeze away excess water.
  4. Rinse your curtains until the soap has been removed and gently wring them.
  5. Place your curtains on a flat area containing a large towel. Roll your towel along with your curtains to soak up some of its moisture.
  6. Unroll your sheer curtains, give them a light shake and hang them outside to dry. If it’s still slightly damp, proceed to repeat step 5 to remove excess water.

Looking for tips on how to make cleaning fun? Here are some tips you might find useful.

Cleaning Curtains FAQ

Is it safe to wash curtain fabrics?

This will depend on the curtain’s material. Certain fabrics, like velvet, brocade, or silk, should not be washed in a machine since they will shrink. Thus, you must always examine the fabric swatch to see if your curtains are acceptable for washing or dry cleaning.

Although dry washing is more expensive, you can rest assured that your curtains will not shrink. And if your curtains aren’t suited for dry cleaning, use the vacuum cleaner cleaning procedures above and end with a steam clean.

When should you dry clean your curtains? 
While you can wash many curtains, the linings and borders of your window shades can shrink in the wash. If you’re unsure, it’s best to go with dry cleaning. Curtains and drapes with sewn pleats, drapes, or other ornate decoration that may not tolerate washing should be dry-cleaned.

Can I clean special fabrics like velvet and silk?
You can clean velvet drapes without washing or dry-cleaning them. Instead, you can wipe them down with a microfiber cloth bathed in hot water. You can submerge hand wash silk curtains in tepid or cool water with light liquid dish detergent. Swish the water softly, never twisting or wringing your drapes.

Can the sun damage curtains?
UV light can eventually cause your curtains to look worn and faded. Natural fibres, like silk and cotton are particularly susceptible to sun damage due to the UV rays causing a chemical reaction in your curtain’s fibres. When drying these curtain fabrics, always keep them away from direct sunlight.

How do I quickly clean my curtains?
After deep cleaning, you can regularly dust your drapes using your vacuum cleaner’s soft-brush attachment or a long-handled sweeper with synthetic fibers. If you’re using a vacuum cleaner, set it to low suction, so the cloth doesn’t get sucked into the nozzle.

Final Words 

Since allergies, grime, and odours can accumulate on used curtains, you should clean them at least once a year using the manufacturer’s suggested method. If you’re unsure which route to take, always check the care label sewn into your curtains, but in most cases you’ll have to choose between dry cleaning and washing. After cleaning your curtains, you will want to start cleaning your walls.

Curtain cleaning requires elbow grease when hand washing but is worth it to maintain your drape’s quality. If you don’t have time to hand wash, consider taking them to the dry cleaner. But if you want to save some money, you can use the vacuum cleaner method or even wash your curtains in the washing machine.

Need more cleaning tips? Here’s are some things you should not overlook when cleaning your home.

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