Curtains can finish a room, but they are also dust and dirt magnets. Sometimes knowing how to clean curtains can be a mystery, especially if they are delicate. How often should you clean draperies and curtains? How do you protect silks and sheers? Should you use a washing machine, wash your curtains by hand, or steam them clean? Cleaning your curtains in one of these three ways usually depends on the material of your window coverings.
Dry Clean Only: Some curtains may have a label that reads dry clean only. Doing anything other than dry cleaning is at your own risk. Some fabrics may bleed and fade if they aren't properly dry cleaned, and others may shrink.
Cleaning Upholstery/ Code "S" fabrics labeled as Code "S" must be dry solvent cleaned only. Dry solvent cleaning is reserved for delicate or non-colorfast fabrics that can be damaged when using water-based cleaning methods. The term dry solvent refers to non-water, hydrocarbon-based compounds.
Dry-cleaning is the safest of cleaning methods, however solvents may damage adhesives or latex back coatings. The good news is that dry cleaning solvents dissolve oily soils and eliminate the fear of bleeding, shrinkage, and browning. The bad news is that it will have little effect on heavily soiled fabric or fabric with water-based stains.
A dry-cleaning solvent may be toweled onto heavily soiled areas such as armrests or head rests to remove hair and body oils. A brush or hand bonnet may be used to agitate the soiled areas. Dry well time should be approximately 5-10 minutes. Every effort should be made to leave the fabric as dry as possible before leaving the job site.
Safety tips for dry cleaning solvents:
- Ventilation must be provided prior to and during dry cleaning. Exhaust hoses should be vented to the outside and air movers should be used to exhaust fumes.
- Standard immersion heaters may not be used to heat solvents.
- No smoking around solvents.
- Dry cleaning solvents should not be used around pilot lights, electric heaters, or gas or fuel oil-fire heaters.
- The cleaning unit should not be plugged into an electrical outlet closer than 10 feet to the fabric being cleaned. Always ensure proper grounding of electrical equipment.
- Drop cloths must be used to protect floors. If solvent is sprayed onto finished wood, it must be wiped off immediately.
- Technicians must wear government-approved, fit tested solvent (organic) vapor respirators with fresh cartridges that are approved for specific dry solvent vapors. If solvent odor is detected, replace the cartridge. Splash goggles and dry-solvent-resistant gloves must be worn.
- Dry solvents must be stored in properly labeled, flame-resistant, manufacturer-approved containers.
- Recovered dry solvents must be disposed in accordance with applicable government regulations.
What about wash and care
- Machine washable with a laundry bag or dry clean, gentle cycle, do not bleach, and tumble dry low.
- Some fabrics become heavier after absorbing water, so it is recommended that you use a one-piece machine wash when the curtain size is larger.
- If you want to use an iron, please turn down the temperature to avoid leaving marks on the curtains.