Caring for Curtains and Drapes

Wednesday, November 2, 2016 - 09:15

Despite the availability of hundreds of labor saving devices and packaged products that claim to virtually eliminate housework, until a "magic solution" is found, curtains will still have to be cleaned the old-fashioned way.

Window treatments are an investment in time, money, and creativity, so protect your investment by purchasing the right kind of draperies for your needs and caring for them properly once they are purchased.

Know what you are buying. Ask about the fabric's colorfastness, the suggested care process, its resistance to light and how this relates to the atmospheric conditions in your home.

Consider purchasing lined draperies. While they are more expensive than unlined draperies, they can have a much longer life.

If your draperies are custom-made, ask for preshrunk fabric, especially when installing floor-to-ceiling draperies. Read the care label carefully. Look for sun-resistant fabrics such as acrylic, modacrylic, polyester, nylon, and glass fibers. Silk and sheer fabrics weaken much faster than heavier, tightly woven fabrics. Protect these fabrics by installing blinds or sun blockers on the window as well. Some drapes have a special backing that insulates and reflects light well, but it may be difficult to clean.

First, make a sound investment. Second, clean your drapes at least once a year, vacuum thoroughly between cleanings. If possible, rotate your drapes to vary light exposure. Sun can damage drapes, weakening textile fibers and fading colors. Be careful about rain or condensation on your drapes. Once the wet area dries, brown or yellow stains, caused by sizing finishes, may appear.