A general rule of thumb for dry clean only curtains is to only dry clean them. However, there are instances when getting your curtains to the dry cleaners is not practical whether it be for price or timing reasons.
Perhaps you have even considered replacing your dry clean only curtains and are willing to roll the dice with self-cleaning. Whatever your reason may be for wishing to wash the curtains yourself.
At Star Domestic Cleaners (London) we know there are precautions you may take to ensure a lesser chance of ruining your curtains.
The basics of washing lined curtains and drapes
First, if your curtains are lined, there is the possibility that creasing and distortion of the curtain lining can occur by regular washing. The best way to avoid this scenario is to use the most gentle setting on which your washing machine can operate. You should not use too much soap in whatever form that may be, advise Proctor Drapery & Curtains.
The addition of too much solvent may just ruin the material of your curtains due to the reactions of the cleaning agent and the threading.
Apply a light amount of soap and operate the washing machine with cold water. Warm and hot waters tend to shift, pull, and distort materials because of shrinking due to direct heat exposure.
Cold water will ensure that your curtains are under the most preservative setting. If you do engage in cleaning your curtains in the washing machine, be sure to pull them out as soon as they are finished and hang dry or lay them out to dry; this is the safest way to ensure the integrity of your curtains.
Regardless, be prepared for an undesirable outcome, as the curtains, depending on their material, can come out all sorts of wrong. That is why vigilance and care are crucial if you are going to do this on your own.
When should you hand-wash?
Depending on your curtains’ material, a hand wash could be a better method of cleaning. If your curtains are made of delicate lace or sheer material, they may be better off being hand washed.
At the very least, these materials should not enter the washing machine without being placed inside a mesh bag.
No matter what you do, do not wash the curtains with other clothes or fabrics as they may bleed or be vulnerable to colour alteration from other bleeding materials.
Besides, we highly recommend that you do not wash more than one curtain at a time in the washing machine, preventing cramming of material that would likely cause creasing, wrinkling, and potential fraying.
If you choose to avoid the washing machine scenario but still wish to give the cleaning a go for yourself, try hand washing in the tub.
- First, you will want to submerge the curtains in cool or cold water.
- Using a light detergent, or highly recommended biological washing powder, gently massage the cleaning agent into the curtain.
- One method of ensuring that the cleaning agent is working through the curtain is to stomp them as if stomping grapes.
Also, make sure that the water level of the tub is enough to submerge the curtain because the more water that surrounds the curtain, the more the soap, or detergent, will have the chance to work into the material.
After the cleaning process of massaging or stomping the curtains out, drain the water. The sooner the curtains hang to dry after being removed from the water the better.
What should you do if you shrink your curtains?
A recommendation if you have lined curtains and they shrink in this washing process is to cut the lining a few inches so that it coordinates with the new size of your curtain. Also, if your curtains are cotton be prepared for shrinking. Regardless of how careful you are with your cotton curtains, cotton is highly susceptible to shrinking. That’s why if you’re coping with cleaning due to leaving your rental soon, better off hire a team of professional end of tenancy cleaners and rest assured to receive your security deposit back. If you still insist to DIY, check our handy tips for move out cleaning yourself.
And, if your curtains are made of velvet, avoid washing them entirely. These types of curtains should undoubtedly be sent to the dry cleaners because washing them will destroy the integrity of the velvet and leave you with a shedding curtain.
Generally, there are ways to clean your dry clean only curtains, though you need to prepare yourself for the destruction or distortion of their curtains.
The labelling, “Dry Clean Only,” is there for a reason.
There is a good deal of risk in cleaning your curtains. You are highly likely to end up with curtains that differ in one form or another from their original state or worse – cause a nasty damp smell. There are low-risk methods for trying this.
Be gentle, be careful, and most of all, be informed about your curtains. Only you can decide if it is worth the risk of running the curtains or avoiding absolute devistation. If your curtains are brand new, we recommend you avoid self-washing because washing dry clean curtains only can certainly cause damage you will regret. To make your new house feel like home is a must but risk a brand new set of curtains going to waste is simply not worth the risk.
Regardless of your decision, good luck in returning cleanliness to your curtains and, by extension, your home.