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How to Clean Drapes

Draperies are an important part of your home’s interior décor. They make a world of difference in how your home looks. Dirty drapes usually give the entire room a dingy and ill-maintained vibe. So, for a home that looks sparkling clean and well loved, get rid of the dirt on your curtains.

Here is a complete guide on how to clean your drapes with professional cleaning:

Weekly cleaning

Most vacuum cleaners come with an upholstery attachment. Add the upholstery attachment to the end of your vacuum cleaner, and use it to get rid of accumulated dust from your drapes and curtains every week. Sweep the attachment in an up and down motion across the fabric and keep going until you cover the entire surface area. You can also do this with a handheld vacuum.

The top parts of your drapes and the folds tend to accumulate almost all the dirt, so be sure to cover those areas thoroughly.

Washing your Drapery

Before you decide to wash your draperies, check the labels in your drapes carefully. Some drapes are machine washable while others are dry clean only. If your label says that the drapes need to be dry cleaned, don’t even think about washing them yourself or you might ruin them completely. Also, check the linings in the drapes to see if they are machine washable as well. Incase both your drapes and their linings are machine washable, you can wash your drapes by following the steps mentioned below:

Remove the drapes from the curtain rods, and then remove any hooks or pins from the drapes.

Gently hand-wash each panel in cold water using mild detergent. You might want to use the bathtub instead of the sink to wash large drapes.

If you don’t want to hand wash your drapes, wash them in your washing machine in a gentle cycle using cold water. Use mild detergent and no bleach while washing. Do not overload the washing machine. Wash them one panel at a time or take them to a Laundromat, and use their oversized washers.

Once washed, dry the drapes in low or no heat settings. Again, do not overload the dryer. Dry them one at a time.

If you happen to have a clothes line, hang them up to dry instead of using a dryer.

If needed, press the drapes lightly. Look at the label for instructions or use a cool iron. You can iron on the reverse side of the drapes to avoid any damage.

Reattach the pins and hooks and place them back over your windows.

Removing Stains from the Drapes

Again, you can only remove the stains yourself if the fabric is machine washable. If not, you need to get the drapes to a dry cleaner that will safely get rid of all the spots as well as the dirt. But if the fabric is indeed machine washable, here is what you can do to remove stains from your drapes:

First, use a vacuum with an upholstery attachment to get rid of the dust in the area surrounding the stain. Then, blot the stain with a wet cloth. Dab some running alcohol onto the stain and blot the stain again with a wet cloth. Repeat this process until the stain is completely removed. If the curtain is made of wool, silk or acetate, use white vinegar instead of rubbing alcohol to clean the stain.

Once the stain is completely removed, use a hairdryer to dry the area.

Warning: Always test the cleaning product in a small corner of the drape to make sure it doesn’t damage the color of the drape before you use it to remove stains.

Cleaning the Window Treatments:

Besides the curtains and the drapes, other window treatments like your curtain rods, valances, finials etc also accumulate a lot of dirt. While cleaning your draperies, you also need to clean them out. Dust the hardware (curtain rods, hooks etc) and wipe them down with a wet cleaning rag. As for your valances, you can clean them the same way you clean your drapes. If you have a wooden valance board instead of a fabric one, you can dust and wipe them down every week along with the curtain rod and other hardware.

Quick Cleaning during Emergency

If you need your drapes cleaned immediately (for instance, if you have company coming over), here is a quick drapery cleaning tip.

Remove the drapes from the curtain rods and remove all the pins and the hooks from the drapes. Simply drop your dirty drapes into the dryer with a few scented drier sheets and run them in no-heat settings (also known as “air-dry” or “fluff”) for 10-15 minutes. This will remove the dust from your drapes, fluff them up and give them a nice smell. Put back the pins and hooks, and hang the drapes back to their original place.

Only use this trick for a quick fix. It is not to be used as an alternative cleaning technique.


Follow our complete drapery cleaning guide to keep your drapes clean and your home spotless.

Got any questions or suggestions, let us know in the comments below:


One thought on “How to Clean Drapes

  1. I must say, that’s wonderfully laid out post. A clear overview of cleaning drapes. It couldn’t have been any better than this actually. I love the quick cleaning in emergency tip though. Mostly, I trap my self in some awkward situation where emergency tip like this acts as the life saviour.

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