Want a simple cleaning solution for all of your window treatments? Just use this helpful step by step guide how to clean curtains without taking them down.
Why You Need to Clean Your Curtains
You might not know this but as a general rule, curtains do not need to be physically washed regularly unless they are soiled. What they do need, however, is a thorough cleaning at least once every six months.
Why? Because curtains have a propensity to attract dust, dirt, pet hair and dander that is circulated by heating, air conditioning and breezes through your window.
Which means your window treatments become havens for everything allergy-related, which isn’t a great thing especially for asthmatics and those with other breathing problems.
But that is not all. This same dirt, dander and dust can also cause undue wear of your curtains.
What to do?
Get on board by scheduling some time to give your curtains a regular cleaning.
Now, you might think this task insurmountable, especially if you believe that you have to remove each and every panel off their appointed curtain rod. But not so.
In fact, if you follow the step by step process below, you will not only have clean curtains but sparkling windows, too.
And again, with regular cleaning, your curtains will look their best and last longer, which is always a plus for homeowners.
If your curtains become soiled or overly dirty, it might be time to wash them. Obviously, if you are unsure how to clean your window treatments, it’s always best consult with a dry cleaner who can direct you to the best way to do this task.
Supplies You Will Need
- Vacuum with upholstery, brush, and crevice cleaning attachments; (HEPA filtered, recommended)
- Microfiber Mitt, towel, or microfibre cloth
- Dish Soap
- Rubbing alcohol (only if necessary)
- Spray Bottle
- Lint brush or roller
- Dishwashing gloves with nubs
- Deodorizing spray
- Step stool or ladder
Step by Step Instructions to Clean Your Curtains
1. Dust the Rods
Just like your curtains, curtain rods attract dust, too. So before you tackle cleaning your curtains, begin by first cleaning your curtain rods.
Get in between the folds of the curtains and move out toward the ends of the rods and/or curtain finials (if you have them).
Start by closing the drapes so that you can access each and every fold on all panels.
Then, using an upholstery-brush and/or crevice attachment on your vacuum cleaner, start at the top of each curtain working down to the floor in sections.
If your regular vacuum cleaner is too heavy or powerful, try using a rechargeable, hand-held vacuum that will allow you more flexibility to move and with the right amount of power.
And, most importantly, be sure to vacuum both the front and back surfaces of the curtain.
Cleaning Tip: Use this same technique for valances, too.
Check out this informative video from Cleaning How To:
3. De-Lint and De-Fur
Even after vacuuming, you still might find that lint and/or pet hair is still attached to your window treatments. To remove this once and for all try using a lint roller or brush.
You might even want to try wash gloves that have small nubs on the palms or even pet grooming gloves. This works via static electricity and gentle pressure on the fabric as you move your gloved hand(s) from top to bottom.
Cleaning Tip: Try using painter’s tape as another solution for removing pet hair. Just wrap a swatch of tape—sticky side out, around the large part of your hand or palm. Then, stroke the curtains, top to bottom, to remove any remaining lint and/or fur.
This step is optional. If your window treatments need a deeper clean follow the instructions below. If not, go on to the last step: Deodorize.
In a bucket, mix 1 teaspoon of dish soap and 1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol in 1.3 gallons (approximately 5 liters) of water.
Dip your microfiber mitt in this solution and squeeze out the excess fluid until damp. You don’t want to get the curtains exceedingly wet only damp enough to remove dirt.
Then wipe the curtains down until you have removed all of the excess dirt.
Repeat this process until all the curtains panels are clean. You might have to replace the bucket solution if the contents become really discolored due to the dirt from your curtains.
As mentioned above, curtains are magnets for dust, dander and dirt, but they are also havens for odors.
Cigarette smoke, cooking odors, dank and mildew can accumulate for a most disagreeable stink.
NOTE: If you do choose the option to sprinkle on baking soda, which by the way is a natural deodorizer, you will (1) need to allow the curtains to completely dry if you’ve cleaned them via Step 4; and (2) you will have to vacuum the off baking soda once you’ve given it enough time to absorb the odors.
Cleaning Tip: Regardless of the method you choose to deodorize your curtains, be sure to test it on a small discrete part of the curtain before using on a larger section.
***NOTE: You will need to allow your curtains to dry completely before closing them.***
Repeat this step by step process for all your window treatments.
Cleaning Tip: Be sure to clean the backside of the curtains as well as the windows behind the curtains, too. Even they become dusty and dirty over time.
REMEMBER: if you do this on a regular basis your curtains will look their best all year long!
For more great tips on keeping your home neat and tidy, be sure to check out Wisconsin Homemaker’s Cleaning Section and these helpful articles: