Everything You Need To Know About Curtain Cleaning

Dusty curtains and drapes are not only unpleasant to look at, but can also pose health problems, especially for those who suffer from allergies. Professional dry-cleaning is usually the safest bet for some drapes and curtains, for example, pleated curtains, and woollen or heavily structured curtains. Usually, it depends on the fabric and labels instructions if you can wash curtains by hand, by washing machine, or with a brush and vacuum to remove the most dust and dirt.

Before washing your curtains, be sure to remove all hardware including hangers and pins, otherwise, the fabric and washing machine could be damaged. Here you can find out how to clean hanging curtains without taking them down, how to clean blackout curtains, and how to clean sheer curtains. 

How Often Should Curtains Be Washed? 

Curtains naturally attract dust and absorb odours after a while, but since they just hang there, it’s easy for them to be overlooked. Curtains should be cleaned regularly to keep your home fresh. Clean your curtains at least every 3 to 6 months. 

Clean Your Curtains In The Washing Machine

Curtain cleaning in the washing machine

Be sure to first check the laundry label to be sure that your curtains can be washed in the washing machine. If so, you can wash the curtains yourself at home. Firstly, remove hooks, weights, and loosen the heading tape, and shake them to loosen dust. Try to pick a warm sunny day to wash the curtains so that they do get time to dry outdoors in the fresh air after their cycle in the wash. Once almost dry, iron your curtains and then hang them to minimise creasing. 

If you’re overwhelmed by the idea of cleaning your curtains, you may want to take them to a dry cleaner, or by booking a professional curtain cleaning service with SweepSouth. 

How To Clean Curtains Without Taking Them Down

The simplest way to clean your curtains while hanging is by vacuuming them, as frequently as possible. A vacuum will loosen dirt and dust – simply vacuum with the brush attachment from top to bottom. This is a good option to quickly clean your curtains before guests arrive. You can also quickly freshen your curtains by giving them a thorough shake, to remove dust and debris. That way you can still have clean curtains without having to take them off from the rod, and to keep them clean without putting them in the washing machine to wash. 

How To Clean Blockout Curtains

Blockout curtains should be cleaned with a steamer. This is a quick and easy technique which also means you don’t have to take the curtains down, saving you some trouble. Work from top to bottom for the best outcome and hold the steamer a bit further from the curtains so that they don’t get wet. If your curtains have a lining, then hang them outside and clean gently with detergent and a sponge. Be sure that both sides of the curtain are hanging freely and they aren’t folded so that they won’t become creased.

Try to hang the curtains in the shade outside as direct sunlight can cause the fabric to fade. Blockout curtains must not be placed into the tumble dryer, and always make sure to check the instructions label for specific care directions and requirements before washing the curtains. 

How To Clean Sheer Curtains

Cleaning sheer curtains

The easiest way to clean sheer curtains is to simply bunch the curtains together and give them a slight shake. When it comes to washing sheer curtains, it’s best to hand wash, this can also help to remove mould from the curtains. If you see any marks on these curtains, use water and mild detergent. With a clean dampened sponge, dab the stain, then dab again with white wine vinegar. Switch between dabbing with the sponge and vinegar until the stain is gone. Do a spot check first. Let the curtains dry by hanging them outside in the shade.

Hand Washing Curtains

Firstly, soak the curtains in cold water, but make sure detergent is dissolved in the water before immersing the curtains. Don’t rub or wring them out. Next, you can rinse them thoroughly and then squeeze the water out as much water as possible. You should also iron the curtains while they’re still slightly damp, lengthways, and slightly stretching the fabric. Then you can hang the curtains while still slightly damp so they fall to the right length. Don’t forget to dust your curtain tracks, and clean your windows and sills before rehanging your curtains. 

Dry Cleaning Curtains

Curtains made of linen, silk, and other delicate fabrics should be dry cleaned professionally, because the hot water, detergent and rubbing/turning action of the washing machine can easily damage curtains by shrinking or fading the material. Curtains are sometimes a costly investment for your home, so it’s important to take care of them so they last as long as possible. Damage can also result from the beading or embroidery on the curtain.

Regular Curtain Cleaning

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Cleaning your curtains every 3 to 6 months should be sufficient for most households, however, some factors may mean your curtains have to be cleaned more regularly:

Dust: If you live in an urban area, close to a main road or a rather dusty area, remember that your curtains are like filters for dust in the air that comes through the windows. So if you live in a dusty area, your curtains may need to be cleaned more often. 

Allergies: Curtains do trap various allergens such as dust, pollen, mould spores, and hair and dander. If you or someone else in the family has allergies, frequent cleaning of your curtains should also be a part of your regular cleaning routine. 

Mould usually appears in damp areas. It can permanently damage curtain material and trigger allergies. If you have a mould problem at home, you should clean your curtains more often too, and always make sure that curtains are dried completely before ironing on a hot setting. This is to be sure that mould spores have been removed before rehanging the curtains. 

Smoking: Smoke particles from cigarettes, cigars, and pipes are easily trapped in your curtains. If you don’t want to discolour your curtains or have them smell like smoke, make sure there is enough fresh air coming in, and clean your windows every month.

Salt: If you live close to the coast or on the beach, you’ll find that salty air deposits can affect your curtains and windows. Hard-wear fabric curtains are the best if you live in these conditions, and of course, frequently clean too.


If your curtains are not very dusty and dirty, then you may be able to clean them in place without having to take them down. You can simply vacuum them as often as possible. Your vacuum cleaner will get rid of dirt, dust, and pet hair. Use the brush attachment to vacuum your curtains from top to bottom. Cleaning your curtains will help them to last longer too, so you won’t have to buy new curtains too soon. 

Do you have a dusty mattress from pets? You may want to learn how to get rid of pet hair or how to clean a dusty mattress from our cleaning tips here. 

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