Whether you’re drapes are yellowed or stained, the first step to laundering your drapery is determining whether the the fabric is washable or dry clean only. No doubt the majority of upholstery and drapery fabrics require dry cleaning or special care. Still, you might be surprised to find that your curtains or drapes can be laundered at home with little trouble! Read on to find out which common decorative and drapery fabrics are washable and which must be dry cleaned.
Why Does it Matter?
It might not seem like drapery fabrics are delicate, but it is important to care for them correctly to prevent shrinking, stretching and pulling. Most drapes are measured to puddle on the floor or to hang a certain distance above it. Washing a dry clean only fabric may change the look of your drapes or completely ruin the fabric.
Even washable fabrics that have not been pre-treated are subject to these distortions. To prevent shrinkage, launder drapes constructed of machine-washable fabrics in cold water or on the delicate cycle and never machine dry. Hanging from a line to dry is also problematic, as drapery fabrics might elongate, distorting the pattern or shape. Lay drapery flat to dry whenever possible to maintain shape and preserve quality.
Fabrics That Can be Washed at Home
Some washable fabrics can be machine-washed. Cotton and linen can be washed in cold water or on the delicate cycle. Some stronger synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon can also be washed in a machine. The above fabrics can also be washed by hand, as can cashmere and wool.
Some silk fabrics can also be hand-washed. Often the color of silk fabric will determine whether hand-washing is safe. Light colors and colors that you’re sure will not bleed are safe to hand wash. Otherwise, dry clean silk fabrics.
Before hand-washing your drapes, pre-treat any stains or spots with a stain-removing solution. A little lukewarm water may help the fabric better absorb the solution. Follow the package directions of your stain remover and allow to soak the recommended amount of time.
To hand-wash drapery fabric, soak in the sink, bathtub or a bucket filled with cool water and gentle detergent. Let soak for 30 minutes to an hour. Gently press water out, being careful not to squeeze and wrinkle fabrics that cannot be pressed such as cotton velvet. Some fabrics can be ironed while still damp to present to remove wrinkles. If you’re unsure, remove wrinkles from drapery fabrics by steaming to be safe.
Fabrics That Must be Dry-Cleaned
Some drapery fabrics simply cannot be washed at home. Drapes with a lining, beading, other embellishments or complicated pleating should always be dry cleaned. Tapestry fabrics, furs, crushed velvet, delicate synthetics such as rayon, taffeta, satin, suede and brocade are among other fabrics that must be dry cleaned.
You might also choose to dry-clean items that are excessively soiled or stained. Remember, it is always wise to dry clean drapes when you are not confident you can remove stains at home. If you fail to remove a stain at home, it may become permanent once the fabric is allowed to dry.
Most store-bought drapes have a care tag that lists the fabric and washing instructions. If your drapes are hand sewn or second hand, a fabric store or experienced dry cleaner should be able to identify the fabric type and determine how to properly care for it. Whatever fabric your drapes are made of, there is no denying that freshly laundered drapes can offer your space a lovely face-lift.