There’s nothing quite like a new set of curtains to bring almost any interior space to life. These are the kinds of simple yet effective home improvements that can make a real difference for a relatively low price.
Unfortunately, window treatments in general are not impervious to the various exposures they’re forced to contend with. Leave your curtains to their own devices and they’ll quickly lose their lustre, in turn taking a toll on the entire room.
By contrast, focus on preventative maintenance and your curtains will continue looking good as new indefinitely. Here’s how the experts advise maintaining curtains to keep them in the best possible condition long-term:
Provide Sun Protection
Curtains may be designed to block exterior light, but this doesn’t mean they cannot and will not be damaged by long-term sun exposure. Unless there’s a barrier of some kind between your curtains and the outside, they’ll soon begin to fade and deteriorate as they’re exposed to the sun’s rays. You could therefore consider adding liners or installing blinds, bringing a further level of protection to your window dressings.
Doing so will also give you greater control over lighting and privacy, as an added bonus.
Dust Your Curtains Daily
Curtains accumulate dust at a rate that’s as alarming as it is impressive. Rather than allowing it to gradually make its way deep into the fibres of your curtains, it’s far better to give them a shake on a daily basis to loosen and remove residual dust. All of which you’ll then get rid of when you vacuum the surrounding area.
If your curtains are excessively dusty, you might want to think about taking them down and giving them a shake outdoors.
Vacuum Your Curtains Weekly
Some say you can get away with vacuuming your curtains once a month, but tending to them once a week is far better. It’s also not a particularly difficult job – simply use an appropriate tool to start at the top of your curtains and gradually work your way down. This will not only prolong the life of your curtains, but will also make for a much fresher and more enjoyable indoor environment.
Vacuuming curtains on a regular basis is even more essential for allergy sufferers and homes with pets about the place.
Spot Clean Carefully
If you notice any stains on your curtains, it’s advisable to address them sooner rather than later. Just like cleaning stains from any fabric, you’ll want to ensure you use an appropriate cleaning product that has been approved for the material in question. If in doubt, check the cleaning product on a small hidden area of the fabric first of all, in order to ensure it doesn’t cause any damage or leave marks behind.
There are specialist cleaning products available for practically every material curtains are made from – always choose these over all-purpose cleaners.
Machine Wash Monthly
If your curtains are machine washable, keeping them clean and sanitary is an absolute breeze. Simply check the manufacturer’s guidelines regarding temperatures and settings, before tossing them in the wash once a month and giving them a thorough clean. Try to avoid any particularly harsh cleaning products, opting for a gentler approach where possible.
In addition, don’t make the mistake of overloading your washing machine – heavy duty curtains can become dangerously heavy when wet.
Consider Steam Cleaning
Assuming your curtains are manufactured from a compatible material, regular steam cleaning with a handheld steam cleaner and can also make a real difference. It’s usually safe to steam clean curtains that are machine-washable, but be sure to check the manufacturer’s guidelines to make sure.
Again, this can be a great way of bringing a breath of fresh air to your interiors, where there are pets and/or allergy sufferers about the place.
Some curtains are strictly dry clean only, though this doesn’t mean that other types of curtains can’t benefit from an occasional professional clean. Just be sure to check out the reputation of the dry cleaning service before you hand over your curtains – some have more reassuring track records than others.
Dry cleaning costs money, but is nonetheless a small price to pay to keep your interiors fresh and your curtains looking great.
Last but not least, curtains that cannot be machine washed or dry cleaned can usually be hand washed. Check the manufacturers’ guidelines carefully and use cool water in conjunction with an approved cleaning product, before giving your curtains plenty of time to air dry.
If the manufacturer states that hand washing should not be attempted, it’s advice you should probably follow!
A Word on Curtain Fresheners…
Fabric fresheners can be great for bringing an instant burst of freshness to your interiors. However, they don’t actually do anything to your curtains by way of cleanliness or hygiene. In fact, excessive use of products like these can actually lead to damage and deterioration, in the absence of good cleaning practices.
It’s not that curtain fresheners should be avoided entirely, but should always be used sparingly where possible.