Monday, November 23, 2009

Caring for your Curtains

As an Interior Designer, I want my client’s finished products and beautiful homes to last forever. One thing I do to encourage this is to provide Care and Maintenance instructions for all products and finishes that we install in the interior design plan. This explains the cleaning and care requirements for every product for my clients and their cleaning crews.

With or without these care instructions, there are two big neglects that I often see in homes: caring for window treatments and lampshades. If you’d like to have a longer more vibrant life for your window treatments and lamp shades, there is one simple rule: vacuum regularly.

Vacuum both hard (i.e. blinds) and soft (i.e valances and draperies) window treatments OFTEN, at least monthly. And your lampshades, too. The goal is to prevent dirt and dust from remaining on the fabric where it will be absorbed over time. Vacuum frequently and draperies will look new for years without Professional or harsh cleaning methods.

On that note, chemical or dry-cleaning can result in shrinking or damage and should be avoided. Fabrics that are not dry-cleaned will last 3-4 times longer than those frequently sent to the cleaners. Focus on prevention instead, by regularly removing the dust from window treatments and lampshades by vacuuming.

If you find that your fabrics are looking dingy and do need additional cleaning (or maybe you’re just reading this and realize your draperies haven’t been vacuumed in at least 5 years), tumble them in the dryer. But please follow these instructions carefully!

  1. Remove draperies from rod
  2. Remove all drapery pins (critical)
  3. Without washing or dry-cleaning, place 1 panel at a time in the dryer.
  4. Add an old, dry cotton terrycloth towel and a sheet of fabric softener to the dryer. The towel will absorb any grime released from the panel. The fabric softener will keep them smelling fresh.
  5. Set dryer on an air-fluff or no-heat cycle and run about 30 minutes. A hot setting may cause shrinkage (critical).
  6. Remove panels immediately and hang without folding. Wrinkles should flatten out, but light ironing or steaming may be necessary.

If a deeper cleaning is needed, try professional steaming instead of dry-cleaning.

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