How to Clean Non-Washable Curtains - dummies

By Gill Chilton

Dry-cleaners typically charge by the surface area of curtains, so a big room means a big price. If, when you get the curtains home again, you can detect the smell of cleaning solvents, you need to air the curtains before hanging them back up, particularly if they are destined for a bedroom.

If they are returned to you on a peg-rail, an easy way to air them is to hook the rail onto the curtain rail by your patio doors, and let the breeze work its magic. Pegging on the clothes-line is of course a standard option.

Do not be tempted to get the smell out by using the tumble dryer – the solvents used in cleaning your curtains are flammable and pose a fire risk even if you use the no-heat option on the dryer.

If your curtains have a dry-cleaning code, you can use a machine programme at the self-service dry-clean machine at a launderette for a fraction of the cost of taking them to a dry-cleaner. Once home, hang curtains outdoors until the smell subsides.

You can also get curtains dry-cleaned in your home, whilst they’re still hanging on their poles. This is a good choice if you have fitted pelmets that need doing as well.

Delicate sheers need special handling, but are easy enough to hand-wash in warm, soapy water – the bathtub makes an ideal washbasin. Rinse them in cold water then fold the curtains vertically to carry them outside to hang on the line. Take them in when they’re still damp and hang up at once.

Take all steps to avoid creasing, as the creases can become permanent. If white curtains have yellowed, try using a bio-detergent or net-whitener, which you can purchase at most supermarkets and department stores.