Home TLC: Cleaning Window Treatments

When it comes to indoor air quality, window treatments play a big role. They can be magnets for dust, pet dander, pollen, mold spores, and other common allergens. Window treatments may also absorb and hold odors. They’re usually expensive and highly susceptible to damage when cleaned improperly.

The best thing you can do for window treatments is to dust or vacuum often (either weekly or biweekly at a minimum). This will save time, expense, and risk when the time comes for annual or bi-annual deep cleaning.

If choosing the DIY route for cleaning window treatments, always check and follow manufacturers’ instructions to the letter. To help you prepare, here’s a quick rundown of what those instructions will likely say for various window-treatment types plus a few handy PRO tips sprinkled in:

Drapes. Dust regularly with a vacuum upholstery attachment, paying particular attention to folds and tops where dust tends to accumulate. Either once a year or at least bi-annually, take down and dry clean if the drapes are made from non-washable fabrics or feature complicated stitching, fancy trims, pleats, linings, brocades, tapestries, valences, and so forth. Even when fabrics are washable, be sure to color test to ensure they won’t run or fade and avoid heat drying, which can cause unwanted puckering around hems and other stitching.

Curtains/café curtains. Vacuum regularly, including tabs, grommets, hooks, and rods. Always check and follow manufacturer’s instructions before laundering and be sure to test for color fastness. Be especially careful when laundering sheer curtains, either hand or machine washing on a delicate cycle with mild detergent. Hang or lay flat to dry, and iron with steam or before curtains have dried completely.

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