Drapery Cleaning - Care and Maintenance
Tip on cleaning your drapes
With spring cleaning right around the corner, what better time to start cleaning your drapery? Unfortunately, once drape curtains are hung at the window people rarely pay attention to them; in truth, they should be cleaned at least once a year. Drapes are notorious for quietly accumulating dirt and absorbing odors, contributing to a houseful of grime. In some cases it can aggravate asthma and breathing conditions.
Cleaning the curtains can be a tedious, time-consuming task; thankfully, a number of cleaning companies make hauling down the drapes, washing and re-hanging them a thing of the past. Still not convinced? Consider these factors before you start stuffing the drapery into the washing machine:
- Curtain fabric is rarely pre-shrunk (like clothing). There's a risk that the fabric will shrink as it is washed and dried, which results in gaps and shortages when the drapes are re-hung.
- Heavy fabrics can lose shape when washed, turning all those carefully placed creases and pleats into just a memory.
- Rarely color-safe, drapery fabric can fade and lose color after a cycle through the washing machine and dryer.
Water can stain certain fabrics (such as silk) and alter the texture of others, changing the way the curtains hang and fall at your window
If you choose to rely on professional curtain cleaners, you may hire two types of cleaning companies. The first will remove the drapes from your home to clean them; expect them be returned within three to five days. The second will use a method to clean the drapes while they remain hanging at the windows. An added bonus? Professional cleaners will carefully inspect the drapes for any damage caused by common wear and tear, pets, water or the sun.
Companies that promise quick, easy service in your home use one of two processes to do so:
1. The dry cleaning method is accomplished by spraying dry cleaning chemicals onto the drapes and vacuuming off the residue and dirt. Though convenient, keep in mind that the cleaning solvents can be extremely flammable, may linger in your home and should not be inhaled.
2. The steam-cleaning method is when the cleaners use a controlled attachment to run a steam machine over the drapes, steaming away dirt and odors. This process does not work on water-sensitive fabrics such as silk where there is a risk of water damage.
It can be tempting to bring your drapery into your local dry cleaners, but keep in mind that dry cleaning yards and yards of fabric can be costly. And since the chemicals used by commercial dry cleaners are designed to clean clothing, the results are never guaranteed when used to clean curtains.