Cleaning Guides

How to Clean Curtains Without Washing

Cleaning curtains is one of those chores people always postpone until last and then postpone some more. Is there really any doubt? Who wants to take all the curtains down, wash them, wait for them to dry and hand them all over again? The washing machine is not an option for all curtains either, as some materials are prone to shrinking. If only there was some way to clean the curtains without washing them… wait, maybe there is.

If you:

  • Want to make your curtains look good without taking them down or washing them;
  • Wonder if you can deep clean your curtains without damaging them;
  • Have curtains of a specific material such as velvet;

Then read along and learn how to clean your curtains without washing!

How often should you clean curtains?

You should vacuum your curtains at least every week, and wash them a few times a year. 3 to 6 is a good number, depending on how dirty they get.

It’s easy to forget them as all they do is just hang beside the windows. Nevertheless, curtains and drapes do attract dust, pet hair and absorb odours over time. Even mould spores can appear on your curtains if the humidity levels are too high. Over time all the impurities from the curtains or drapes can make your windows look gloomy.

You should clean your curtains even more frequently if have:

  • Allergies – The more of these impurities you have trapped in your curtains, the stronger allergic reactions you will get.
  • Smokers – smoke particles get easily trapped in the curtain fabrics, eventually changing their colour from white to yellow. The smell also never leaves unless the curtains are cleaned every month.

How to clean curtains without washing

Mind you, not all curtains are equally easy to clean. That’s why the first thing you should always do is:

Always check the label

Silk, organza and velvet curtains must be dry cleaned only, whereas cotton, polyester and linen can easily go in the washing machine. Never ignore the label. Otherwise, you might ruin your curtains. After you check the label…

Remove dust and hairs

You can always carry out this phase regardless of the curtain material, as it doesn’t involve water usage. In fact, all you need is you vacuum cleaner and a special attachment. Here is how you do it:

  1. Install a soft brush attachment onto your vacuum cleaner.
  2. Turn on the vacuum cleaner.
  3. Vacuum the curtains from top to bottom. Pay special attention to the bottom edges; they are the first to show signs of soiling as they are closest to the floor and windowsill.
  4. Repeat on reverse sides and linings.

A lint roller is also a good alternative, especially if you have pets. It’s an easy and noiseless way to freshen up the curtains by removing any hairs, lint and other small fibres without even turning on the vacuum cleaner.

Treat stains (optional)

You can treat stains as long as the material of your curtains allows it. With that said, here is how you do it.

Wash delicate fabrics by hand and with soap

Here is how:

  1. Prepare a bowl of warm water.
  2. Add some liquid soap.
  3. Soak the curtains.
  4. Squeeze out any excess water.
  5. Rinse in clean water.
  6. Hand them to dry.

Afterwards, you can hang them back.

Wash lightweight fabrics in your washing machine

If your curtains can be cleaned in the washing machine, then you should set up a cool wash with a slow spin. Some washing machines have a delicate cycle; if yours does too, use it. As far as detergents go, you can use any regular one. Wash the curtains, leave them to dry and hand them back.

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Steam clean

Steam cleaning machines manage to remove all kinds of dirt and stains and can be used even while the curtains are still hung on. Of course, you must ensure the material won’t get damaged. After you’ve checked, this is how to clean curtains with steam cleaner:

  1. Close the curtains.
  2. Clean the curtains with a vacuum cleaner if you haven’t already.
  3. Set the steamer to gentle mode.
  4. Switch on the steamer and wait until it has reached the proper heat level.
  5. Move the steamer over to the lining side of the first curtain.
  6. Hold the curtain, or have a helper. The curtain needs to be pulled tight, so the steamer will have a smoother sturdier surface to work on.
  7. Work in large sweeping movements, slowly going from the top to the bottom of the curtains. If the fabric is velvet, only steam from the lining side. Hold the steamer further away if the fabric is getting too wet.
  8. Leave curtains to dry.

Dry clean

Dry cleaning is how you clean curtains without washing as it’s meant for sensitive fabrics such as linen or silk. Ironically the online tutorials will tell you to use a dry fabric cleaner solvent which is liquid. You need to soak a microfibre cloth in the product, squeeze it until it’s only moist and not dripping and gently rub it into the curtains. Some delicate materials can withstand low moisture levels, but it’s still risky to clean them on your own. If they shrink or fade because of the water, there’s no turning back, and the investment you’ve made would be for nothing. If you’re not sure what kind of fabric you actually have, you can test by wetting a tiny spot. If the colour changes, then you certainly need to take your curtains to the dry-cleaners or hire professional help.

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When the curtains are cleaned properly, there is no reason for bad smells to continue lingering on. Still, it’s possible some might remain. If that happens, you will need to use an upholstery deodoriser or a mixture between baking soda powder and essential oil. Place the solution into a small bowl and place it near the windowsill. It will absorb the smells.

Not sure how to clean your curtains?

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Tips for preserving your curtains clean for longer

Curtains will absorb the impurities, no matter what, but there are some small actions you can take to reduce the effect.

  • Clean your windows regularly – twice a year should be enough for areas with low traffic levels. When the windows are clean, less dust will transfer from them to the curtains.
  • Ventilate regularly – if you live in an area with lots of traffic, more ventilation might result in more dust finding its way into your home. However, mould spores will not develop on the curtains when there’s plenty of fresh air.

Cleaning curtains seems like too much work?

Cleaning curtains is a tricky job, especially if you’re not sure which method to use, so why risk it? We at Fantastic Services work with experienced and fully equipped professionals. We clean curtains, drapes and blinds regardless of their material and without unhanging. We will remove the impurities via hot water extraction from synthetic materials and dry clean all delicate natural fibre curtains. In the end, your curtains will be left clean and 95% dry.

No hassle, no wasting time, your curtains will look and smell good as new, so contact us today!

Cleaning curtains takes time.

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  • Always check the label of your curtains. Some can be washed with water, while others are dry-cleaned only.
  • Remove surface dirt by vacuuming your curtains with a soft brush attachment.
  • Treat stains if the material allows it.
  • Steam clean or dry clean following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Deodorise if needed.


Which method are you going to use for your curtains? Tell us in the comments below!

Image source: / New Africa

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