How to Hand-Wash Curtains

How to Hand-Wash Curtains

You may want to consider taking very expensive drapes with heavy liners to a dry cleaner. Same goes with antique drapes or with intricate pleating or folds. But for many styles—if the drapes and the liners are both made of washable fabrics like cottons or sturdy synthetics—hand-washing is a perfectly good (and economical) choice. Here's how to do it right.

1 Before you wash, vacuum. Most vacuum cleaners have hoses and brush attachments for cleaning curtains and drapes. Suck out the dust before washing.

2 Remove any ornaments or trim. If they're tacked on, carefully remove them with a seam ripper and tack them back on after washing the curtains.

3 Using a sturdy ladder or step stool, remove the curtains from their rods.

4 Remove all hardware, such as pins and hooks, and store in a zip-top bag or shoebox.

5 Hand-wash the drapes in lukewarm water with mild detergent. Sheers and light panels will fit, one at a time, in the sink. Larger panels may require the bathtub.

6 After several rinses, squeeze (don't wring) the panels. If your dryer has a no-heat setting, you can tumble the panels one at a time. Do not use heat. Dry panels on a clothesline or stretch them across drying racks.

7 Press panels with a cool iron, using a press cloth to avoid scorching or leaving a "sheen" on the fabric.

8 Reattach any hardware you removed, and hang the panels while still the slightest bit damp: The weight of the fabric will help pull out the wrinkles and allow the drapes to dry as they are meant to hang.

They that wash on Monday

Have all the week to dry;

They that wash on Tuesday

Are not so much awry;

They that wash on Wednesday

Are not so much to blame;

They that wash on Thursday,

Wash for very shame;

They that wash on Friday,

Must only wash in need;

And they that wash on Saturday,

Are lazy folks indeed.

—from A Book of Nursery Rhymes by Charles