Steamer Curtains: Fabric Care

Photo of author
Written By Eva Stock

I love gardening, building, making and fixing things. 





Many of the newer curtains and draperies can be washed easily on the gentle cycle of the washing machine, saving you a great deal of money in dry cleaning bills, however some of them create real issues with the way they come out of the washer or dryer, which is to say that in many cases, they are going to require some ironing, which many of us just don’t have time for.


They may fade which we don’t want, or the colors will mute, which again isn’t what we are aiming for.

In some cases we can prevent this simply by the way in which we wash and dry them.

Do not overload the washing machine – You are going to get your best results with the washer about half a washer load as opposed to stuffing it full.

Sun, as well as dust and dirt will cause damage to your fabrics.

Darker colors will absorb light and may fade.

Use lined window treatments, blinds, or shades to protect fabrics from the sun.

Acrylic and polyester stands up to sunlight better than other textile fibers and will retain color much better over time.

If your windows face to the west or the south, you might want to consider window films to help you to preserve your fabric curtains, or installing blinds to diminish the damaging sun rays in those windows.

It is imperative to keep curtains free of dust and grime because the dirt will cut the fabric and create thinner more easily torn curtains and draperies.

Time to Start cleaning

  1. Using your vacuum cleaner with a soft brush, brush over them lightly every couple of weeks to prevent a dust build-up, particularly in the winter months when the furnace may be helping that along
  2. Hand or machine wash on gentle cycle, using cool water and mild detergent.
  3. Don’t overload the washing machine this will cause wrinkling and will not completely clean your curtains.
  4. Rinse gently and thoroughly.
  5. Tumble dry on the low or air setting, or line dry.
  6. Do not overload the dryer. In some cases, hanging your curtains on the curtain rod while they are still damp will prevent the need to press or iron them. Snap the curtain while it is damp, and hang it damp. It will air dry quickly and the weight of the dampened fabric will often pull the wrinkles from the curtain.
  7. If you must press them lightly.
  8. Press on the wrong side.
  9. Check the label before laundering ready-made curtains. If your curtains are washable, remove hooks, rings, and hardware.
  10. Check that trims are tightly attached. Unless the directions instruct otherwise, machine wash on a short gentle cycle, using cool water and mild detergent. Tumble dry on low and remove immediately, or line-dry.
  11. If necessary, iron on the reverse side. If seams have puckered, spray lightly with plain water. Pull the seams downward very gently to stretch back to size, taking care not to break the stitching as you do so.

TOP TIP – Do not hang damp curtains that use metal hardware. This can be reattached only after they are dry, to prevent a rusted attachment from staining the fabric of the curtain.

Steaming Your Curtains

Steamers for curtains are surprisingly very effective at removing stubborn wrinkles especially on delicate fabrics. Although there are other ways to clean they I suggest you buy a steamer for curtains. Both garment steamers and handheld steamers work well also.

There are several different types of fabric steamer that you could steam your curtains with and usually several different steam settings. Some people prefer to use an electric fabric steamer for curtains but there are also many manual ones available. There are even special steamer bags that allow you to steam multiple items at once.

The most common method used today is called “steam rolling” where you roll out a large piece of plastic onto your bedspread or mattress cover.

Then to use an electric fabric steamer you simply plug it in and turn it on. You then lay down your curtains and put your curtains inside the fabric steamer.

Close the lid and let the unit heat up until the temperature reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Turn off the power and leave the fabric steamer alone for about 15 minutes.

Remove the curtains carefully and fold them away neatly. Steam rolls come in various sizes depending upon how big your room is.

A garment steamer works best if you want to steam just one item at a time. A hand held steamer is great for small areas such as windowsills. They usually consist of two parts; a base which holds the heating element and a handle which allows you to move around easily.

You place your curtains inside the steamer bag and close the top. Then you hold the handle and start moving the steamer across the area you wish to steam.

You can find all sorts of accessories online if you search around.

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