How to keep your curtains in good condition

Curtains serve several purposes; in addition to enhancing the appearance of a room, they also provide extra insulation and of course, privacy.  Given their importance and the fact that they tend to be quite expensive, it makes sense to do everything you can to keep them looking good. Here are two things you can do to ensure they remain in great condition all year round.

Implement a weekly maintenance routine

Many people only pay attention to the state of their home's curtains when they become extremely dirty.  However, this approach not only reduces the lifespan of the curtain fabric but also makes the process of restoring them to their original condition that much harder; months (or perhaps even years!) of embedded grime and dust can be very difficult to remove. It's far better to establish a weekly curtain maintenance routine; this will prevent them from becoming excessively dirty (and thus make washing them far easier) and prolong their lifespan.

Your weekly curtain care routine should include hoovering them with one of your hoover's brush attachments (the upholstery one is usually the best choice for this task). This will remove most of the dander, pet hair and dust that has accumulated on them. If the curtains are made from a very delicate fabric and you're concerned about damaging them with the hoover, taking them down and giving them a thorough shaking is the next best option. Make sure to do this outdoors, so that the rest of your home doesn't get covered in dust.  

Additionally, it's worth noting that curtains have a tendency to absorb odours; as such, if you wish to prevent them from becoming excessively whiffy, try to make a conscious effort not to expose them to strong smells, such as those produced by smoking and cooking.  Shut the kitchen door when you're preparing food and make sure that anyone who smokes does so outdoors. If you do find that your curtains develop a smell, try hanging them out on the washing line for a few hours (ideally, on a windy day); this will 'air' them and help to reduce any odours they have absorbed.  

Wash them at least three times a year

Washing your curtains is definitely one of the more time-consuming household chores; however, it is the most effective way to restore their appearance and to ensure that any grime, dirt, allergens and mould spores that have become lodged in the fabric are removed.

A lot of curtains nowadays (particularly those made from cotton and polyester) are machine washable. However, you shouldn't automatically assume that yours are; always check the label for cleaning instructions before you put them in the washing machine. If they can be cleaned using this method, make sure to remove all hardware (such as metal hoops or plastic hooks) before putting them in.

If your curtains are made from a fabric that's too delicate for the washing machine, you can clean them by hand instead. Simply fill up your bathtub or a large plastic basin with cold water and a small amount of either handwash laundry detergent or few drops of dishwashing liquid. Submerge each panel into the soapy water and allow it to soak for five minutes, before gently kneading the fabric to dislodge any remaining grime. Then take out the panel, empty the basin and refill with another batch of cold water, to rinse out the soap from the fabric.

Machine-washable curtains can often be dried in a tumble dryer (although again, always check the washing label to confirm this, as tumble dryers can shrink certain materials). Delicate fabrics which are not suitable for the dryer should either be hung on a drying rack or a washing line.