how often should drapes be cleaned

Drapes beautify your home and add functionality to your windows. But, they also pick up dust, allergens, and pet hair on them and they should be cleaned occasionally.

Several factors dictate how often you should have your drapes cleaned. It depends on the type of fabric that they are made from, where they are located in your home, and how well they have been maintained since you’ve had them.

Your drapes pick up odors, dirt and dust, dust mites, allergens, pet hair, and any other household items. You may think they look clean, but it’s because you live there and see them every day, so you don’t notice if the colors are beginning to fade or if they may not look as tidy as when they were new.

If you have anyone in your household with allergies, you should have your drapes regularly cleaned every year. Otherwise, it’s possible to wait about three years in between having them cleaned. If you live in a dusty and warm climate, you should have them cleaned every two years or so. When dust accumulates on the rear of your drapes near the windows, it makes the sun’s UV rays that much stronger and will fade your drapes more quickly.

5 Ways to Clean Drapes

There are five main ways to clean your drapes and keep them looking fantastic for much longer life. The first way will help you to need to use one of the other four ways less often and can save you a bit of money. These are:

  • Vacuuming
  • Steam Cleaning
  • Dry Cleaning
  • Washing
  • On-Site Non-Immersion Cleaning

1. Vacuuming

When you vacuum your home about once a week, you can quickly run the vacuum cleaner with the brush attachment over both sides of your drapes. This is done with them still hanging up and only takes a few minutes of your time to remove surface items such as dust, dog hair, and some allergens at the same time. Hold the drapery panel in one hand near the top of the drapery rod so you don’t pull them down. Start with your brush attachment at the top and work downward in rows. Do this to both the front and back sides of your drapery panels.

2. Steam Cleaning

Steam cleaning drapery is usually done by professional steam cleaners that normally clean your carpet. They generally have a handheld attachment that steams the drapery panels to remove surface items just as vacuuming them does, but a bit better. Steam cleaning cannot remove debris in the pleats of drapery panels though and it can at times leave your drapes wrinkled and can actually imbed the debris farther into the fabric.

3. Dry Cleaning

Most people think of dry cleaners for their dry clean only clothing. They drop them off on one day and pick them back up in a day or so. Dry cleaners also do a deep cleaning on drapery panels. Dry cleaning involves dipping your drapery into dry harsh cleaning products at high temperatures. Depending on the fabric, you may not get very good results either. Dry cleaning can cause the fabric to shrink and distort and then they will press them or stretch them to try and get the same appearance as when new. This doesn’t always bode well though.

4. Washing

A few types of drapery fabrics can actually be washed at home in cold water in your washing machine and then laid out flat to air dry before hanging them back up. Machine drying is not advisable for any type of fabric because it can distort the fabric and even on a cool setting, it may twist your drapes so they won’t hang correctly when you reinstall them. Linen is one fabric that this is possible with and it has good results. Others include cotton and cotton blends. Wool will shrink in the wash, silk can stain even just with water while washing, and velvet can also be damaged. If you have a darker color of drapes, they will most probably fade some when you wash them even if they are cotton or linen. After they are cleaned and laid flat to dry, you will need to possibly iron them on a cool setting and then re-hang them on the drapery rods.

5. On-Site Non-Immersion Cleaning

This is a fairly new manner in which to clean drapery. A professional will go to your home and remove the drapery and hooks. He will put them in a machine that tumbles them with a dry cleaning agent. The dry cleaning agent binds to all of the debris on your drapes and then it is all removed together. The specialized machine tumbles drapery panels in a unique manner that doesn’t twist or tangle the drapes and it even protects all types of pleats. The cleaning agent is then drawn out of the drapery as well as the debris as they are professionally dried.

Off-Site vs. On-Site Drapery Cleaning

There are a few big differences between using an on-site drapery cleaning service and an on-site drapery cleaning service. The off-site services will require someone to come into your home and remove the drapes from the windows and take them off the drapery hooks or rods. Then they will take them back to their shop and clean them. Afterward, they will return and re-hang them for you. The entire process usually takes several days, so you could have no window treatments for maybe three days or up to six days, depending on how busy the company is.

The on-site services will give you results immediately. The representative will come to your home and take down the drapes, clean them and then replace them for you all in a part of a day. Most homeowners like this type of service best and many times draperies are cleaned before the holidays when a family is expecting company.

At Interiors by Harriet, our team specializes in both on-site and off-site drapery cleaning. We are a full-service window treatment company that creates amazing designs for your home and we have all the experience of cleaning every type of fabric there is. Since we actually manufacture the draperies to the client’s exact specifications, we definitely know everything about all types of fabrics. Contact us to clean your drapes and we can return them to a like-new appearance.

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