Taking care of your curtains

Wednesday November 4 2015

Hard fabric curtains do not easily show dirt

Hard fabric curtains do not easily show dirt like the soft fabric curtains above. Photos by Rachel Mabala 

By Juliet Kigongo

Even those considered to be the highest quality and expensive curtains will wear out if not maintained as required.
This is because some people take a lot of time to choose curtains that will add beauty to their homes, yet maintaining them can seem like a hard thing to do.
However, it is also easy to keep your curtains looking great for years if given the proper care. Whether you need to clean delicate sheer curtains or keep your lined curtains from losing their crispness.

Showing dirt
Alex Muhwezi of Daffodils Textiles says the number of times you need to clean your curtains depends on what kind of fabric they are made of. “Hard fabric does not easily shows dirt while soft fabric shows dirt so easily. So the later should be washed more often than the former.”

When washing
Remove all hardware such as hooks from your curtains before washing. When washing curtains, be sure to check the care label first on how they should be washed.
“If you are in doubt about your curtains, try spot testing a small corner with a mix of water and detergent. Most washable curtains will need to be washed in cold water with a small amount of laundry detergent,” Muhwezi explains.
Sam Lwanga a dry cleaner at Standard Dry Cleaner says most of the fabrics can be hand washed though it does not have to be roughly done. With netting, it should be soaked in water with detergent for 30 minutes, pulled out then rinsed in clean water.

It should not be squeezed or pressed because this will enlarge your curtain. However, he warns that not all curtains should be soaked in detergents especially those with heavy fabric.
Lwanga adds that dry cleaning should be done for curtains that are made of cotton and linen though it can also usually be machine washed, but silk curtains should always be washed by hand.
“Fabrics such as cotton and linen can easily be ruined when hand washed.”

Muhwezi explains that drying works for washable curtains though they should not be left out in the sun for so long because over drying will make the creases set yet if removed when still slightly damp makes ironing curtains a very simple job.
After washing, they can be sun dried though they should not be left in the sun for so long.

All storage should be in places free from moisture and rodents. It is advisable to store them ironed to avoid excess creasing that may require dry heat ironing.
“When curtains are stored in areas that have access to moisture, they get a very unpleasant smell with punches,” Lwanga says.


To iron your curtains without damaging the fabric, Muhwezi says you should always turn them inside out, put your iron on a low setting and gently slide the iron over the material.
Check the care label on sheer curtains before ironing them; you may be able to dip them in a starch mixture and hang them again without ironing so that you do not ruin the material. Living room or bedroom curtains with trimmings must be pressed carefully so that the fabric does not crease and the trimmings are not damaged.

He advises that most curtains are better off steam ironed than dry heat as this reduces the chances of them being burnt or fading. After steam ironing, replace the hardware and hang them on your windows.
To prevent your curtains from fading over time, hang light -coloured curtains in these windows. Lined curtains are also a great option, as the lining will protect the outer fabric of your curtains from damage.”