May 30, 2019 | News & Updates

How to care for window treatments

If your home has windows — and we sure hope it does! — it most likely also has curtains, drapes, blinds, shades, or even a combination of window treatment options. Of course, window treatments serve as decorative elements to enhance your home décor, but at the same time, they fulfill a variety of very practical purposes. Sheer curtains diffuse bright sunlight, black-out shades block even the softest moon rays at night, blinds offer privacy, and heavy drapes can even reduce your heating bill in the winter months.

It’s almost impossible to notice day to day, but our window treatments have so much to put up with over time. It’s quite astonishing how much dust and grime can build up while you’re not paying attention, from fireplaces and cooking fumes to damage from sunlight.

Before we offer our tips, we definitely want to caution you before you start doing any major window treatment cleaning at home. Simple spot cleaning or vacuuming is usually okay, but we’ve heard our fair share of horror stories about expensive window treatments shrinking or becoming distorted because of improper home care. When it comes to full cleaning, we 100% suggest that you leave it to the professionals.

Each main category of window furnishings has its own set of recommended care instructions, so let’s break it down. :

How to care for blinds

Blinds consist of horizontal or vertical slats that can tilt to let the light in or to keep it out. They’re often on a pulley system to lift them completely up or down or side to side. Blinds are available in a wide array of materials, from (faux) wood to aluminum and vinyl. Naturally, each material will have its own specialized cleaning instructions, but there are a few universal tips when it comes to caring for your blinds.

  • Go retro with a feather duster to keep dust from building up over time.
  • Vacuum your blinds once in a while with a soft brush or upholstery attachment on LOW power.
  • Run a soft, damp cloth along the slats to pick up any stubborn grime.

Pst! We partner with Yorkville Carpet Care to offer professional blind cleaning. Their specialized equipment will make your blinds summer sun-worthy. 

How to care for shades

Window shades consist of a long panel of fabric that either rolls (a.k.a. roller blinds) or folds (like pleated or cellular blinds) to lift up and let the light in. Black-out shades also exist, but many types of shades will be a bit sheer to let the outside light diffuse its way into your home. They are made of fabric that can’t just be tossed in the washer, but there are definitely still simple tips to care for your window shades at home until they need to be cleaned professionally.

  • Feather dusters work here, too, but you can also use a lint roller to pick up dust and lint from your shades.
  • Shades are also fairly easy to clean with a vacuum cleaner on low and a brush attachment for upholstery.
  • If you have a steam cleaner at home, that’s a great way to brighten up the fabric of your window shades and get all the dust out.
  • For shades with little compartments within the folds, use a hair dryer on low heat or a canister of compressed air to blow out the dust.
  • Any small stains can usually be touched up by using a clean, damp sponge with a bit of mild soap, but always blot, never rub.
  • When in doubt, check the care label or consult any warranty documentation or care pamphlets that came with your purchase.

How to care for curtains

Curtains are long or short panels of fabric that frame or cover a window. While they are similar to drapes, curtains are generally more lightweight or even sheer, made from a single layer of fabric.

  • Spot clean your curtains with mild soap and a clean, damp sponge.
  • If your washing machine is big enough, your curtains might be able to be washed at home. You might need to avoid an intense spin cycle, plus stick with low temperatures and a delicate setting, so be sure to check care labels and err on the side of caution if you’re unsure.
  • It’s probably best to avoid the dryer, unless the care label expressly states that drying is okay. When in doubt, let your curtains hang-dry or use an air-only setting.
  • For some lace or sheer curtains, air-only drying can be a great way to get out the dust. Be careful though. These delicate curtains are easy to ruin.
  • If you’re doing any ironing on your curtains, be sure to do so on the inside. Usually, though, rehanging while slightly damp will do the trick to let the wrinkles fall out.

How to care for drapes

Drapes (or draperies) are similar to curtains but are usually made from stiffer fabrics with added lining. They bring a luxurious, dramatic touch to your window treatments and often serve to block out light at night.

The fabrics used to make drapes tend to be dry clean only or require specialized care. And even if the material is technically washable, drapes can be too bulky and weighty to take down and rehang on your own. Since drapes are made with heavy, upholstery-like fabrics, they are also virtually impossible to fit into a consumer-grade washing machine.

For major jobs like this, we offer full in-home services for takedown and rehang of draperies and on-site drapery cleaning. As custom cleaning experts, we do recommend having your curtains and drapes professionally cleaned at least once every two years. That special care will keep your draperies looking their best and prolong their life so you can keep enjoying them for years to come.

Parkers Custom Clothing Care is also proud to partner with Yorkville Carpet Care for the certified cleaning of Hunter Douglas window treatments, just one of our many in-home cleaning services.

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