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Essential tips on how to wash curtains

Curtains add a finishing touch to any reception room or bedroom, yet they can often be overlooked until the spring clean comes around simply because it’s hard to know where to start. To help, we’ve put together this guide on how to wash curtains of all types, including heavy fabrics that may need special care. With regular care, washing curtains needn’t be a chore.  


When to turn to the washing machine

People often ask ‘can you machine wash curtains?’ The answer is yes, but only in some cases. Many curtains will have a washing label, so try to find this and read the manufacturer’s advice before you proceed. These instructions will show you the best way to wash curtains and let you know if it is safe to pop them into the washing machine, and at what temperature. If in doubt, lightweight fabrics which won’t retain much water, such as cotton, are usually fine to wash in the washing machine with your usual laundry detergent. Choose a ‘delicates’ cycle, or a cool wash on a slower spin cycle. Persil small & mighty works well in temperatures as low as 30°C.

If you want to know how to wash net curtains, you can approach these as you would any other lightweight fabric. Keep a good pre-wash stain remover on hand for places where they may have become discoloured or dirty from the windows or being handled and consider washing them inside a laundry bag or pillowcase to prevent damage in the drum.  


How to hand wash curtains

If your curtains are made of delicate fabrics and you’re worried about damaging or creasing them, a hand wash is a safer route that will minimise the risk of this happening. Try handwashing delicate curtains with Persil Handwash Powder, which cleans well at low temperatures. It’s best to use the bath or a large sink so you do not have to wash the curtains in sections and risk missing an area. Again, be careful to avoid letting the fabric become water logged and consult the washing label for advice on the water temperature to use.  


Drying your curtains

Whether you’ve opted for a machine wash or hand wash, drying your curtains well is key to avoid mould or musty odours. If you can, line dry your curtains on a dry, sunny day with a good breeze to get as much air around them as possible. Direct sunlight may affect some colours or fabrics though, so try to avoid putting them in too bright an area of the garden. Alternatively, if the wash label permits, you can tumble dry your curtains on a low setting.

Remove them when they’re 95% dry and leave to air dry naturally to avoid setting wrinkles. If your curtains are looking a bit crinkly after line or tumble drying, check the wash label and iron on the setting recommended. One of the key things to remember when you wash curtains is drying time. Large amounts of heavy fabric can retain lots of water, which mean your curtains can take a long time to dry which could make them musty. These fabrics are often better off being steam cleaned.  


Maintaining clean curtains  

If you’re wondering ‘how often should I wash my curtains?’ there is no straightforward answer. We advise you give them a deep clean about twice a year, but you may need to clean them more often if your home is prone to dust or odours. You can help keep them looking better for longer by going over them once a week with the brush attachment of your vacuum. This will help lift surface dust and help you enjoy fresh looking curtains for longer.  

For tips on washing other tricky household furnishings, check out our articles on washing pillows and duvets.

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