7 Curtain Cleaning Techniques

Curtains in a living room.
  • 1-2 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-40
What You'll Need
Hot water steamer
Lint brush
Dry cleaning solvent
Fabric softener

Cleaning curtains is a household chore that can be easily overlooked or even avoided because it seems like such a hassle. However, it is necessary to keep your curtains as clean as possible to avoid overexposure to dust and allergens, particularly if anyone in your home suffers from allergies. Regular cleaning will also keep your curtains looking new rather than dingy and ruined. Here are a few easy ways to clean curtains of any size or material.

1. Vacuum

The easiest way to clean curtains is to vacuum them while they are still hanging. Do this regularly to preempt a buildup of dust and dirt that can be caused by ceiling fans, leaks from windows, or just occur naturally.

The best way to do this is with the soft brush attachment on your vacuum. Avoid any fringes or cords that will be ruined if caught in the vacuum. Avoid too much pull with the vacuum so the curtain does not fall from the rod.

2. Steam Clean

Curtains in a living room.

For more thorough home cleaning, you can use a hot water steamer. These types of cleaners are now widely available for home use and are not that expensive. Use this while the curtains are hanging with gentle strokes.

3. Dry Clean

It is possible to use dry cleaning solvents in your steam cleaner and clean the curtains at home. However, for dry cleaning, it is recommended that you take them into a local professional. This is imperative for those curtains that suggest dry cleaning only, so as not to ruin the fabric.

4. Shake Out

For a quick clean, you can simply shake the curtains out, either while they are still hanging or when removed from the rods. To avoid contaminating all the other surfaces of your home, detach the curtains and shake them outside. Do not use this technique if the curtains are very dusty or have not been cleaned for a while.

5. Lint Brush

Blue and white curtains.

Use this technique for curtains that are made of velvet-like materials. This can be done regularly and is simple and quick. This is very easy for heavy curtains that are not easily maneuvered or taken down.

6. Remove Odors

To simply remove odors, use the new sprays widely available at any store. There are several brands of fabric freshener available in a variety of different scents. This will give the curtains a quick clean and the spray will make the rest of the room smell pleasant as well. This is a great method for pet owners or smokers.

7. Fabric Softener

Another quick cleaning technique is to use a fabric softener dryer sheet. Simply rub it along the curtain in the same way you would the lint roller brush. The added bonus is that it will leave a pleasant scent lingering on the curtain.

Special Considerations

For curtains that are fragile or difficult to take down, try using methods that do not require removal from the curtain rod. If necessary, call a professional to remove the curtains or have them professionally cleaned while still hanging.