by Julie Finch-Scally
For years I have been writing and telling people with heavy drapes or curtains, especially those with an insulated backing, to have them dry cleaned.
Oh yes, they should be regularly vacuumed, but for those every couple of year occasions when the dust needs to be removed from the folds across the top, I have always advised the curtains be taken down and cleaned by the dry cleaners. I have now realised the error of my ways.
Last week I was trying to find out who made our curtains and climbed up to read a label sewn into the edge of one of the curtains. On reading the label I was struck by the large print that said DO NOT DRYCLEAN.
On further reading, the label explained that the curtains should be regularly vacuumed with the upholstery attachment but that was it. I must confess I was surprised but then I remembered how insulation backing used to be attached to heavy curtains.
It is only in recent years that insulated curtains have been made with rubberized material. Prior to that it was two curtains joined together by clipping the backing onto the main drapes. This allowed for the complete removal of the insulation curtain so the main drapes could be washed or dry cleaned. As most drapes contain too much material to fit into a domestic washing machine dry cleaning was the only option.
Now, or course, the insulated material is sewn in at the top with the main drapes where the curtains are folded into pleats. The curtains hang as one from the same hooks. They don’t seem as heavy as the older version of insulated backed curtains and are now easier to glide along the pelmet.
But that doesn’t solve the problem of what to do with the newer drapes now they should not be dry cleaned. Regularly vacuuming to remove the dust will help preserve the material but what happens if something gets splashed onto the drape. According to the label most of these curtains have been specially treated with a protection, so sponging off the offending matter with cold water and allowing to dry while still hanging is the answer.
Most of us rarely take down our heavy curtains, so maybe this is a better solution. But curtains in rooms hardly used collect dust therefore one must remember to regularly take the vacuum with the upholstery attachment and clean them. Start at the top and drag the upholstery attachment down to the bottom. Repeat this process until the whole curtain has been vacuumed and dust removed.
As curtains harbour dust, keeping them dust free helps control the dust in the room. I recommend vacuuming them once every six months.