A clean home is a safe and comfortable home, whether you rent or own it. But having a clean home does not come all by itself. It is necessary to ensure the cleanliness and hygiene of your home by regular cleaning.
One often overlooked part of the home when it comes to cleaning are the curtains and blinds that drape over your windows. Allergens and various potentially disease-causing bacteria may reside on the surface of your curtains or blinds, posing an environmental health risk.
Clean and wash your blinds and curtains regularly, especially at the beginning of each season, or every time you do “spring cleaning” of your home. By washing them at least four times a year, you won’t have to exert too much effort the next time. Your windows will also be ready for whatever holiday decorations you put up and look amazing at all seasons.
Some window coverings should be cleaned more frequently, depending on how likely they are to gather dust, dirt and stains. If you live on a busy street, have animals, or if you or your loved ones suffer from allergies, you should definitely clean them more often to reduce the number of allergens and harmful germs in your home. This will help decrease the number of illnesses that your family experience throughout the year.
How to Clean Your Curtains and Blinds
Follow these five general cleaning steps to keep your curtains in top condition:
- Remove all hooks and curtain weights, and loosen the heading tape. Let down the hem if the fabric is shrinkable. Shake the curtains to remove dust.
- Wash the curtains carefully in cold water, according to the type of fabric. If hand-washing, make sure the detergent is thoroughly dissolved before immersing the curtains. Do not rub or wring; just agitate gently.
- Rinse thoroughly. Squeeze out as much water as possible, or use a short washing machine spin. If machine-washing, use a program for delicates.
- Hang the curtains while slightly damp so they drop to the right length and leave them to dry. Iron lightly, and only if necessary while the curtains are still damp. Work lengthways, on the wrong side, stretching the fabric gently to stop the seams puckering.
- Clean off the dust from curtain tracks, windows and sills before putting the curtains back.
Every fabric and length needs to be handled differently. Pay attention to these before washing and ironing your curtains:
- Check the curtain label to know the right treatment for washing and ironing your curtains. Some type of curtains (e.g. shell curtains) may only be hand washed or dry cleaned.
- When hand washing curtains, use a mild laundry detergent. And make sure to wear rubber gloves if you have sensitive or damaged skin.
- To be extra sure, try spot testing a small corner of your curtains with a mix of water and a small amount of liquid laundry detergent or liquid dish soap.
- When ironing, you should add a thin white towel, tee shirt or a blanket in between the curtains and the iron.
- If your curtains are large and heavy, you may want to get them dry cleaned professionally. Do a little research and ask around before you take them to an establishment.
Weekly Maintenance of Curtains and Blinds
No matter how dirty and dusty your curtains and blinds get, it would be too much work to wash them or have them cleaned every week. You can, however, get a lot of the dirt and dust off the surface by dusting or vacuuming them every week as part of your general household cleaning.
Use a feather duster, static duster, dusting cloths, a damp cloth, or a dusting attachment that fits onto your vacuum cleaner to clean your curtains and blinds.
Follow these steps to keep your curtains in good shape between seasonal, deep cleanings:
- Before cleaning a room, shake the curtains to dislodge dust. Wait 10 minutes for the dust to settle before dusting your furniture and vacuuming the floor.
- Once a month, use the dust brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner to clean both sides of your curtains, from top to bottom. Focus on the hems, folds, and top of curtains as those are the areas where the majority of dust accumulates.
- Do NOT use the upholstery attachment since its teeth may snag the fabric of your curtains.
- If vacuuming isn’t an option, you can also remove dust from curtains by running them through the dryer on a “no heat” setting for a good 10 minutes. Rehang your curtains promptly afterward to prevent wrinkles.
Remove dust from your blinds effectively with these tips:
- When vacuuming your blinds, do not force the brushes in as you can end up accidentally breaking your blinds. Instead, use specialized attachments, such as the aforementioned dust brush.
- If your blinds are especially dirty and the vacuum cleaner is not doing the job, wipe down your blinds with a vinegar solution made of one part vinegar and three parts warm water. Dip a rag in the mixture and wipe the blinds to loosen debris. Allow blinds to air dry and then run your vacuum cleaner to remove any remaining dust.
- For honeycomb blinds, use a hairdryer to blow dust from the inside of the combs. Place the hair dryer on its coolest setting and cover the other end of the blind so that the dust does not disperse and counteract your cleaning efforts.
Remember to give your curtains a good airing every so often so they don’t smell bad. Take them down off the rail and hang them in the breeze for an hour or two to freshen them up. Try to reduce the absorption of smoke by keeping the kitchen door closed and smoking outside.