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Cleaning Your Drapes

One of the most neglected areas in the home when it comes to cleaning are your drapes or draperies. Cleaning your drapes sometimes isn't on our mind, yet the drapes collect an immense amount of dust, even though they are hanging up vertically. By cleaning them periodically, you'll also preserve their life. It's important to clean your shades and blinds too, but especially important to clean fabrics.

And you already have in your home the necessary tools and ingredients to accomplish the task of cleaning your draperies. You'll need a brush (look at your vacuum's attachments for one), a few rags and some dishwashing liquid.

  • Carefully tug on your drapes to open the pleats or smooth out the folds.
  • Vacuum each panel using a low setting on your vacuum.
  • If your fabrics are delicate or loosely woven, hold the attachment an inch away from the fabric to avoid pulling on the fabric.
  • Dust and dirt accummulate mostly at the foot and the hem, so concentrate on those areas the most.
  • If you have smudges left by passing pets, put a bit of baby powder on a toothbrush and gently brush the spot.
  • Powder helps to lift the spot while protecting the fabric.
  • Don't use water on linen, silk or wool.
  • Water is usually ok for cotton, canvas or treated fabrics.
  • Before using water, check the tags on the drapes.
  • Vacuum shades, then submerge in a bathtub with cool water and two capfuls of Woolite or dishwashing liquid. Don't submerge any metal parts.
  • After 5-10 minutes of gently agitating the water, drain the tub and refill with clean water.
  • Move shade around in water to rinse it.
  • Blot excess water with colorfast towel or paper towels.
  • Hang the shade fully extended on the shower rod with clothespins so it can air dry.

Since most of the dirt we see in our homes is tracked in dirt and soil and dust, it is usually removable without hiring professionals. Vacuum your carpets and rugs regularly. But also remember to vacuum your drapes once a month, in addition to your pillows, and upholstery.

Quick Links for This Issue

Cleaning Your Upholstery
Cleaning Your Rugs
Cleaning Your Lamp Shades
Cleaning Your Mattresses
Cleaning Your Wood Blinds
Cleaning Your Refrigerator
Cleaning Your Oven
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Barbara Jennings is author of 10 decorating books: Decor Secrets Revealed, Rearrange It, Home Staging for Profit, Home Staging for Yourself, Arrange Your Stuff, Advanced Redesign, Pro Art Consulting, Wall Groupings: The Art of Arranging Art and Photos, The Art of Hanging Art, Great Parties! Great Homes!

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