Unilever logo
Cleanipedia AU logo

Curtain Cleaning Methods & Products: A Handy Guide

Once you know the right way to go about cleaning curtains, it’s so easy! Here are some easy tips for cleaning curtains and washing curtains.


Listen here

Curtains can absorb various smells from around the home, like smoke and cooking aromas. This can make them discoloured and smelling less-than-fresh. Light coloured curtains will show up these stains even more.

Knowing how to clean curtains, and how to wash curtains, can save you plenty of time. Steam cleaning will require special products, and there are several different curtain cleaning methods and products you can choose from. Here’s a quick guide to what’s available.

If you’re hand-washing curtains, you should use a mild laundry detergent. You can find good quality brands like Omo Sensitive Liquid, but no matter which one you choose, make sure you wear rubber gloves if your skin is sensitive.

Option 1: Cleaning Curtains in the Washing Machine

You might be able to simply put your curtains in the washing machine, but it depends what material they’re made from:

  1. Use your machine’s delicate cycle if it has one; otherwise use the cool wash with a slow spin.

  2. Add your normal laundry detergent.

  3. If you’re worried about shrinkage, it’s probably best to hand wash them instead.

When to clean curtains using the washing machine: It’s best to only use this option on lightweight curtains instead of heavy materials which will hold the water. Some materials, like delicate cottons, can shrink in hot water, so make sure you check the label on your curtains before you throw them in the wash.

Option 2: Hand Washing Curtains

Cleaning curtains by hand is often a safer option:

  1. You can use normal laundry detergent, or a soap that’s made especially for washing delicates. A gentle soap will avoid damage to the material.

  2. Check your laundry product’s instructions for hand washing. Some of them will require different concentrations.

When to hand wash curtains: It’s a bit more of a chore to hand wash in comparison to putting them into the machine, but it’s the safer option to avoid damage or shrinkage in delicate materials like 100% cotton. Heavy materials can be difficult to hand wash, because it isn’t easy to remove all of the water, which increases the drying time.

Option 3: Steam Cleaning Curtains

A good quality steam cleaner with an upholstery attachment can be a very convenient way to clean your curtains.

  1. Always start at the top and work your way down.

  2. Hold it further away from the curtain if it’s getting wet.

  3. Before you use a steam cleaner, make sure you check the manufacturer’s instructions. Also, wear appropriate clothing because the steam can potentially burn you.

When to use a steam cleaner on your curtains: If your curtains are made from a heavy fabric, steam cleaning is usually the best option as they can be difficult to take down from the rail.

Check out this step-by-step video guide to learn how to keep your curtains fresh:

how to wash white clothes

What’s the Best Way to Dry Curtains After Cleaning?

It can be tempting to put your curtains in the dryer, but the tumbling motion can create stubborn creases. The easiest way to dry curtains is to hang them outside, out of direct sunlight and in a breezy spot. When curtains dry naturally, creases will fall out naturally and a quick iron afterwards will have them looking great.

How Can I Make it Easier to Clean the Curtains?

Just by following a few simple rules, you can reduce the need to constantly clean household materials like curtains.

  • Reduce the absorption of smells. Keep the kitchen door closed when you’re cooking and limit smoking to outdoor areas.

  • Vacuum your curtains regularly. Use the soft brush attachment, and you’ll get rid of everyday dust and dirt that can get ground into them.

  • Bad smell still recurring? Give the curtains a good airing. By bringing them off the rail and outside in the breeze for a couple of hours, you’ll freshen them up.

And there you have it! A brighter home inside and out thanks to clean, fresh curtains.

  • Regular maintenance: Try to make vacuuming your curtains part of your normal cleaning routine. Remove dust and dirt with the soft brush attachment.

  • Lightweight curtains: These can be put straight into your washing machine.

  • Curtains made from delicate materials: You should hand wash these to reduce the risk of shrinking.

  • Curtains made from heavy fabric: These should be steam cleaned to avoid a long drying time.

Originally published