Window curtain is often ignored as being part of the furniture decoration in the house when in actual fact it is the discreet interior design trendsetter and the main protector against the heat. With the possible exorbitant money spent on curtain fabric to be installed, it is therefore just as money worth to take care.
Whether you are using pinch pleat a.k.a. French pleated curtains, draperies or window treatments, the color will fade through heat and direct sunlight and material starts to erode from its original form because of dirt and dust if care is not taken into your household chore. It does not matter whether your curtains are lined or unlined or lightweight, these factors compound can destroy the fabric over time. And you may end up buying another set of curtains for all your windows. Think of the cost factor involved.
Most people do dread the cleaning because of the weight of the fabric and the displacement of the curtains from the rails. But stop short of worrying the need to launder them all the time. Instead, what you can do is gently shake your curtains every evening and then vacuum your curtains every week to keep the dirt from penetrating into the curtains. If you are a very busy person, take time out from your schedule and make the effort to commit once a month. A handheld vacuum cleaner will be able to do the job which is more convenient than your household vacuum cleaner with telescopic tubes. Attach the machine with a soft brush attachment which can absorb the dirt well.
Start the cleaning from the top, where dust are mostly accumulated, and work your way down to clean up the dirt that dropped from the top. This also saves you from cleaning the curtains over and over again.
When the time comes for laundering, check your curtain label. If it is washable, you are safe to do your own laundering. You can either hand wash for small curtains or machine wash using the short, gentle cycle with the just right load. Cool water and mild detergent will do fine in the washing. Cotton or linen curtains may require weekly maintenance though. After the final rinse, dry the curtains either line-dry, tumble dry or in the sun. But if your curtains are colored, it is better to hang them in a half sun and half shade laundry place.
If the label reads dry clean or not washable, get professional help. But professional help should still be sought when the fabric is faded and weakened by sunlight, embellishments and trims are not colorfast, drapes are pleated, the lining and drapes are different fibers or only one is washable, they are too large or bulky to fit properly into your washing machine.
Keep the curtains back once they are dried. If necessary, touch up with your iron but press on the reverse side to preserve the color on the front.
If you think you cannot keep up with the chore, then choose fabrics which are light and easy to clean. If you do not want your curtains to be filled with pungent smell, then avoid bringing the pungent smell like smoking or varnishes near the curtains. To maintain freshness, you can use freshener minus the harsh chemicals.