How to Wash Cotton Curtains
How to Wash Cotton Curtains
The following is some basic information you need to understand before you begin. There are some inherent risk with washing your curtains and it is important to understand that washing your curtains may cause irreversible damage.
- · Curtains often are damaged by sun light. Either directly or indirectly. Often this damage is undetectable on white curtains.
- · Signs of sun damage are: color fading, yellowing, fibers feeling dry, weak-brittle to the touch. Gently pull on the curtain in an hidden area to test the strength of the material.
- · Up to 3% shrinkage is acceptable within the industry as standard shrinkage when washing textiles. On a curtain of 100 inches that’s 3 inches of shrinkage.
- · Cotton Linen will be extremely wrinkled when washed, especially if washed and extracted in a washing machine.
- · Best to use the washer as a tub and turn the machine on and off manually to control the amount of agitation and extraction.
- · Excess agitation and high speed extraction will cause shrinkage and wrinkles. Minimal agitation and extraction may not removal residuals (soap, dirt, water).
- · Best to iron the curtain while it is 80-90% dry (little damp) after washing. Spraying water on the curtain after it has dried does not work as well because the water is not as even as after washing.
- · Must iron slowly. This will take quite a bit of time for each curtain.
- · Be aware that this will be a time and effort consuming process.
Products need for project:
- · Small bucket
- · Several large bath towels
- · Laundry detergent
- · Non chlorine bleach (OxiClean, OxoBright, Borax)
- · Aluminum foil
- · Optional: Can spray starch with ironing aid
- · Washing machine or bathtub
- · Shower rod or place to hang dry
- · Water
- · Patience
- · Cover the rings with aluminum foil.
- · Use a large piece of aluminum foil (approx 24″ long).
- · Softly crinkle the aluminum foil into a loose ball.
- · Open the balled aluminum foil back into a sheet.
- · Fold the aluminum foil into a square approximately three times the size of the ring.
- · Loosely wrap the aluminum foil around the ring. Tight enough so it will not fall off but loose enough to allow the crinkles to cushion the rings from damage in the washer.
To remove the aged yellow stains, we will soak the curtain in a non chlorine bleach (OxiClean, OxoBright, Borax) solution for several hours (3-4) to eliminate the stain. On color a curtain check for colorfastness before soaking. Soaking curtains in a non chlorine bleach solution for an extended period (24 + hours) may cause color damage and weaken the material. Due to the size it is best to clean the curtains one at a time.
- · Create a soaking solution for the washing machine.
- · Using a bucket fill approximately 1/2 of the bucket with hot water.
- · Add approximately 1 oz of non chlorine bleach and 1 oz of laundry detergent to 3 gallons of water needed to soak the curtain in the washing machine. Top load home machines will use approximately 15 gallons of water, front load home machines will use approximately 5 gallons of water.
- · Mix the content in the bucket to dissolve ingredients.
- · On color drapes, test for colorfastness.
- · Using the solution you created, apply a small amount on to a white towel. Use that part of the towel to blot a hidden area of the curtain. Any color transfer onto the towel will indicate the amount of color lost or transfer during washing.
- · Don’t mistaken dirt transfer as color lost. Most curtains are extremely dusty and dirty. When blotting with a white towel the dust and dirt will transfer over as a brownish yellow color.
- · Place a curtain into the washer.
- · Set the washing machine on the most delicate cycle on the machine (delicate, hand wash, or turn on/off manually).
- · Start washer and begin to fill with cold water.
- · Add the pre made soaking solution from step 2 into the washer.
- · After the machine has filled with water, allow it to mix for 1 minute.
- · Stop or turn off the machine without draining the solution.
- · Allow the curtain to soak for 3-4 hours.
- · Check stained area before continuing.
- · If the stain has not completely dissipated, continue to soak the curtain. The amount of time will depend on the amount the stain has dissipated and the amount of time you have already soaked the curtain.
Cleaning and Rinse:
- · Start the washing machine and let it run for 2 minutes to work the dust and dirt out of the fibers.
- · Drain the soaking solution.
- · Extract for 15 seconds on as slow of a speed as possible to rid the soaking solution. High extraction for a long period of time will cause excess wrinkles.
- · Fill the washer with clean fresh rinse water.
- · Let the machine agitate for 2 minutes on as delicate of a cycle as possible.
- · Drain the rinse water.
- · Extract for 15 seconds.
- · Fill the washing machine again to rinse a second time.
- · Repeat the entire rinse process again for a total of 3 rinses.
- · Lay the towels flat on the floor in the shape of the curtain.
- · Lay the curtain on the towels. If the curtain is larger than the towels, fold the curtain in half or quarters. Keep in mind the more you fold the curtain the more fold lines you will create.
- · Roll the curtain up in the towels as smooth and tight as possible.
- · Squeeze as much water as you can out of the drape.
- · Unroll the towel.
- · Hang the curtain up by the rings on the curtain rod or hang over a clean shower rod in the bathroom.
- · Try to prevent any water from running down the curtain. This often will cause streak marks.
- · Remove the aluminum foil from the rings.
- · Dry the area around the rings with a towel or hair dryer to keep the rings from creating rust marks.
- · Optional: While wet, evenly spray the curtain with a spray starch with an ironing aid to help with ironing ease. Depending on the amount of spray starch used, this may cause the curtain to become slightly stiff and/or unevenly stiff.
- · Check the curtain periodically for moisture content.
- · With approximately 10-20% of moisture remaining in the curtain is the perfect time to iron them. DO NOT allow the curtain to dry completely. It is much more difficult to remove the wrinkle after they have dried.
- · If the curtain starts to feel stiff as it dries, put the curtain in the dryer and tumble it for 10-15 minutes without any heat (cold air only).
- · Take the curtain down and slowly iron the curtain dry. Use an iron with a hot setting (cotton or linen).
- · Re hang the curtain.
- · Your Finished! Congratulation, now repeat all steps with the remaining curtains.
Pacific Heights Cleaners in San Francisco and Sausalito is your
resource for garment cleaning and garment care information.
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