Be Cautious When Cleaning Curtains

Some say that you should clean your curtains every six months, but our professional cleaning experts advise that you should leave them alone. Curtains can be extremely tricky to clean due to the range of fabric types and finishes, the decorative touches that can be extremely difficult to recreate once cleaned and the danger of ‘shrinkage’.

Check the instructions

If you absolutely have to clean your curtains, make sure that you check the manufacturers instructions to find out how you should clean them. Don’t just assume that your curtains are machine washable as this could seriously damage the material, leaving them unusable.

It’s always a good idea to save the original packaging that your curtains arrived in or to check the best way to clean your curtains with the manufacturer when your purchase them.

Dry Cleaning

Most curtains are ‘dry-clean only’, but there is still the danger that they could shrink during the cleaning process.

Believe it or not, dry cleaners have an acceptable level of ‘shrinkage’. This is between 3-4% of the material, so don’t be too alarmed if they are returned to you slightly smaller than before.

Dry cleaning can also cause the finish on your curtains to be removed, so they may not look the same or sit as well once you hang them back up.


Some fabrics shrink at a different rate, so if the lining of your curtains is a different material to the rest, you may need to clean each layer separately and then re-sew the layers back together.

Shrinking is the main issue when it comes to cleaning curtains as the fabric is often never the same again once it has been cleaned.

Machine washable

If your curtains are machine washable, carefully follow the manufacturers instructions and leave to air dry where possible. Leave a bit of moisture in them when you iron them as you will achieve better results on slightly damp curtains.

Basic Cleaning

Remember to loosen the gathers if your curtains are pleated at the top before you wash them as huge amounts of dust can accumulate.

It’s also worth checking your curtains for stains and other signs of wear, such as mildew, which is often found on curtains that sit on a damp window sill or patio door.


Although you may think that your curtains need washing thoroughly, we recommend using your vacuum cleaner to remove any surface dust or dirt. This will brighten the curtains and remove any dirt that has built up over time.

If you have attachments for your vacuum, use a small nozzle or a soft brush to gently clean the curtains whilst they are hanging. Pay special attention to the top as this is where dust tends to gather.

If you do need to clean your curtains, we advise contacting your local ServiceMaster Clean here, who will be able to clean your curtains professionally.  For more information about curtain cleaning, click here.