Do you have dirty, dusty drapes, but afraid to wash them because you are just not sure how? Well, I want to share how to clean drapes safely, naturally and effectively.
Last week I shared how I am in a “fall cleaning kick” partly due to the fact that a good cleaning is overdue, but also because I am often prompted to do my deepest cleanings in the fall because our seasonal allergies as a family are the worst in the fall.
So I shared my trick on how I clean my vents with a healthy, natural cleaner. Cleaning the vents and air registers is an often overlooked household chore, but it helps our allergies significantly. Who wouldn’t want cleaner, healthier air to breathe, allergies or not?
That brings me to my other “fall cleaning” tasks. I like to wash the blinds, and I have already showed the best way to wash blinds HERE. Don’t forget the ceiling fans and the method I use to dust fans without spreading the dust HERE.
In addition, the drapes are the other trouble spot for collecting dust, bad dust. Sure, when I have my vacuum hose attached, I try to vacuum and dust the drapes with the vacuum hose as often as I can, but the dust seeps into the fibers and can cause quite a sneeze fest over time.
That’s why I wash them once or twice per year.
And that’s why I want to show you how to wash drapes so you can have ease too!
I wanted to share with you what I do to wash my drapes to retain color, but deep clean them safely.
Now I am going to share my method, however, there are thousands of styles of drapes, colors and fabrics, so I would research and be sure that this method will be safe for your drapes before you do it.
But the reason I do this is because it will be safe and gentle, while effectively cleaning, for most situations. However, I just don’t want those fine, expensive drapes to be ruined because I don’t have those to test on, so use caution and smarts with your own drapes. 😉
My drapes are clearance from Walmart and nicer ones given/purchased secondhand from garage sales. I do not have expensive drapes.
The fabrics are:
- 100% Polyester for some of them that say to hand wash only.
- The others are 65% Polyester/35% Rayon and the tag says to dry clean only.
I have used the method below with the mix and washing machine to wash all of these regularly.
I have also used this method on microfibre, darkening shades with a beautiful result as well.
This last week I did this process again, I had washed some cream colored drapes that had massive dirt and food stains on the bottom (like popsicle drippings). They are used on my back sliding door and so kids and little toddler hands are always touching them. It’s probably dumb to have cream colored drapes with six kids, but they were on clearance at Walmart and had the grommet holes I needed to convert my vertical blinds into drapes without having to replace the system, basically a sliding curtain situation instead of vertical blinds (I can share a post on how to convert the vertical blind system to curtains lickety split if you would like!). I didn’t take a picture before because I honestly didn’t think about sharing my recipe for washing drapes until after the fact. But know that these drapes were covered in caked on dry, muddy dirt and food stains, especially at the bottom 3 feet.
In any regard, they were dirtiest, while the other drapes were filled with thick dust. But they all came out beautifully clean and near new looking! And I didn’t have to risk ruining them with detergent, or fading from detergent.
How to Wash Drapes
What I use:
- 1/4 cup Borax
- 1 TBSP Baking Soda
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- optional: a couple of drops of essential oils like purification or Thieves
Borax and baking soda are natural sources used to gently lift stains, inhibit fungi growth and remove odors, but incredibly gentle.
Vinegar is similar in nature as it has the same benefits, but it also helps retain color in fabrics and bring out their natural color intensity. Vinegar also acts as a natural fabric softener, without having to use chemical fabric softeners, thus you are able to avoid the release of the wax that commercial fabric softeners coat on clothing and fabrics.
Essential Oils help to reduce odor, make for a nice smell with chemical free agents and has other natural cleaning benefits that make for a great replacement to other chemical ingredients.
So drapes look, smell and feel brand new without the use of chemicals. If you want further cleaning and therapeutic smells, add essential oils. I like Purification, primarily because I am diffusing this oil often in my home, so why not for my drapes?
Now let me share my actual process with you, because I don’t just simply pull them down and throw them in the washer.
- I will take them down and then take them outside to “shake” the superficial dust off of the drapes. I don’t see a point in throwing them the washer covered in dust. I might as well help the cleaning process along by shaking the dust off first.
- Then I place them in the washer.
- I mix the borax, baking soda and about 2-3 drops of the essential oils together in a small bowl and then dump this into the detergent slot on my washing machine.
- I pour the vinegar in the liquid softener slot on my washing machine (about 1/4 cup, but I just pour until I reach the “fill” line).
- I then wash the drapes on cold, on the gentle cycle.
- For drying, I don’t add dryer sheets or anything additional. I just toss them in the dryer. The settings I use depend on the fabric. I follow the drying instructions on the tag, but most of my drapes are dried on a low temperature setting, just to be safe.
- I then pull them out right away and hang them back up soon so that they don’t get wrinkly.
This method has worked for several years, for several drape types. Again, you really need to research and be sure that you can wash your drapes before attempting this.
How do you wash your drapes?