Fabric Window Treatments- Cleaning & Maintenance
“Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.” – George Bernard Shaw
Though there is so much of truth and wisdom in the words of George Bernard Shaw, we agree that it is tough cleaning to do. In comparison, the real window cleaning is a child’s play. Fabric window treatments today, manufactured with innovative technology are almost maintenance free. It is only when they are completely ignored that dust and dirt can slowly pile on, leading to respiratory problems or allergies. A little bit of dusting or vacuuming now and then should prevent this.
Window covering fabrics are quite different from the regular ones you throw into the washing machine. These special fabrics are not just made to increase the aesthetic value of an interior decor but also to serve a specific purpose. Made to diffuse light, insulate rooms against sound and temperature, these durable fabrics need special care, more so than regular fabrics. Check the instructions before cleaning the fabric window coverings. Window covering materials come with special cleaning and maintenance instructions that need to be followed strictly.
You have a broad range of fabrics, patterns and color choices with drapery to choose from to coordinate with and complement any decor in your room. Do not forget to dust them when they are completely drawn to shake loose the dirt lodged in the fibers. Use only low suction vacuum with soft brush attachment to clean your drapery fabrics. Run the vacuum brush up and down the folds, where dust particles usually lodge in. Also, give the hems an extra brush.
Take care to see that drape accessories like trims, gimps, laces do not have loose ends that may get sucked in during vacuuming. They also accumulate a lot of dust. Pay particular attention to them.
Some drapes and curtains are washable whereas others are to be dry-cleaned. Drapery with hand wash instructions should never be put through a machine wash. The instruction is there for a purpose. Use mild detergent and cool water to keep the colors safe. It is preferred to set your wash and dryer options to gentle. Check out if your drapery fits into your washing machine without overloading it. Do not forget to rinse the fabric thoroughly, since the residue of detergent can damage the fabric when exposed to sunlight. Once done, iron them on the reverse side if required.
Spot cleaning is not recommended for drapery fabrics, with few exceptions. Remember that dry cleaning of drapery is quite different from dry cleaning regular clothes. Professional cleaners are recommended for more thorough and safe cleaning of pinch pleated draperies. Your warranty will not cover up any damage caused by washing your drapery without following the instructions.
Shades and Blinds.
Cleaning fabric window shades or blinds can be a daunting task, especially if they are pleated or made of cellular fabrics. Luckily, a lot of non-woven shade/blind fabrics are specially treated to repel dust and dirt, which makes the maintenance easier on the consumer. All you need to do is occasional feather dusting or light vacuuming to keep the shade and blinds fabrics clean and sparkling.
Cellular/Honeycomb Shades Cleaning
Cellular fabrics may require ultra-sonic cleaning, but this is not recommended for pleated cellular shades.Blot stains with a damp sponge or washcloth dipped in a solution of warm water and mild detergent. Just to be sure, do a pre-check on the unobtrusive corner of the shade. Wipe the stains gently without scrubbing the surface. Rinse thoroughly and allow the shade to dry by letting it down completely. Remember to remove any loose dust or dirt with a vacuum cleaner before spot cleaning.
You can also use an aerosol spray foam upholstery or fabric cleaners like Woolite or Scotchgard for fingerprints or spots. Just spray the foam over the area requiring cleaning. Dab the spot with a clean sponge or cloth. Take care to run it parallel to pleats in pleated shades. Once the spot has vanished, pat it dry with a towel to remove extra water. Allow it to dry in the open air. No matter the care you take, frequent cleaning will eventually remove the fullness and body of pleated fabrics. Dusting them regularly is the right way to keep them clean and durable.
If sheer fabrics have steam pressed pleats, be careful not to iron them out after a wash. Most of the sheer shade fabrics can be washed and dried in regular washing machines in the gentle mode. Avoid strong detergents or chlorine-based bleach. Hang the sheers on the louvers and keep them in the open position until completely dry.
Microban cleans your window covering fabrics continuously, inhibiting stains caused due to mildew, mold or bacteria. It also prevents odors. Once infused into a fabric, its protection will last for the life of the window coverings.
Though contemporary window covering materials require minimal cleaning due to their anti-static and dust repellent properties, they eventually need to be cleaned. Here are some points to remember when cleaning:
- Be regular with your dusting
- Occasionally vacuum your window covering with the upholstery attachment
- Remember to dust from top to bottom
- Avoid strong cleaners and disinfectants
- Do not use products containing Quaternary ammonia compounds and phenol
- Instructions cannot be sidelined because your warranty does not cover improper cleaning
- Do not scrub hard
- Rinse and dry thoroughly
- Avoid solvents or abrasive cleaners which could damage the fabric coating
- Check the cleanliness of sponge and cloth before using it for spot cleaning
- Wash stains and spots immediately
- Avoid chemical cleaners to prevent discoloration of fabrics
- Do not use electro-static wipes