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Do Curtains Need Washing & Just How Often?

woman putting curtains in washing machine

Keep Your Curtains & Window Dressings Looking Like New

Okay, I’ll admit it, I’ve never washed my curtains.

There, I’ve said it!

I’m sure I’m not alone, the idea of pulling down curtains, washing them, getting them dry & then hanging them back up again .. there’s better things to do.

But the reality is, like any investment you make in your home furnishings, be it a sofa, your rugs or carpet, regular cleaning means they’ll look better for longer.

Just how often should curtains be washed? Curtains may need washing as little as once every year or 2, or as often as every 3 months. But a general guideline is that curtains should be washed at least once a year.

As well as different styles of curtains & various materials they’re made from, the environment they’re in will also dictate how often they need cleaning.

If you're not an avid curtain washer type like me, regular dusting & a quick vacuum as part of your regular house cleaning routine will stop the build up of dust.

But there is a necessity for regular curtain cleaning, no matter how much we try to avoid it!

But They Look Clean To Me!

Don’t let the appearance of your curtains lull you into a false sense of security!


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They may look clean, but they are wonderful at harbouring dust mites ( ergh! ) & mould & mildew can also take up residence.

They can also just get really dusty, which you don’t realize until you give them a good shake.

They're good at trapping odours too.

Cooking smells & other day to day aromas means your home may not be as fresh as you’d like.

Even pet hair can start to accumulate, which you may not notice if the cat's favourite sleeping spot is on the window sill behind the curtains.

cat hiding in  curtains

Do All Curtain Fabrics Require The Same Cleaning?

There’s various styles of curtains, from sheer to heavier drapes.

Yes, curtains & drapes aren’t the same thing.

If you’d like to know more about the difference between these styles of window dressings, feel free to check out this article.

Sheer curtains, sometimes called net or privacy curtains, are generally made from polyester or cotton or a blend of both.

Uncoated fabrics, which make up the majority of curtains sold, are also largely made from a polyester/cotton blend.

You can usually machine wash these yourself.

Also known as blackout curtains, drapes & lined curtains can be fused with a rubber backing.

These generally need dry cleaning.

But whichever type of curtains you have, make sure to read any manufacturer's instructions first.

There can be more involved than simply throwing them in the washing machine.

If you’re still unsure, ask a local dry cleaners or professional cleaning company for advice.

It’s not that different fabrics require more or less regular cleaning, it’s more about the environment the curtains are in & the various dirt & pollutants they’re exposed to.

Looking for new curtains? Perhaps you're wanting to replace your old window dressings. Casagear have a range of curtains & window dressings as well as a huge variety of furniture & home décor.

shop for curtains

A Handy Guide For Determining When To Clean Your Curtains

woman vacuuming curtains

Depending on where you live, your house may be subjected to different elements.

Another consideration is if you or a family member suffer from allergies.

So here's a handy guideline recommending how often you should be washing your curtains.

1. Average Living Conditions

For most typical suburban homes, once a year & perhaps even as infrequent as every 2 to 3 years may be all that’s needed.

2. Dusty Areas

Windy & dusty environments.

You may have construction going on in the area or have high traffic volume past your house.

It’s recommended twice a year, but at least once.

3. Coastal Areas

A similar frequency is advised.

We all know the impact salty air can have on window frames.

This can affect curtains too, so twice a year is best.

4. Internal Wood Burners

I love wood burners & open fireplaces & am lucky to have an old, but working, Metters stove in my place.

But no matter how well they function, there’s still some amount of smoke that will permeate the house.

Every 12 months should be fine, but twice a year if you feel it’s necessary.

5. Smokers

Curtains are great at harbouring cigarette & tobacco smells.

Also, over time, they can start to turn yellow due to the nicotine.

It’s best to clean the curtains every 6 weeks to 2 months.

Maybe this is good motivation for quitting!

6. Allergies

As already mentioned, curtains can harbour mites, mildew & other irritants.

So if there’s people living in the house with allergies, washing the curtains every 3 to 6 months is a good time frame.

Remember, if you have valances or pelmets, to give them a quick clean also.

Final Thoughts

Washing curtains for most of us isn’t a task we look upon with glee.

But for most of us, the frequency we need to clean our curtains isn’t really that big of a deal.

Sometimes a job can seem more overwhelming in our minds than it actually is.

Instead of washing your curtains all at once, maybe just schedule a room one at a time to spread the load.

Well, I’m all fired up now .. I think I may go wash some curtains!

I hope you’ve found value in this article & please don’t be shy in sharing, I’m always grateful.


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