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Home Maintenance And Repair - 01500217

Cleaning Sheer Curtains

Note: When selecting sheer curtain fabrics, crease resistant fibers or finishes will look best after washing.

1. Remove from windows, only the number of curtains you can launder at one time. Handle gently so as not to create wrinkles or creases unnecessarily. With a pencil or ball-point pen, make a very light dot on inside of heading pleat where hook is inserted so you will know where to insert the hook after laundering, so all will be of uniform placement. (The heading fabric may be damp when hooks are replaced. Fabric may be weaker when damp. Prompt replacement of hooks means less opportunity to wrinkle fabrics.)

2. Fill washing machine with cool to lukewarm water. Add a non-precipitating water conditioner and dissolve it in water. (Of particular help if sheer fabrics are excessively soiled.)

3. Add curtains to washing machine water. Never overload. Plan to use about a half-load in full-load washer of water. Press curtains down into water. Turn washer on gentle for about 2 minutes. Allow to soak about 5 minutes. Move washer dial to 'rinse'. Let water containing loose dust drain away. (Very delicate curtains can be put in a net-mesh laundry bag for washing.)

4. Reset washer dial to refill with cool or lukewarm water. Dissolve detergent in pan of warm water before adding to washer full of water and curtains. This eliminates lumps of detergent sticking to fabric.

5. Run washer about 2 to 3 minutes on 'gentle'. Turn dial to 'drain'. Turn dial to 'rinse'. Do not leave washing machine to run cycle by itself for fear curtains might tangle and tear.

6. Be sure last rinse is of cold water.

7. There will be less wrinkles if fabric softener is used in last rinse--but be sure softener is diluted in several quarts of water before adding to washer.

8. Remove curtains from washer. Place sheer curtains in drier with 2 or 3 small dry hand towels. Turn dryer to 'cool air' or 'permanent press' cycle for 2 to 3 minutes. The dry towels will absorb water droplets clinging to curtains, rather than drying the fabric. Remove from dryer (still damp) and spread flat on floor, or sofa, table, etc., while you fasten curtain hooks in one curtain. Using a stepladder place hooks in place on the rod, preferably stretched or closed. Finger-press hems, untwisting corner weights, or beebee string in lower hem. Proceed to place hooks in next curtain. Allow to dry completely hanging at windows. If hems need ironing, move ironing board in front of window and iron hems after curtains are hung.

9. For rod-pocket sheers that slip over a curtain rod, put a piece of scotch tape over the ends of the rods first to keep any rough edges from snagging the curtains.

10. Fiberglass curtains should never be washed in washer, or dried in dryer as glass fragments break off. Do not use chlorine bleach. Soak in lukewarm mild suds in large tub. Wear rubber gloves to gently swish around. Do not twist or wring. Drain suds and rinse in clear water. Hang to air dry. Rinse tub thoroughly to remove all glass fibers. Handle gently.


This article was written by Anne Field, Extension Specialist, Emeritus.

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