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Cleaning Curtains: Kitchen, Chinz, Lace & Ecru

Updated on February 18, 2012
Chintz curtains are patterned curtains.
Chintz curtains are patterned curtains. | Source
Lace curtains come in many colors, including ecru.
Lace curtains come in many colors, including ecru. | Source

Curtains do more than just block out light and give privacy. They add house appeal and can make a room attractive and provide a focal point. Depending on the fabric of the curtains, they can be washed by hand, washed my machine, or taken to the cleaners. Here are some guidelines for home washing different curtains.

Curtains enable privacy in the kitchen, but if the window is next to the cooking area or sink area, grease or dirt build up can occur. To remove grease build up on curtains, pre-soak in ammonia first. Fill a large tub of water with about a tablespoon of ammonia to help remove all the grease or oil that has built up. Presoaking in the ammonia water will also help to remove odors. Then proceed as directed for cleaning, such as hand washing or machine washing.

Chintz style curtains are generally those with lots of colors, heavily patterned, or floral. Sometimes all that is needed is dusting. If cleaning is required, you can spot clean while they are still hung on the rod, but if the walls or flooring cannot have water spots, remove from the rods and wash. To spot clean Chintz curtains, dip a large sponge in warm, soapy water and lightly rub to remove any spots. Rinse with a clean sponge.

Lace curtains are beautiful and delicate, and often you can find old lace curtains in a flea market. They can be hand washed, or put inside a zippered pillowcase or mesh bag with a closure and washed by machine. All lace curtains should be air dried to prevent damage from the dryer.

For ecru and off-white curtains, the danger of washing them by machine or by hand is that the washing will make them whiter or lighter. Add a cup of very strong coffee or tea to the washing and rinsing water to help keep the darker color.

If there is a care label with the curtains, always follow that first, as a method may be better to prevent damage. Old curtains that have been passed down, or antique curtains purchased at a flea market, can be very fragile in both the seams and the fabric. It is best to take the time and carefully wash them to ensure long life, and continued beauty for the home.

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