How to Steam Curtains

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If your curtains are starting to look a bit wrinkled and dirty, steam cleaning them is a great way to give them a refresh. Steam cleaning is faster than throwing them in the washing machine, running them through the dryer, and then rehanging them only to find wrinkles, causing you to get your steamer out anyway. Unless they're severely soiled, a little steam will work wonders on tired curtains.


Things You'll Need

How to Steam Curtains

Step 1: Do a Spot Test

Performing a spot test takes a little time, so people often skip this step. You do so at your own risk, however. You really don't want to find out the hard way that your curtains don't like steam. A spot test isn't exciting, but doing it can save you a lot of hassle later.


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  1. Fill your steamer with distilled water and turn it on.

  2. Allow the steam cleaner time to heat up. Most models have a light that turns off when the steamer is ready.

  3. Grab a bottom corner on your curtains in a discreet area. Pull the fabric taut and then run your steam cleaner over it. Keep the steam nozzle close to the fabric but not against it unless your steamer manufacturer says otherwise.

  4. Leave the curtain to dry. When it has, inspect it for water stains, discoloration, or other damage. If the steamer damaged the curtain, abort the mission and find another way to clean and dewrinkle your curtains.


Step 2: Steam the Curtains

There are two important things to look out for when steaming your curtains. The first is to keep an eye on your steamer. Sometimes, steamers can't keep up with you during use. If that happens, the steamer light will come on and let you know the unit isn't ready. You'll have to wait a few minutes for your steamer to heat up again before you continue steaming.

It's also important that you tread carefully if you wish to steam the back of the curtains. Many people do only the front of the curtains. If you do the back, you could generate enough heat to damage your paint or wallpaper. Generally, it's a good idea to step back and look at your curtains after you steam the front. Then, proceed to the back only if it's absolutely necessary.


  1. Let your steamer heat up again after your spot test.

  2. Pull a section of the curtain taut and pass the steamer over the curtain in an up-and-down motion. You should never touch the steamer wand to the fabric unless your steamer's user manual says it's acceptable to do so.

  3. Keep steaming one section of the curtain at a time until you have finished it. Although you technically don't have to do so, it's more ergonomic to start at the top of the curtain and work your way down.

  4. Spray a little water on any tough or stubborn wrinkles that you encounter. Don't soak the curtain but dampen it until it's almost wet. Let the water soak for a few minutes to soften the wrinkle and then steam that area again.


Step 3: Let the Curtains Dry

When drying freshly steamed curtains, it's important that you don't kick up a lot of dust. Damp curtains are a magnet for dirt and dust, so leave your window closed while the curtains dry and avoid housecleaning. If you need to dust or vacuum, do so before steaming your curtains.

  1. Turn off your steamer and let it cool. When it has cooled, empty it.

  2. Let your steamer dry out completely and then put it away.

  3. Leave the curtains to dry. Keep them closed while drying them so they don't bunch up on the rod and take longer to dry.




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