You can freshen up those dry-clean-only drapes and curtains in lieu of a professional cleaning without resorting to chemicals or special equipment. Keep them looking and smelling their best between trips to the dry cleaner by removing pet hair, dust, and slight odors with items you may already have around the house. If your drapes are extremely delicate, handle them with care or allow a professional to do the work.
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Regular Dust Deterrence
Frequent dusting will help keep your drapes in top shape. It also helps keep the rest of the room cleaner as a breeze or even simply opening and closing the drapes may free dust that has been trapped in the fabric, sending it throughout the room if they haven't been cleaned recently.
Use an upholstery-brush attachment on a vacuum cleaner set to a gentle suction level to avoid creasing or damaging delicate panels. If your regular vacuum cleaner is too powerful, swap it for a rechargeable hand-held vacuum with less power and dust once a week for optimal results. Close the drapes completely when dusting, working from top to bottom and pulling each panel taut as you vacuum it to remove dust from folds and creases. Use a duster or vacuum the window-facing side of the panels as well.
If your drapes suddenly look as if they're made of fur, it's time for a pet-hair removal treatment. Wipe the drapes down with a sticky-paper lint roller to lift off fur, along with some dust and stray fibers.
If you don't have a lint roller, wrap clear tape around your hand, sticky-side out, to give the drapes a speedy spot treatment. Wear a rubber glove and wipe your hand down the length of each drape, starting at the top, to roll the fur onto itself for easier removal. Apply pressure to the back of the fabric with your free hand to make the process more manageable.
Fresh air works wonders to help remove stale odors from draperies. Carry each panel carefully outdoors and shake it out. If the drapes are delicate, enlist a friend or two to hold the other end of the material to give it a gentle, rather than violent, shake. Hang the drapes over a clothesline, stretching them taut to prevent wrinkles. Air them out for several hours on a nonhumid, cloudy day.
If you don't have a clothesline, a screened or covered porch is an ideal place to air out the drapes, as they'll be safely out of the elements while still receiving plenty of fresh air. You can hang a makeshift clothesline between plant hooks on a porch to air out your drapes.
Fluffing and Freshening
Place drapes that are not easily wrinkled in the dryer for 10 minutes on a no-heat or fluff setting. Remove and immediately hang the drapes up; otherwise, they may become wrinkled. If the drape panels are thick or large, avoid overcrowding by placing them in the dryer one at a time. This gives the fabric more room to move, air out, and freshen up.