Sheer curtains create a breezy, flowy look with lightweight panels that billow in the wind and let in ample sunlight. Low-maintenance polyester keeps your sheers durable and looking great since it resists shrinking, wrinkles, and stretching. However, it can discolor over time, so your once white window curtains may start to look brown or yellow. Restoring the original white color takes thorough cleaning to remove the built-up dirt and stains that develop.
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What Causes Sheer Curtain Discoloration?
All window curtains collect dust, pet dander, pollen, and other air pollutants, which can build up on the surface. Sheer curtains are often more susceptible since they have a looser weave than opaque curtains. You might not notice the buildup at first until it makes the white sheers look yellowish or brownish. Stains add to the discoloration of your sheers. Regular cleaning helps cut down on debris buildup to keep your curtains looking white or to restore the white color.
Vacuum the Sheer Curtain Panels
Before you wet your sheer polyester curtains, dust or vacuum them to remove the loose dirt and debris. When the dust gets wet, it can be more difficult to remove. If you use a vacuum, put a brush attachment on the hose to get rid of the dust gently. Start at the top and work toward the floor so any loose dust falls down to areas you haven't cleaned yet.
Hand or Machine Wash
Read the care label on your sheer polyester curtains before choosing how to wash them, as they can be machine washable, dry clean only, or hand wash only. Even if your sheers are machine washable, washing them by hand is a gentler curtain cleaning process that can help them last longer, especially if they have embroidered or appliqued embellishments. If you machine wash them, use a gentle cycle with cold water to cut down on the wear. Using a mesh washing bag can also help protect the sheers in the washing machine. It's best to skip bleach, which can damage or weaken the polyester curtains and make them deteriorate quicker.
For handwashing sheer curtains, fill a tub or large bucket with warm water and a few drops of dish soap to create a mild cleaning solution. Place the sheers in the water and swish the water around gently to loosen the dirt and debris on the polyester fabric. Leave the curtains in the water for five to 10 minutes before rinsing them until any traces of soap come out of them.
Gently wring out some of the excess water from the curtains, being careful not to stretch or pull the fabric. Lay the curtain panel on a thick sheet or large towel and gently roll up the towel with the curtain in it to soak up more water. You want the curtains to be mostly dry before you hang them back on the curtain rod. Hanging up the curtains when they're still slightly damp helps them dry without wrinkles.
Spot Clean the Stains
If your polyester sheers don't look white because of stains, address those areas with spot cleaning. General curtain cleaning might get rid of minor staining, but others might need additional spot cleaning. This is also an alternative for addressing the trouble spots if you don't want to wash the entire curtain. You can leave the sheers on the curtain rod while you spot clean them.
Use a gentle cleansing solution of warm water and dish soap, or you can use equal parts of white vinegar and water for a cleaning solution. Test the solution on a hidden area first to make sure it doesn't discolor it. Use a soft cloth or sponge and dab the spot with the solution. Avoid scrubbing the fabric, which can cause damage. Continue blotting until the stain lifts from the polyester.