Curtains make the home look cosy and well-put, not to mention their practical side of keeping out the light and giving you some privacy. However, they could be the source of many health problems as curtains accumulate a lot of dust and debris. To help you take proper care of your curtain upholstery, our London expеrts have created this simple and easy to understand guide. Here you will learn how to clean the different styles of curtains, what to do with non-fabric ones and how to avoid the most common washing mistakes. In addition, if you decide that you need to hire a professional company, we will give you some tips on how to pick the right one and what to expect in terms of prices.

1. How to Clean Different Curtain Fabrics?

There is almost no difference between curtain and upholstery fabrics. In general, the same synthetic, natural and semi-synthetic fibres and their respective blends are used for the manufacturing of both textiles. Luckily we have composed a detailed guide on how to properly clean the different upholstery fabrics. There you can also compare the materials and pick the one that is most suitable for your needs.

2. What Are the Different Curtain Styles?

Depending on how your curtains are being hanged, different cleaning methods can be used. There are several ways of attaching your drapes:

  • Pleated Curtains – the fabric is folded in different ways and is sawn onto a sturdy piece of cloth. With the use of strings and small plastic hooks, the currents are attached to the railing.
  • Eyelet/Grommet Curtains – Metal rings are sawed onto the curtains, creating multiple holes where the rod goes through.
  • Rod-Pocket Curtains – The curtains are made with a long pocket at the top where the rod is slipped.
  • Tab-Top Curtains – With this style, the rod goes through fabric loops made from the same upholstery as the curtains.

types of different curtain styles

There are many variations of these styles that can bring a unique feeling to your home.
However, when it comes to washing your curtains some questions can emerge. So let’s check each type of attachment and its cleaning requirements.

3. How to Clean Each Curtain Style?

Each style has its own cleaning requirements and you need to familiarise yourself with the basic ones.

3.1 How to Clean Pleated Curtains?

This is the easiest style to clean. However, you might need to do some ironing if you decide to machine wash them.

  • Vacuum the curtains with the appropriate attachment.
  • Inspect them for stains.
  • Spot-clean the smudges with lukewarm water and a detergent

If the cleaning code indicates the fabric can be machine laundered, you can also pop them in the washer. However, keep in mind that hanging damp curtains can cause mould to appear. Your best solution is to get your curtains professionally steam cleaned. The procedure is done on-spot and is not time-consuming.
Disclaimer: Do not use a dryer, as the high temperature can damage the fabric.

3.2 How to Clean Eyelet or Grommet Curtains?

The problem with this style of drapes and curtains comes from the metal loops, as they can leak rust, lose their shine and get scratched and damaged in the washing machine. A good solution is to get them dry cleaned. Professionals use specialised detergents, that won’t harm the metal coating and will remove the outer layer of dust. If you are determined to wash your drapes at home, follow these instructions:

  • Vacuum the curtains to remove the small particles.
  • Carefully take them down.
  • Place your drapes in a cotton laundry bag before putting them in the washing machine.
  • Use the lowest temperature setting to avoid shrinkage.

3.3 How to Clean Rod-Pocket and Tab-Top Curtains?

These two styles are the easiest to clean, as you don’t have any additional accessories like plastic hooks or metal hoops. Depending on the manufacturers’ instructions, you can pop them in the washing machine or steam clean them on-spot. Rod-pocket curtains can be challenging to re-hang. So for this style, our cleaning experts always recommend the latter option.

4. How to Clean More Unusual Curtain Types?

Not all homes are designed the same way, and some property owners choose to decorate with unusual curtains. And altho not made from fabric, these types also have to be properly cleaned to ensure their pristine looks.

4.1 How to Clean Seashell Curtains?

They definitely will bring the beach vibe to your house. However, shells are prone to attract lots of dust. Because of how delicate they are, you can’t vacuum them, and getting them machine-washed is out of the question. So what can you do?

  • Get a microfibre duster, preferably one with a telescopic handle and swipe each shell string.
  • Using a mixture of lukewarm water and dishwashing liquid, gently soap the shells. A soft sponge or a microfibre cloth will do the job.
  • You can use an old toothbrush to lightly scrub the surface if the shells have lots of bumps and creases.
  • Finally, take some paper towels or a clean cotton cloth and wipe dry the shells.
  • Do this at least every month to remove the accumulated dust and small particles.

4.2 How to Clean Beaded Curtains?

The beads can be made from plastic, metal, wood or even crystal and glass. These curtains are extravagant and eye-catching. On top of that, they are surprisingly easy to clean. Using the already mentioned mixture of lukewarm water and dish soap, you can quickly wipe each beaded string. However, keep in mind that the expensive curtains made from specific crystals or wood need to be treated with particular detergents. Consult with the manufacturer’s instructions before you start cleaning.

4.3 How to Clean Bamboo Curtains?

Bamboo is a great material as it is light and antistatic. However, it is very absorbent and can easily suffer water damage. Bamboo curtains shouldn’t be wiped with a damp cloth. Instead, use a microfibre duster and gently remove the small particles. Depending on the type of curtains (or shades) you have, there are different specialised detergents you can use to sanitise the bamboo.

unusual types of curtain styles

5. How to Remove Stains from Your Curtains?

Curtains are usually made from a thin, delicate material, and you need to proceed with caution when cleaning them. Stains can be very resilient, and you need to make sure you don’t damage the fabric while attempting to remove them. We have a very detailed guide that can help you understand the science behind what are different types of stains and how to clean them. There you will find interesting facts and professional tips on how to treat spots for almost everything from rust and paint to tomato sauce and ink.

6. What Curtain Cleaning Mistakes to Avoid?

How can you mess up something so simple, you may ask? Well, people often tend to overlook and skip some important steps. Don’t be a know-all and try to avoid the following:

  • Have no clue about the fabric. You must check the type of curtains you own and research the manufacturers’ guidelines. The cleaning method depends on the material your drapes are made from.
  • One cleaning technique for all. Every material has its own washing requirement. Do not assume that since one method works for the majority of them, you can apply it freely.
  • Using bleach or other strong chemicals. This is a major NO. Curtains are made from delicate fabrics, and you need to stay away from harsh solvents. There are many specialised cleaning products you can use, just ask at your local store.
  • Clean your curtains once a year. To have a healthy home environment, you need to vacuum and dust your drapes every week. The washing can occur during the warmer months, but regardless your curtains need to be cleaned regularly.
  • Never book professional curtain cleaning services. This is the easiest mistake to prevent, especially if you live in a big city like London. Here you can find tons of reputable companies to choose from. Professional cleaners use specialised products and techniques and can significantly prolongate the life of your drapes.

drapes7. What Are Some of the MOST Frequently Asked Questions about Curtain Cleaning?

Curtain cleaning is not an exact science, and many questions can surface along the way. We have gathered the most asked questions by our customers and will address them appropriately.

7.1 How to Clean Curtains while Hanging?

Professionals use specialised machines with telescopic handles, so it’s safe and easy to clean the high spots. If you attempt to clean your curtains yourself, we recommend doing the following:

  • Vacuum your curtains using the lowest airflow setting and the upholstery attachment. You can also use a portable hover, as they are not as powerful as the full-sized ones, and the risk of sucking in and ripping the fabric is smaller.
  • Purchase a hand steam cleaner, as it will be the easiest way. Check our guide on steam cleaning machines to see what are the perks of this type of equipment.
  • You can use a small amount of specialised detergent to wash and deodorise the curtains.
  • Leave them to completely dry on their own.

Disclaimer: Do this during the warm months as you need to leave the window open to air dry the drapes. Washing your curtain upholstery in the cold months can prevent the moisture from evaporating and create the ideal conditions for mould and mildew to develop.

7.2 Can You Machine Wash Curtains That Say Dry Clean Only?

You should always follow the cleaning code of your upholstery. Many fabrics can’t uphold the intensity of the machine wash and can rip. There are other alternatives. The process of professional dry cleaning utilises minimal moisture and is very gentle towards delicate curtains. Not compiling with the manufacturers’ instructions may cost you more than booking a drape cleaning.

7.3 How Do You Clean Curtains That Can’t Be Washed?

Washing is usually done by the curtain owners themselves. Professionals rarely do it if you haven’t explicitly booked a laundry service. Curtains can be dry cleaned using different techniques and solvents depending on the type of fabric. Another way is to steam clean them on the spot. The latter is the preferred cleansing procedure, as it not only removes the dust but also sanitises the upholstery.

7.4 How to Wash Curtains with Metal Hooks?

If the hooks can’t be detached, you need to avoid using a washing machine because they can rip the fabric. You can choose one of two options – steam clean them on the spot or launder them by hand. If you pick the latter solution, keep in mind, you shouldn’t hang your curtains while they are wet. You have to have a place where they can dry off almost completely before you put them up. Overall, our experts recommend booking a curtain steam cleaning service as it will take significantly less time, and you will receive better results.

7.5 Can You Wash Curtains with Eyelets in the Washing Machine?

The answer depends solely on the type of fabric you are dealing with and the manufacturers’ guidelines. You must follow the rules very strictly. If you place delicate upholstery in the washing machine, the fabric around the eyelets can rip, and the metal parts can bounce and damage the inside of your appliance. These types of materials can be washed by hand only. If the upholstery can be laundered, place it in a cotton bag before putting it inside the machine. This will keep the fabric in one place and will restrict the bounce of the eyelets.

7.6 How to Dry Curtains with Grommets?

Regardless of what type your curtains are with hoops, grommets, eyelets, pleats, you must not place them in the dryer. They will shrink, the metal or wood coating of the hanging parts can be destroyed, the hot air can damage the fabric, and the list goes on. After you have washed your curtains, you can let them air dry, and while they are slightly damp, you can iron them to remove the creases.

7.7 How to Wash Curtains with Blackout Lining?

Again it all depends on the manufacturers’ instructions. Some fabrics and materials just can’t be washed. However, if your curtains can be, remember to use the lowest temperature setting. The plastic lining is very sensitive to heat, meaning it can quite literally melt in the washing machine.

7.8 Can You Wash Rubber Backed Curtains in the Washing Machine?

Yes, you can. However, you need to follow some strict rules when putting rubber backed curtains in the washing machine.

  • Use the lowest temperature setting.
  • Put the machine on the most gentle cycle, with no extra spinning.
  • Do not use bleach or more aggressive detergents.
  • Take out the curtains the minute the wash is over because the rubber will stick together.
  • Again, avoid dryers as they can melt your curtains. Instead, airdry them before hanging them up.

8. Professional Cleaning Tips

You can do a couple of things to brighten the colours of your curtains and make the room look fresh and tidy.

  • drapes

    Use lemon juice as a natural whitening agent. Soak your curtains in it. After 30 minutes, rinse them up and squeeze the excess water out.

  • Rely on your steam cleaner if you don’t have time to wash your curtains properly. The hot vapours will disinfect the fabric just as good. However, check if your curtains can handle it, you don’t want to melt your nylon drapes.
  • If you dust and vacuum your curtains regularly, you can wash them once or twice a year.
  • Let them dry over direct sunlight, avoid using dryers.
  • Remember, if your curtains can’t be water-washed, there are other options. A lot of companies offer dry cleaning on the spot.

And if you are uncertain about your cleaning abilities you can always hire professional help. Below you will find some useful information on what to expect and how to pick the right cleaning company.

9. What Is Professional Curtain Cleaning?

Professional curtain cleaning is the process of deep cleansing your drapes from dust, dirt and debris. It is performed with the use of specialised powerful equipment and detergents. It may also include coating the fabric with dust repellent. The method by which the curtains are treated varies depending on the type of fabric and style of hanging. The latter is very important as some drapes have additional metal, plastic or wood elements. Curtain cleaning should not be mistaken with professionally washing your blinds or shades.

10. What Are the Benefits of Professional Curtain Cleaning?

The task of completely cleaning and disinfecting your curtains without the help of professional equipment and specialised detergents is quite difficult. The benefits of having expert help are a lot:

  • Healthy home environment

window drapesCurtains accumulate lots of dust, small particles and even microorganisms. Typically people don’t wash their drapes every week or month, so this kind of upholstery gets very dirty. Professional cleaners know how not only to remove the stains and bad smells but also to make your curtains dust-resistant. This will be immensely beneficial for those who suffer from asthma, allergies or are immunocompromised. Having a clean home environment is one of the most important factors of living well and healthy.

  • Cost-efficient

Most people aren’t aware of the specific requirements different upholstery fabrics have. So more often, they end up ruining their curtains by using the wrong detergents or cleaning methods. Getting your curtains professionally cleaned two times a year will cost less than having to buy our own detergents, wash the upholstery by hand or replace the drapes altogether. On top of that, expert technicians have special solvents that can actually repel dust and dirt and make the fabrics more resilient to tear, wear and light damage.

  • Occupancy is improved

Though this is a benefit that may not seem to be quite obvious, it is a fact that when a service provider gets the rented property cleaned, the occupancy rate of the estate improves. And this is important, since the longer the house stays unoccupied, the more money the owner loses. When the curtains are spotless and smell fresh, they completely change the appearance of the room.

  • Time-saving

This one is simple. Why waste time you can spend with your family or at work to dust, wash and iron your curtains? A professional can do a faster and better job than you, and that is normal. Focus your energy on other, more urgent or pleasant tasks.

  • Assured quality of service and safety

The detergents and equipment you may own can’t match the professional machines and solvents. Some of the detergents, used by the curtain cleaning companies, can’t be bought at a regular store. Therefore, even if you have the time and knowledge, you will still struggle with the task.

11. How to Choose the Perfect Curtain Cleaning Company?

The market is overflowing with various cleaning companies that offer a plethora of different services. It can get quite overwhelming when you first start to search for the right one for you. That is why we present to you the 3P-s. These are the top three factors that you need to address to decide if a company is good for you.

  • curtains in a London homePositive reputation – Read the reviews. Are customers happy with the provided services? Then, check if the company is transparent and displays its certificates and permits. Scammers can often fabricate the reviews posted on their website, so see other resources. Sites like Trustpilot and Yelp are reputable sources of information.
  • Price – Ask for multiple offers and then look at the prices. They need to be around the average number for the industry. If the costs are too high or too low, it is an indicator that something is not right. The sole exception is if you are looking for specific custom cleaning services that involve the usage of exclusive detergents and equipment. One example is if you own expensive designer or vintage curtains and drapes.
  • Possibilities – As we established, different fabrics and materials have particular cleaning needs. Talk with your chosen service providers and make sure they have the needed knowledge and tools to accommodate your needs. There is no point in hiring an agency that can only dry clean your curtains and drapes if they need to be steam cleaned.

12. How Much Does It Cost to Get Your Curtains Professionally Cleaned in the UK?

The final price of the services depends on a couple of things:

  • The material of the curtains – There is a difference in the washing requirements for each kind of upholstery. Some materials are very absorbent and can’t be washed with water. Others can be easily damaged by particular detergents.
  • The type of cleaning method – It determines what kinds of solvents, tools and equipment the technicians will use. Some cleaning processes require larger quantities of cleaning products than others.
  • The length of the curtains – This is one of the major factors when it comes to the final price. The costs of cleaning half and full-length curtains are different.
  • Additional maintenance – If the customer wants, the drapes can be treated with dust repellents or other specialised detergents, that are not included in the standard service.

When talking about the average price of curtain cleaning in the UK, we need to clarify that there are a couple of methods of calculating the final offer.
The first way is “X” amount of pounds per square meter of curtain fabric. This method is primarily used when you dry clean your upholstery. The average price in the UK is around £10 per square metre.

The second way is the more widespread and is by the length of the drapes – full or half. There is a difference in the final cost depending on the cleaning technique used to perform the services. You can see the average prices in the UK in the table below.

Type of curtainsPrice for steam cleaningPrice for dry cleaning
Half-length pair of curtains£22£60
Full-length pair of curtains£35£100

The third way of calculating the price concerns only the cases when you want the technicians to take down your curtains and clean them at another location. In these instances, the cost you need to pay is based on the weight of your drapes. On average, the price is around £4-7 per pound of curtains.

Disclaimer: To receive an adequate offer from the curtain cleaners, you need to provide them with detailed information about the type and length of the fabric. Be as descriptive as possible and inform the agency what you expect of them.

How do you clean your curtains? Did you encounter any difficulties on the way? Tell us about your experience? Our London curtain cleaners can help you choose the right detergents and techniques, or we can just do the work for you.


Stephanie Cooper

Stephanie is a content marketing specialist for Top Cleaners for the past several years. She has extensive experience working with cleaning companies and knows her audience. Stephanie creates engaging and useful content helping the customers of Top Cleaners with their struggles and providing them with the most accurate insight.