How To Clean Blinds And Curtains

Layer your windows with a functional yet stylish mix of roller blinds and curtains

Are your window furnishings looking a little drab, and now you're wondering how to clean curtains and blinds without breaking the bank by hiring professionals? Not surprisingly, your curtains and blinds need regular cleaning and maintenance to keep them in great shape. But luckily, this doesn't have to be a difficult process! There are lots of simple tricks to help your curtains and blinds look their best, as well as a range of products and services to help with maintenance over time.

At Spotlight, we provide a fantastic range of ready-made curtains and blinds to our customers, as well as a made-to-measure service if you need custom-fitted window furnishings for your space. Keeping your curtains and blinds clean will not only help them look their best, but will also extend their lifespan and save you money on expensive cleaning treatments or even replacement furnishings.

Let's go through the best ways to keep all the most popular kinds of curtains and blinds clean!

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How To Clean Curtains

Including curtains in your normal cleaning routine will help you keep on top of things with minimal cost or effort. Just like you vacuum your floors, wash your bed linen and wipe down your bathroom, so too should curtain cleaning with a vacuum or duster become part of your weekly cleaning pattern. When it comes to a big wash, consistent dusting will mean your curtains only need a deep clean once a year! Read on to learn how to clean curtains of all kinds of materials and styles.

How to clean sheer curtains

Sheer curtains are fairly durable despite their fragile appearance, but care still needs to be taken when deciding how to clean sheer curtains to avoid any damage.

To remove dust from sheer curtains, giving them a good shake is the simplest way to quickly freshen them up. If you have a delicate attachment for a handheld vacuum you can also give them a light vacuum, but avoid powerful suction or rough vacuum heads that may tear your sheer curtains.

You can spot clean sheer curtains using water and white vinegar - simply dab at the stain, alternating between water and white vinegar, until the stain has lifted.

Have you let your sheer curtains become a little dirty and are wondering how to clean sheer curtains by washing? The method you use to wash your sheer curtains will depend on what kind of material they are made from.

  • Linen or silk blend sheer curtains should only be hand washed, as they are too delicate for a washing machine. Fill a large tub with warm water and a mild cleaning agent, then immerse your sheer curtains in the mixture. Agitate the curtains slightly and then leave to soak for around 10 minutes - why not clean your windows and wipe down your windowsills while you wait?

Remove the curtains and then immerse in clean water and rinse to remove all the detergent. Gently wring out, then lay down a large clean towel and place your curtains down flat on top. Roll the curtain up in the towel and let it sit for a few minutes and absorb the water. Then unroll, shake out and hang up on a line to dry. Hang them up in the same way they would be hung on your window, as this will help them dry into the correct shape.

  • Polyester sheer curtains are more durable and can be washed in your machine on a delicate or gentle setting. Make sure your curtains have plenty of room in your machine to move - it should only be half full, to make sure every bit of your curtains can be thoroughly washed during the cycle. Remove any hooks or fasteners before putting your curtains into your washing machine. Set your machine to a delicate cycle with cool water, and run a couple of rinse cycles to make sure all traces of your detergent are completely gone. Do not tumble dry - instead, use the towel method from above to remove excess water, then line dry to get them into the perfect shape.

How to clean blackout curtains

High-quality blackout curtains are a great tool for increasing your length and quality of sleep and can come in a range of colours and patterns. Because they are made from a thick material (Necessary to keep out the sun), they are a little tougher than sheer curtains, making them easier to clean in some ways. Learning how to clean blackout curtains properly is a must if you want them to last!

Regular vacuuming of blackout curtains is important, as their textured surface is like a magnet for dust and hair. Remove your blackout curtains from the rack, give them a shake outdoors and then lay them flat and vacuum using a brush attachment. Don't press too hard when you vacuum!

Quality blockout curtains will have a rubber or acrylic coating on them that helps keep light from penetrating the curtain, but this coating also makes them a little tricky to clean - you need to be careful you don't damage this coating, otherwise your blackout curtains won't be able to do their job anymore.

To spot clean blockout curtains, find a cleaning solution made for use on coated fabrics and follow the instructions on the bottle to find out how much you need to dilute it. Gently blot at the stain to remove it with a clean cloth - gently is key, as pushing too hard into the curtain may damage the coating. Once the stain has been lifted, use a different, dampened clean cloth to remove any excess cleaning solution. Let your curtains dry before hanging up again.

Depending on the manufacturer, your blackout curtains may need to be dry cleaned instead of machine washed - check the label to make sure yours are being cleaned correctly!

  • To machine wash your blackout curtains, remove any detachable extras and place them in a suitable wash bag. Set your machine to a gentle cycle using cool or cold water, as warm or hot water can damage the coating. Add a detergent suitable for coated fabrics or at least a very gentle one, then let your machine do its job. When done, don't let your blackout curtains be dried in a dryer, as, again, high heat can damage the coating. Instead, line dry in the shade until all moisture has evaporated.
  • To dry clean your blackout curtains, take them to a professional and ask for a gentle clean that won't damage the acrylic lining - your dry cleaner will know what to do! They should be ready to hang up straight away when you get them back.

How to clean thermal curtains

Thermal curtains, much like blackout curtains, come with a rubber backing - but this backing is designed purely for temperature control, rather than light or sound management. The degree to which you can safely wash your thermal curtain will depend on the state of the backing - an intact thermal curtain may be able to be cleaned in a washing machine, whereas a thermal curtain with a peeling backing should be hand washed.

As with blackout curtains, thermal curtains should be vacuumed using a brush attachment every week or so to keep them fresh. They can also be spot-cleaned with a solution designed for use on coated fabrics. Spot cleaning is as far as you should go if the lining of your thermal curtains is in particularly poor shape!

  • To hand wash thermal curtains, fill a tub with cool water and dissolve a gentle detergent in it before immersing your thermal curtains in the solution. Agitate them with your hands to help the solution penetrate the fabric, then leave it to soak for up to an hour. Make sure you don't scrub or mash the thermal lining into itself, as this can cause it to stick. Rinse your thermal curtain with clean water until all the detergent is gone, then line dry in the shade until finished.
  • To wash thermal curtains in a washing machine, it is essential to check the label on your curtains to make sure they are safe to wash. Trying to wash thermal curtains in a machine when they aren't suitable can lead to the thermal lining sticking to itself and creating a big, clumpy mess in your machine. If it is safe, then set your machine to a cool cycle with gentle detergent - make sure the detergent is one that will dissolve fully, as you don't want any remaining on your curtains. Let your machine go through its wash cycle, but stop the cycle before any spinning. Instead, remove the thermal curtains, rinse them with clean water and hang them in the shade to finish.

How to clean velvet curtains

Velvet curtains are a luxurious choice for any space, but their thickness, fuzzy texture and elegant drape mean they'll attract a lot of dust and hair. Many velvet curtains are dry-clean only, so make sure to check the label on your curtains before attempting to do any cleaning on your own!

Brushing or vacuuming them with a fabric attachment will help keep them looking fluffy and clean, but make sure you only work in the direction of the grain, so as not to damage any of the fibres.

  • If you wish to spot clean or machine wash your velvet curtains, do a quick test to see if they are colourfast. Take a damp, clean white towel and blot a small, inconspicuous area of the curtain with the corner of the towel. If any colour comes away, your velvet curtains are not colourfast and they will need to be dry cleaned.

If they pass the colourfast test, you can use a damp cloth with warm water and a little grease-fighting dish soap to spot-clean velvet curtains, then use a clean, dry towel to dab away as much moisture as possible.

  • If you think it's safe to machine wash your velvet curtains, choose a gentle or delicate cycle with cold water and a small amount of detergent. Avoid a spin dry or tumble dry cycle, and instead line dry your velvet curtains in the shade. Once dry, give your velvet curtains a brush over in the direction of the pile to restore fluffiness, and use a garment steamer to get rid of any wrinkles (Never iron velvet curtains!).

How to clean lace curtains

Lace curtains are more for show than privacy, but will definitely become a highlight of any space they are installed in. Because of the many details and gaps in the lace, they tend to accumulate a fair bit of dust, meaning they'll need to be consistently cleaned in order to keep looking good!

A lace curtain can easily be damaged with a vacuum, so get rid of dust by gently shaking your curtain or by going over it with a soft duster. Lace curtains also benefit from a bit of fresh air blowing through them, so open a window on a warm breezy day and Mother Nature might do some of your dusting for you!

If you need to wash your lace curtains, being gentle in every way is key - small rips in lace curtains will stand out like a sore thumb, no matter where they are.

  • Hand wash lace curtains in a bucket of warm, water with a mild detergent. You can agitate the curtain with your hands to clean it, but avoid vigorous scrubbing in case the lace tears. Rinse with clean water and line dry to finish.
  • Lace curtains must be placed into a laundry delicates bag for washing to prevent any of them from becoming caught on the inside of your laundry drum. You should also detach any extra fastenings or hooks before washing for the same reason. As always, choose a delicate cycle with mild detergent and avoid a drying cycle - instead, line-dry your lace curtains in the shade.

While it is always safe to line dry any kind of curtain in the shade, white curtains may actually benefit from some sunlight, as it will bleach them to a sharper and cleaner colour. Unfortunately, this cannot be done with thermal or blackout curtains, as the heat of the sun can damage the acrylic lining. Keep these curtains in the shade, and use the sun for white linen, cotton and polyester curtains only.

Semi-sheer curtains work well in the living room to provide some privacy and soft lighting

How To Clean Blinds

Like your curtains, indoor blinds work hard everyday and, every now and then, they need some TLC. It's a small price to pay to keep your home both stylish and hygienic!

Choosing how to clean blinds will depend on construction or material, rather than the actual style of the blind. For example, a fabric vertical blind would be cleaned in much the same way as a fabric horizontal blind. Nevertheless, we've broken down all the most popular types of blinds and how best to clean them here for your convenience. Skip to your own variation of blinds, or read each one to learn how to clean blinds of all types!

How to clean Roman blinds

These elegant blinds are made of fabric and have multiple large folds when not in use, meaning plenty of little gaps for dust to accumulate. The best way to dust Roman blinds is to fully extend them and work your way from top to bottom with a duster or microfibre cloth, focusing on folds and ridges where dust may have built up. You should also dust along the bottom, as dust can gather there as well.

If you need to remove a stain or some mould, you'll need to start using some wet ingredients.

  • If the stain is fresh and not oil-based, blot at it with a clean cloth and cool water until the stain has lifted - don't scrub, as this will push the stain even further into your Roman blinds. Use a little liquid detergent if you need to. If the stain is oil-based, you'll need to use a specialist stain remover to blot with instead.
  • If there is mould on your Roman blinds, create a solution of ¼ vinegar and ¾ water, combine in a spray bottle and then remove the blinds from your window and lay them flat on a solid surface. Spray a fine layer of vinegar water over the mouldy areas and leave for a few minutes - longer depending on the severity of the mould. Then lift the vinegar solution using a cloth and clean water. Allow them to dry completely before hanging them back up, and avoid getting them wet or humid in the future to prevent the mould from returning.
  • You can machine wash your Roman blinds using a delicate cycle, avoiding the spin cycle and line drying in the end. But it's best to avoid cleaning them this way if possible because if your Roman blind shrinks or warps in the wash, you won't be able to hang them back up. Instead, use a steamer on a low temperature to quickly go across your blinds to avoid overheating any single spot.

How to clean Venetian blinds

Multiple slats, multiple sides… cleaning Venetian blinds can be a real chore! While they look wonderfully modern and stylish, Venetian blinds accumulate dust and dirt very quickly due to their vertical design and multiple surfaces.

Any kind of Venetian blind will benefit from a quick dusting once a week - you can use a small feather duster that can fit between the slates or a microfibre cloth to remove dust and dirt from both the top and underside of each slat. If you have the right attachment, you can use a vacuum accessory to remove dust and dirt from your Venetian blinds as well - you can do this without taking them down from your window!

If you'd like to wash your Venetian blinds, how you do so will depend on what material they are made out of.

  • Wooden Venetian blinds are usually finished with an oil coat to keep them shiny and prevent the wood from drying out, but this also means dust can stick to it, and things like fingerprints will really show up on the slats. Use a damp microfibre cloth to wipe down the wooden slats, using the damp side for dirt or other stains that need to be wiped off, and the dry side for dust. Make sure your microfibre cloth is very soft, as scrubbing with a dirty or non-microfibre cloth can leave scratch marks on your wooden blinds.
  • Aluminium Venetian blinds can be wiped down with a wet cloth and soapy water. But, thanks to the waterproof nature of this material, you can also soak your blinds in the bath or sink if that's easier for you. Add dishwashing detergent to the mix and your blinds will come clean in no time. Just make sure to dry them properly before rehanging.
  • Fabric-covered Venetian blinds can be given a dust or vacuum using an upholstery attachment, just like your curtains, to keep grime to a minimum. You can spot-clean individual stains or patches with a dry sponge (Also known as a rubber sponge) with mild detergent and warm water. If your blinds get badly stained or the build-up becomes too much, pay a visit to the dry cleaner.

How to clean roller blinds

Unlike other kinds of blinds, roller blinds are one long piece of material that you can roll and unroll to change the light levels in your space. Having one piece of material to clean may sound easier, but these blinds can actually be quite tricky to clean!

You can give your roller blinds a good clean without even taking them down. Unroll them fully, and use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to vacuum from top to bottom on your blind, moving from left to right as you work your way down.

  • If you need to give them a more thorough clean, mix some mild detergent into a bowl of warm water and wipe your blind down from top to bottom with a clean cloth. If your roller blinds are made from fabric, leave them down to air dry completely. If your roller blinds are made from vinyl, you can then use a dry towel to remove excess water before rolling them back up. In both variations, it's vital to make sure your blinds are completely dry before rolling them up again, as rolling up wet blinds will cause mould to grow in the rolled layers.
  • If your roller blinds need a deep clean, remove them from your window and take off any extra gears or chains, which you can wash separately in a sink. Fill a bathtub with warm water mixed with a mild detergent and immerse your blinds in the solution. Use a brush to scrub at any stains that you need removed, then drain the water and rinse your blinds with clean water. Air dry outdoors until all moisture has evaporated before bringing your blinds back inside and hanging them up again.
  • If you have any mould on your roller blinds, target it with a mixture of vinegar and water before deep cleaning using the steps above. This should kill off the mould without damaging or discolouring your blinds.

How to clean vertical blinds

Because of the way they hang, vertical blinds are the kind of blind that accumulates the least amount of dust - so less cleaning for us, hooray! But yes, even the most cleverly designed blinds still need the occasional cleaning, and vertical blinds are no exception.

You can use a vacuum with a brush attachment or a damp cloth to remove dust from each slat of your vertical blinds from top to bottom, but make sure you are cleaning each side as you go.

Wondering how to wash vertical blinds? If your vertical blinds are made from metal, any stains or marks can be removed by spot cleaning with water, mild soap and a sponge. Vertical blinds made of fabric can be washed in warm water (keep it lukewarm, as hot water can melt the glue used in many vertical blinds) using a mild detergent. Dry them by lying them flat on a towel - hanging them to dry can cause them to stretch out of shape!

How to clean panel blinds

Similar to vertical blinds, panel blinds are large pieces of cloth hanging vertically on a sliding rack. They provide large amounts of cover, but can also be adjusted to let in more light and increase your view of the outdoors.

The easiest way to keep panel blinds clean is to give them a quick dusting every week, making sure to clean both sides of each panel.

If your panel blinds have a small stain, you can spot-clean them using a mild detergent and some warm water to dab the stain away. Make sure to remove any excess soap when you're finished!

Window Furnishing Cleaning Tips And Tricks

Here are some extra tips and tricks to keep in mind when cleaning your curtains and blinds:

  • Fresh air will help keep dust from settling on your curtains and blinds, as well as keep your fabric window furnishings from smelling musty. Make sure to open windows when you can to extend the life of your curtains and blinds between dustings!
  • During colder months it's important to wipe down your window sills. This is because moisture will form on the inside of the glass due to the difference in temperature, causing the perfect breeding ground for mould and even bacteria - which can then make the leap onto your curtains and blinds!
  • Don't forget the rails! While they may be hidden most of the time, make sure you dust the rail or track of your window furnishings - after all, why put clean curtains or blinds back on a dirty track? If you use water to clean, make sure you dry it afterwards so a metal track or pole doesn't rust.
  • A good general rule for how to clean mould off curtains and blinds is to use either a mixture of vinegar and water, or lemon juice and water. Be aware that lemon juice can bleach or stain fabric if it's left on for too long, so be mindful about how long you leave your mould-killing solution on your curtains. Use the material your window furnishings are made of when deciding which mixture to use for how to clean mould off blinds or curtains.
Use a venetian blind cleaner tool to make your blind care and maintenance easy

Explore Curtains And Blinds At Spotlight

Now that you know how to maintain your curtains and blinds, why not grab a new set from Spotlight? You can explore our range of curtains and blinds online, where you can safely pay and have your window furnishings home delivered. Alternatively, visit your nearest Spotlight store and our friendly team will take you through the amazing range of curtains and blinds in person!

Make sure to check out our other buying guides on measuring your windows, hanging curtains and which types of blinds and curtains are the best for each room. And for amazing ideas and inspiration, read our blogs on layering curtains, styling sheers and why you need blockout curtains this summer!



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