Natural solutions for taking care of curtains

By properly taking care of your curtains, you can extend their life and keep them looking fresh. Here's where to start: with some natural solutions that are gentle for just about everyone.

Natural solutions for taking care of curtains

Window coverings shield your family from prying eyes, keep the cold out in winter and protect you from the summer's heat. There is a tendency to ignore curtains, but they, like every other item in your house, collect dust, hair and pollution. By maintaining them carefully, you can extend their life and keep them looking fresh. And having fresh curtains means having a clean house!

Washing curtains

No need to take curtains in to the dry cleaner (unless they are specifcally dry clean-only) or buy expensive products, here's how to wash them at home.

  • Soak coloured curtains in salt water to prevent fading and help dissolve dirt.
  • Wash delicate curtains by hand in the bathtub with plenty of hand soap.
  • Protect curtains in the washing machine by putting them in a pillowcase.
  • Always wash curtains using your machine's delicate cycle, with plenty of water to prevent unnecessary wrinkles.
  • Allow hand-washed curtains to drip dry and never wring them out. To ensure that they hang properly, weight the bottom edges with clothespins before hanging them.
  • To prevent shrinking, stretch out cotton curtains while they are still wet.
  • Stiffen curtains with a 1:3 sugar-water solution added to the last rinse or put them in water used for boiling rice.
  • Give your curtains a wonderful fragrance by adding a few drops of perfume or essential oil to the wash cycle.

Dusting curtains

Doing your dusting or vacuuming and walking right by that window? Stop now, because your curtains need dusting too.

  • Dust curtains and drapes regularly with the upholstery nozzle on the vacuum cleaner to ensure they don't have to be washed or cleaned quite so often.
  • Curtains made from synthetic fabrics attract dust. Use cold salt water to dissolve it.

Combat yellowing curtains

If you're dealing with yellowing curtains, don't despair. Try these tricks to whiten them up.

  • Yellowed curtains recover their gleaming white colour even without chemical bleaches when you soak them in a baking soda solution (about 250 millilitres/one cup baking soda in 10 litres/quarts of water) before washing them. You can get the same effect by adding a glass of cola or two to three denture cleansing tablets to the curtains' wash cycle.
  • Salt, the cure-all, also helps with this; simply soak smoke-yellowed curtains overnight in a salt solution (about 550 grams/18 ounces of salt in 10 litres/quarts of water) before washing as usual.
  • If older curtains lose their whiteness, give them an attractive cream colour instead; just add an infusion of linden flower tea to the rinse cycle. The intensity of the colour depends on how long you let the tea steep.
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