How to Clean and Maintain Your Curtains, Blinds and Awnings
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Published by TOP4 Team
Aside from letting gorgeous sunlight into your home, allowing you to feel the cool breeze, and letting you see the bright day outside, your windows also accomplish none more thing: They serve as decorative focal points in your property because they can be dressed up with all kinds of treatments!
Whether you're the romantic type who adores thick, layered drapes that can be dramatically swept to one side to let the light in, or a laid-back free spirit who prefers only the lightest, near-transparent white curtains to drift like fairy wings over the window, or a no-nonsense corporate force who gets plenty of work done in the home office, or a homemaker who's busy as a bee making sure that the windows look as good from the outside as they do inside with the help of carefully chosen awnings, there's no question that these different window treatments add personality and charm to what are supposedly the "eyes" of your home.
But of course, as with every other item that can be found inside a house, window treatments can become dirty and less attractive when left unchecked for extended periods. You don't have to dread the time you will need to spend cleaning them out, though — with the right cleaning supplies and a little DIY effort, you can get your curtains, blinds and awnings back to their immaculate, shiny or vibrantly coloured best. Just follow the simple tips provided below.
Clean, crisp curtains
- For curtains made of light fabrics like silk or cotton, a gentle shake every now and then to loosen dust and prevent them from stubbornly clinging to the material will suffice. This is also helpful when curtains require dry cleaning and you may not have the time or the money to take them to the cleaners every time — just shake as much dust off as you can, run the vacuum through the curtain, and then use a cloth steamer to kill germs and give the curtains a fresh look.
- If you need to clean the curtains without taking them down, a lint brush will work well for removing dust; just finish off with a vacuum cleaner. And if you stand close to the curtain, take a good sniff, and find that it could use a nice little scent, you can use a spray freshener on the curtains.
- Cotton curtains can be washed on a weekly basis, as long as you use the gentle cycle on your washing machine and hang the curtains out to dry under direct sunlight. Take note, however, that more vividly coloured curtains may fare better if you hang them under half shade so that the colours won't fade. Take the curtains back inside the house as soon as they're dry.
- One of the most common tools for cleaning blinds is a lamb’s wool duster (these work better than plastic dusters). Vacuum cleaners are also effective for cleaning blinds, as they come with a brush attachment. Take care to run the duster or vacuum cleaner across the slats, beginning from the top, and brush downward only (going up will unhook the slats).
- A dry rubber sponge can also work well to remove dust and residue from vinyl and fabric blinds.
- Wooden blinds can be cleaned with a moist cloth, but do not soak the wood.
- If you need to spot treat stains, use an all-purpose cleaner sprayed onto a clean, dry cloth for wiping the soiled area — never spray the cleaner directly onto the blinds.
- Metal and vinyl blinds will require a different cleaning method. Take the blinds out of your house to your yard and lay them down on a small carpet or rug. In a bucket of water, add a few drops of dishwashing soap and dip a car-washing brush into the solution. Brush the blinds from left to right on each side, and then rinse the soap off with a garden hose as you hold the blinds in a tilting position to let the suds run off. Run your fingers or a clean cloth over the slats once or twice to prevent water spots from forming, then drape the blinds over a fence or wall to dry.
- 1. Because awnings are designed to be stretched out on a frame and provide shade and protection to a doorway, window, deck or storefront, you can expect them to become dirty easily because they are exposed to the elements. You need to be diligent about removing leaves, twigs or branches, bird droppings and other debris immediately as they can stain the fabric or cause it to stretch.
- 2. It's best to keep things like tree branches, palm fronds or advertising banners, flags or posters from coming into constant contact with your awning as the friction can leave stains or cause rips and abrasions on the fabric. Keep the area around the awning clear of obstructions.
- 3. Make it a habit to clean and rinse the awning three to four times a year so that any dirt and stains will not remain on the fabric and become impossible to remove later on. Also, if you find rips and holes in the fabric, have them repaired right away to keep them from getting worse.
- 4. If there is any repair or renovation work being done higher up in your property, cover up your awning or take it down so that no paint or debris can drop or spill onto the fabric.