Those of you with dry clean only curtains..

SheeshareeIIDecember 13, 2010

(Sorry, don't know if dry clean is "dry clean", "dryclean" or "dry-clean".)

How often do you actually dry clean them? I'm really curious to hear of those with pets.

Would it really screw up the material that bad to throw them in the wash on the handwash or delicate cycle? Silk would probably be a no, but what about other materials? Such as the Pottery Barn Peyton curtains? I think, without looking, they're a linen/cotton blend.

I wash my LR curtains once a year and I still end up taking a lint roller to them often because they're brown and the cats are always up at the window.

I just realized this morning my bedroom curtains (nope haven't been washed) are dry clean only. I'm surprised I bought them. I actually could've sworn they were washable.

I'm still trying to decide on curtains for my bedroom.

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Not sure. I'm one to take a risk with washing dry clean only items, but I carefully washed curtains in a previous home and ruined them. The panels turned out okay but the fancy valance had these pleats that never laid right again. I had to just remove them. I think they had some type of stiffener in them that helped them keep their shape. What about that product sold that allows you to dryclean at home, in the dryer I think?

    Bookmark   December 13, 2010 at 10:34AM
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I have Waverly 100% cotton valences in my laundry room. I machine wash them on gentle, and hang to dry. I decided if they shrunk a little, you could not tell with valences.

I have PB Ella Paisley (discontinued) linen/cotton blend, but have not had them up long enough to clean. I will send them to the cleaners, but every two years will be fine.

One thing I do when I don't want to wash/clean drapes is throw them in the dryer (fluff, not heat) with a dryer sheet. This will take the dust and cobwebs out of them and deodorize them. I will do this when I clean windows.

Shee, honestly, dry-cleaning every 2-3 years is OK in a clean, smoke free home. The dryer trick would help with pet hair.


    Bookmark   December 13, 2010 at 10:52AM
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What exactly do they do when they dry-clean items? Isn't it just chemicals?

I'm also one to take risk with items in the wash but they're usually smaller than a curtain panel.

Joanie, I've never really looked at those dryell packets. I think I remember reading they were for smaller items? I'll have to look into it. Thanks!

Tuesday, Thanks for the tip about fluffing. I'm just trying to decide if I want to go that direction also becaues there isn't a dry cleaner anywhere near me. The whole process of a dry cleaning items just sounds like such a royal pain to me. :(

    Bookmark   December 13, 2010 at 11:03AM
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I put mine in the dryer once or twice a year and vacuum them regularly. I would probably take them to the cleaners every 2 or 3 years if they seemed dirty, otherwise the dryer tends to get out most of the dust (which is my main concern anyway).

I have washed dry clean only curtains before and they shrunk. Wouldn't do that again.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2010 at 11:09AM
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Shee, I live in a small, rural town with no dry cleaning service. We drive at least 45-50 miles to any substantial size town for shopping, etc. I see no problems with dropping my cleaning off and picking up in a few days, or have some of my family pick up or drop off for me as we are used to driving to do anything.

I guess the reason I don't see it as that much of a problem is that I can't wear a lot of wool (accept for a coat) so I don't have a lot that needs to be cleaned. Just a few suits, etc that I can usually wear several times. I do hand wash or machine was on delicate the few wool sweaters that I can wear and flat dry.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2010 at 11:18AM
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Shee, I think you are worrying too much about the dry clean only. If you only wash curtains once a year, it's not going to be a big deal to have them dry cleaned yearly. Do the curtains really get that dirty? All our drapes and even the kitchen valances are dry clean only fabric. HOWEVER, and I do realize it's just the two of us and a pup who doesn't shed, but they never actually seem to get "dirty". Dusty maybe but I don't have to clean them often at all. What I do occasionally is to put the panels (or valance) in the dryer with a DAMP washcloth, hankerchief, etc. and run them on air only. That removes the dust (and I would think pet hair) and they look nice and fresh again.

What kind of curtains did you buy? I missed that! I think the Peyton panels would look great in your bedroom, but then again, I am a fan of linen.


    Bookmark   December 13, 2010 at 11:44AM
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Tuesday, We have to drive far for anything also but the places that I contacted before were closing down. I'll have to look again but I don't know of one even that distance from me.

Dry cleaning doesn't sound like it gets anything actualy "clean" though. The dryer fluff idea and hanging out on the line sounds like a better cleaning option to me. I'll have to find out what dry cleaning really does.

Tina, I didn't buy any new curtains. I was talking about the ones I currently have in the bedroom, they're from BB&B and apparently aren't machine washable. I bought those on a whim when we first moved in because I just HAD to have something on the windows in there.

Thanks for the feedback guys! I was just curious how often people mess with theirs.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2010 at 12:13PM
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I have dry clean only cascades and jabots in three rooms- I vacuum them where they hang when they need it- I have never washed or drycleaned them and they look great.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2010 at 1:04PM
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I equate my dry clean drapes to my fabric covered upholstery, how often do I clean those?
Vacuum every 6 months, if I'm lucky/good. Spot clean as needed, or a damp cloth along the top of the couch.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2010 at 1:04PM
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i have to say, i don't wash or dryclean my drapes either...just vacuum. but, i don't allow our huge, slobbery dog in the rooms where our drapes are either...if she was shaking slobber all over our drapes, i might want to!

fur vacuums off(from our cat and other dog), though the only place i really find much fur is around the bottoms...i guess i'm just not that finicky of a homeowner!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2010 at 2:18PM
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Ah ha. Coop and Busy, I was waiting for someone to say they don't dry clean them. Those were my thoughts.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2010 at 2:31PM
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I have custom made draperies in my dining and music rooms. I would actually have to disassemble them to dry clean them - no way. I do take them down every other year or so, shake them best as I can, hang them out on my clothesline. These do not touch the floor, they hang from right below the ceiling to right below my window trim.

In my family room, I have 12 of the thermal lined Supreme drapes from Penney's. I think you saw them in my Ellen Kennon paint post. Mine are the pinch pleats in chestnut which is a chocolatey color with gold. They have been up for a year with no issues. I did take them down when I painted, they were shaken well and hung out on the line to freshen up. Maybe I am crazy, but I can't see paying to have them dry-cleaned (however it is spelled) every year. I think every 3 years would be fine, if you really wanted to.

I have 3 kids, 2 cats, 2 doxies and my panels show no signs of dirt, stain, discoloring (knock on wood). I love, love, LOVE that hair does not seem to be attracted to or stick to these panels. One of my doxies has white hairs that seem to stick to just about everything, except these. And they do get abused by the animals. My sofas are pulled away from the windows a bit due to floor registers and the animals love to chase each other behind the sofas, so they do meet up with the panels quite a bit. I don't think I'd want a light colored fabric, more for the issues with the kids getting stuff on them more than anything else since this is our most used room.

Wonder how those in the dryer dry-cleaning kits would work. I don't like dry-cleaning much myself due to the chemicals involved.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2010 at 3:38PM
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What exactly do they do when they dry-clean items? Isn't it just chemicals?

Dry cleaning is something of a misnomer. It isn't actually dry. The textile is washed in solvent. Most of the solvent is recovered by very aggressive spinning. The rest is evaporated and recovered by exposing the textile to a stream of warm air. Most dry cleaning solvents result in less shrinkage than cleaning with water, "the universal solvent".

There are several things to keep in mind about dry cleaning. The solvents don't necessarily work well on all water soluble stains. The solvent is reused. If it isn't filtered properly and changed often enough, the textile may not be cleaned or it may come out looking dingy because soil was deposited on it. Lastly, there are questions about the health effect of some of the solvents.

I had some very expensive cotton bedding that was "dry clean" only. It was white and came back looking dingy. I washed it. It was white again, but it shrank. Since it was a custom work, I should have planned for shrinkage on the dust ruffle and just ordered it longer. On the other hand, a really good dry cleaner got wicked coffee stains out of my ivory wool suit!

The main reason I can see for cleaning rather than fluffing the curtains is body oil from the kitties.

One of the problems with washing window treatments is the different rates of shrinkage if there are multiple materials in the item. If you're draperies are unlined, flat and a single color, you might risk washing them in cold water. The textile probably will shrink some. If you puddle the curtains, this may not be a problem.

There used to be a wonderful thing called a curtain stretcher. It's a simple wooden frame with tacks that you can build yourself. You stretch and tack the damp curtains to the stretchers and let them dry.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2010 at 4:20PM
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Shee - Dryel will work with the large items. Instead of putting the large items in the bag that comes with the kit, just buy the replacement cloths (don't bother with the kit), put a couple of Dryel cloths in a mesh laundry bag and run them in the dryer with the curtains for 30 minutes at a low after they're gone and the dryer will get rid of the fur. I do mine once a year. Between times - lint removers for the fur and a good shaking outside for dust.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2010 at 4:40PM
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I have never dry clean our window treatments. Just vaccumed a little more frequently then Mitch only because of cat hair. They love to hide and watch the squirrels and birds behind the drapes on my slider.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2010 at 8:46PM
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I was going to recommend fluffing a cool dryer with a dryer sheet too. Though I don't use standard dryer sheets, I buy liquid softener putting it in a spray bottle and use off colored wash clothes (something that stands out when washing towels and other wash clothes) spraying the clothes with the softener tossing it on top of clothes in the dryer.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2010 at 8:57PM
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Don't wash lined or interlined dry clean items. They will (all layers) react differently to the cleaning and be see them like this at thrift stores all the time.

I like to dry clean an item when dirty but no, not yearly, though I did once choose not to use a curtain maker because she made items that couldn't be cleaned (used glue on trims). Dry cleaning is cleaning and does remove stains and odors that can't be removed otherwise (ie when my friends great Dane chose to mark my roll of fabric). But for drapes, a gorgeous summer day draped over the clothing line with a smack to the backside a few times works wonders (lining side out to avoid fade).

My drapes between parlors are apron 120 years old....they have never been cleaned in a washer or by a dry cleaner. I bet I'm the only one to admit to not cleaning in 120 years....but there you have it.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2010 at 12:32AM
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I use Dryel on my as well

    Bookmark   December 14, 2010 at 7:33AM
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Too much over thinking here, lol! A friend made my valences in the FR 7 years ago! Never been dry cleaned! Too much trouble to take down. They are hanging with L brackets and fabric covered wooden blocks! A good shaking and vacumming does the trick! The PB silk hanging in the DR and LR? Same!

    Bookmark   December 14, 2010 at 8:51AM
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Years ago the owner of the upholstery business who recovered our sofa, told me that putting the sofa seatcovers in the dryer, on fluff setting with a damp, ammonia soaked, small towel, would clean without shrinking. The fabric was quilted 100% cotton, and came out clean and fresh and fit back on the cushion forms fine.

That upholstery job lasted 20 years thru four kids.

I have not used on draperies as only have sheers over blinds and plantation shutters, mainly because of the cleaning factor.

I think if your draperies are still being manufactured (or if custom, a sample of fabric, trace the sample) and try different cleaning strategies before succumbing to dry cleaning chemicals.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2010 at 12:19PM
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emilynewhome, that is interesting about the sofa seat covers. I will have to try that in the future.

I had a beautiful sofa and loveseat that I custom ordered back in the 80's and did not know squat about fabrics. It was 100% rayon and you couldn't touch it with a wet cloth without it looking matted. When it says "solvent clean only" that is usually what it means. It truly never LOOKED dirty, but it always felt dirty to me (after a few years) because it could not be cleaned. I always used the comparison "we wouldn't sleep in our bed for years without washing the sheets, but we sit, lie, and sleep on our sofas and can't clean them."

Since then, I have made a point to choose fabric that I can clean. My current one is a subtle tweedy blend of acrylic, poly, and nylon and can be surface cleaned if necessary.


    Bookmark   December 14, 2010 at 2:33PM
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I sold or donated every pair of dry clean curtains in my house this past Spring. Couldn't take it anymore w/ the pets.

Cats have ruined me for life in regards to curtains. Since I won't stop having floor length curtains and I won't give up cats no matter how naughty they are - machine washable is the only way I will go now.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2010 at 4:20PM
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I don't see the point in dry cleaning drapes. No one sits on them on wraps then around their body (cept my kids, ha ha). We spot clean ours, when needed. We have only dry cleaned them once and I was not happy with the outcome. Most of our drapes are pottery barn velvet panels that go ceiling to floor and puddle a bit on the floor. We had a pipe crack while we were out of town and flood our entire house so the drapes were dry cleaned as part of the insurance claim. The water stains -- yes WATER -- did not even come out with the dry cleaning. I mean, seriously? And the sheer panels from the bedroom came back looking greyish instead of creamy white they were before. And we tried to get the Roman shades dry cleaned as well but they were turned away...said they couldn't do it because of the firm dowels inside. Booo.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 9:47AM
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The only time I clean our window treatments is when I take them down to change treatments. Then the old ones are usually put in the dryer on air dry with a dryer sheet, and then saved to use another year or for the fabric.

I read somewhere that a dryer sheet actually does a better job than than the dry cleaning dryer sheet. The main purpose is to remove dust, pet hairs, etc.; to fluff and to inject freshness. Hanging outside does the same thing.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 10:00AM
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igloochic's early but I must admit totals initials shock on reading reignas post! Who on earth tells people about accidents with their crack pipes!!!!!

Ok so I didn't sleep well lol. I'm reading selective dislexic drug phrases...I need more coffee.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 10:47AM
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OMG igloochic, that was an epic reply. Loved it...I needed a good laugh ;). Thanks! by the way...the "pipe" that cracked was tubing for a diaper sprayer. I usually don't mention that part. A sprayer attached to my toilet for spraying off dirty cloth diapers, ha ha!! That's why my whole house flooded!

    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 11:17AM
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My new PB drapes have a white lining that's the only part I'm worried about because they puddle a bit on the floor; but I'm hoping there will be only dust to deal with.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 2:29PM
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I am a dry cleaner:)
Please be careful when putting things in the dryer when there is no moisture in the fabric. The main cause of permanent shrinkage is that people will over dry an item.

The Federal Trade Commission has the care label rule: If a garment is cleaned as recommended by the manufacturer and still becomes damaged (shrink, color bleeds, etc) you have recourse with the retailer/manufacturer. To be safe always follow the recommended cleaning procedure. If it says to wash, then wash if not take it to a professional cleaner who knows what they are doing.

Yes people wash dry clean only items and most come out fine, but I can assure you that the life of the garment is shortened greatly. How do I know? I removed a Kleenex tissue from a customers pocket AFTER the pants were cleaned and it was intact. Can you imagine what that tissue would have looked like after washing in water?

Dryel "freshens" clothes, but does not actually clean it. Sort of like using Fabreze to mask the smell, but the cause of the smell will still be in the fabric.

I am not here to promote dry cleaning so if you don't like dry cleaning for some reason stick with "machine wash" garments and household goods.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 1:56PM
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