Simple Tips for Cleaning Dirty Curtains

Have you ever opened the curtains at someone’s house only to have a pile of dust hit you in the face? If you have, you know that it is gross. If you have curtains and you don’t want dust hitting your friends in the face, then today’s post is for you.

Curtains, much like ceiling fans and baseboards, are often forgotten during weekly cleaning sessions. Curtains are not quite like your bedding where they need to be cleaned weekly. However, they do collect dust, dirt, and pet dander. Curtains should be cleaned on a regular basis to keep the fabric fresh. Today I am sharing tips for how to clean your curtains.


You can lightly clean your curtains every month in order to keep them fresh and dust free.

Use the dust brush attachment on your vacuum to remove dirt and dust from your curtains. Start at the top and move your way down. Pay careful attention to the upper portion of each curtain, as this is where dust settles most often. It is recommended not use the the upholstery attachment since it has teeth and may snag some fabrics.


Before you throw your curtains into the washing machine, read the tag on one of the panels. The tag will tell you how to care for the curtains. For best results, follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer. When in doubt, have them dry cleaned.

No matter the fabric, all non-bead or shell curtains should be removed from the curtain rod. Take them outside and shake out as much dirt and pet dander as possible, one panel at a time.

If you are considering hand washing, washing in place, or washing in a washing machine, test a small patch of fabric on the back side of one curtain panel for color fastness.


Curtains with lace detail or sheer fabric should be washed by hand. These fabrics are prone to snagging so extra care should be taken when cleaning them.

  1. Carefully remove the curtain from the curtain rod.
  2. Shake out each panel outside to remove any large dust and debris.
  3. Fill a sink with about a teaspoon of gentle laundry soap, such as Woolite.
  4. Wash one panel at a time by submerging it in the soapy water for about 10 minutes; swirl to loosen debris.
  5. Drain and refill the sink with cold water.
  6. Swirl the panel in the sink with cold water to rinse the panel.
  7. Let the curtains drip dry from your shower rod or laundry line.


Some types of curtains, such as those that consist of beads or shells, would tangle if hand washed. Instead, they should be washed in place.

  1. Hang a bed sheet or a shower curtain liner behind the curtain, fastening with clothespins.
  2. Lay towels on the floor beneath the curtain to catch water and to keep from wetting your floor.
  3. Fill a spray bottle with 2 cups warm water and 2-3 drops of liquid dish detergent.
  4. Liberally spray the curtain top to bottom.
  5. Wipe them clean with a damp white cotton washcloth, lightly rubbing heavily soiled areas as needed.
  6. Let dry and remove the bed sheet or shower curtain liner.


Some fabrics can be washed in the washing machine. Review the care instructions on the curtain panel tag before proceeding.

  1. Carefully remove the curtain from the curtain rod.
  2. Shake out each panel outside to remove any large dust and debris.
  3. Using a small amount of gentle laundry detergent, test the curtain panel for color fastness.
  4. Wash in your machine using the gentle cycle and use a gentle laundry detergent, such as Woolite.
  5. Hang dry, outside if possible. If you’re drying your curtains inside because of allergies or lack of a clothesline, set down towels to absorb dripping water. You may want to place plastic garbage bags under the towels if you have hardwood or laminate flooring.

Happy cleaning!