Cleaning Yellowed Curtains

Window coverings can yellow with age and environmental conditions. It can be a challenge to restore the color. This is a guide about cleaning yellowed curtains.


May 14, 2010 Flag
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How do I get my yellowed curtains white again? They are 100% cotton with cotton lace.

By Debbie

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May 14, 20100 found this helpful

Here is an old trick I learned while working in an antique clothing store. Soak the curtains overnight in whole Vitamin D milk, making sure they are submerged totally. Next day, rinse with cool water, then wash gently in warm water with a mild detergent. This worked for wedding gowns as well as lace curtains and handmade doilies. Hope this helps.

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May 15, 20100 found this helpful

My mom was able to get an old christening dress white by soaking in Ivory Snow detergent overnight, then washing on gentle with more Ivory Snow, and then hanging in the sun. I couldn't believe how white it was when she was finished. The sun is a great bleaching agent.

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May 17, 20100 found this helpful

It depends on why they are yellow. If it is nicotine stain you must wash the curtains several times in Dawn liquid then wash with bleach. Rinse in vinegar.

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May 18, 20100 found this helpful

This worked on antique linens when I had an antique business. Fill washer with water, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup ammonia, allow curtains to soak a short time (an hour should do). Add detergent (less than usual) and run through wash and rinse cycle. Hang in the sun to dry.

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April 16, 2006 Flag
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My white curtains have yellowed from cigarette smoke. How do I make them white again?

ycp0623 from Johnston, RI

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April 17, 20060 found this helpful

I swear by OxyClean to remove the smoke stains from my curtains; It always works perfectly.

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April 19, 20060 found this helpful

Try a concoction of baking soda and ammonia in your wash. Once had a house fire and was told by the firemen to use this to clean the clothing and upholstery in the house. I also smoke and my white curtains get all smoked up, so tried this concoction and it really works. Just add it to your detergent, let it soak a bit, then wash; Problem resolved.

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October 29, 20060 found this helpful

I prefer "Mean Green" spray cleaner or in a pinch, "Awesome" spray cleaner. You can find either them in any grocery store or dollar store's cleaner aisle. Just dilute about 1 part cleaner to 10-20 parts water (preferably hot) and soak 5-10 minutes, then rinse and dry. Naturally, spot check to make sure these products are safe for your curtains. But these 2 cleaners are the best I've found out of close to a hundred for instantly breaking down tar accumulation and stains.

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