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Cleaning Yellowed Curtains

Category Fabric
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.


Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
May 14, 2010

How do I get my yellowed curtains white again? They are 100% cotton with cotton lace.

By Debbie


May 14, 20101 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, 20101 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 6, 20180 found this helpful

Thank you I'll do that

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By 0 found this helpful
April 16, 2006

My white curtains have yellowed from cigarette smoke. How do I make them white again?

ycp0623 from Johnston, RI


By Dani (Guest Post)
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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By Kelaniz (Guest Post)
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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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

October 27, 20090 found this helpful

I have a pair of white (now yellowed) cafe kitchen curtains that were in bad need of a wash, they looked yellowed so I figured bleach would whiten them up, nope. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I can get my white curtains back and get rid of the yellow look? Thanks!


Janis from Ohio


Yellowed Curtains

You can could try stain remover. I use Spray and Wash. (05/18/2005)

By Debra LeBarron

Yellowed Curtains

If you have a clothesline available, hang them in the bright, hot, sun for a couple of days. (05/18/2005)

By Mary Ellen

Yellowed Curtains

Try Rit dye remover, or whatever brand is available. (05/18/2005)

By siris

Yellowed Curtains

Have you tried Oxi-clean? It works wonders. Also, hanging in bright sun may help. (05/19/2005)

By rosa

Yellowed Curtains

Soak your curtains in lemon juice before hanging them outside. The lemon juice should bleach them. (05/19/2005)

By irene

Yellowed Curtains

Try adding some Mrs. Stewart's bluing to the rinse water. Blue neutralizes yellow. (05/19/2005)

By Sue

Yellowed Curtains

I second the suggestion of Oxi-clean. That stuff is wonderful! (05/19/2005)


By Ela

Yellowed Curtains

I just found 2 pillows with covers in the garage that never made it inside. The covers were yellow and horrid looking, I pitched the pillows and but bleach and baking soda with laundry soap and tossed pillow covers in the washing machine. When it began to agitate I turned the machine off, then a couple hours later I turned it back on again and they came out white! I was surprised. My friend told me it was the soaking that did it. Good Luck! (05/19/2005)

By Annie Rios Hill

Yellowed Curtains

I put my "yellowed" (we're both smokers) curtains in the washer with my regular detergent (Cheer) and a half cup of 20 Mule Team Borax, let it agitate for about 15 minutes, let it soak for an hour or so, then ran it through a regular cycle and they came out white again. Good Luck! (06/12/2005)


By Marilyn

Yellowed Curtains

I tried 20 mule team borax. That didn't work. I tried Oxi-clean, also did not work. So last resort, I bought 3 boxes of Rit dye remover, agitated according to box instructions and rinsed. They came out like brand new. (09/25/2005)

By sue

Yellowed Curtains

For yellowed washables, I use a combination of bleach and powdered dishwasher detergent in hot water. Let soak for an hour, then wash. Excellent results! (05/10/2007)

By Beatrice Bleackley

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May 14, 20100 found this helpful

I am looking for a household product to remove yellowing from sheer curtains?

By sharon from, Ontario, Canada


Yellowed Curtains

The yellowing may be caused by deposits in your water. Try a product called "Iron Out" or "Yellow Out". A bit pricey, but both work great. (10/29/2009)

By Patricia Koski

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