Cleaning Heavy, Lined Drapes

I have not one, but five sliding glass doors in my house! They are everywhere! I have hung on them heavy, lined drapes that I bought on sale from J.C. Penney's. They each also have a valance on top. What I would like to know is can I clean them any way other than dry cleaning which is what the tags say?


I can't even imagine what kind of bill I would have if I take them all to be cleaned! They are getting really dusty and need badly to be cleaned but I just don't have the extra money. Please help!

Lisa from VA

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By millard_crystal (Guest Post)
July 11, 20081 found this helpful

If you are careful you can vacuum them once a month. I use an upholstery attachment same as on my lampshades. It will keep the dust down and keep them smelling fresh for longer.

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By Jean from Raymond, MS (Guest Post)
July 11, 20081 found this helpful

If you have a clothes dryer, you can put the drapes in with a large, wet towel and a fabric softener sheet. Run the dryer for about 15 minutes on low heat. This will remove a tremendous amount of dust.

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July 15, 20160 found this helpful

I am hoping this hint will work....I'm going to clean my drapes later today.....i'll let you know how it worked....thanks

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May 30, 20180 found this helpful

Will this method cause shrinkage of the forward layer, but not the lining, making the lining show at the bottom?

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July 11, 20083 found this helpful

I used to have a house full of draperies on traverse rods (which I prefer) .... I always took mine down one window at a time and ran them in the dryer on air only. All the dust will go away and they have a nice soft wrinkle free feel to them.


You could even throw in a dryer sheet. I didn't have those in the dark ages. My reason for this was that draperies don't get food stains or body odors which make it necessary to wash our clothing.

Reply Was this helpful? 3
May 28, 20170 found this helpful

It worked perfectly. Thank you so much. You saved me a ton of money. They are sooo fresh now. All the dust to completely gone. Tomorrow i do the other window.

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July 11, 20080 found this helpful

Shrinkage may happen if you wash them, but I have washed drycleaned items before on a lukewarm water cycle and cold rinse and did not have any shrinkage or a lot of wrinkles. Using the dryer on lowest heat cycle for about 5-10 minutes will help remove wrinkles, but you will need to allow to dry on their own the rest of the way. Use the largest washers at a laundromat if the drapes are that heavy and you can get more drapes in at once for about $4.-$5.


a load. If the drapes are not precleaned before putting in a dryer, you may have residue permanently mar the fabric as heat sets in stains. From your statement, I'm believing they are in really bad shape.

If you choose to dryclean versus washing machine then wait until you have the money to do so and use your vac to wipe down the surface layer of dust or hang over a line and sweep off the dust with a clean whisk broom.

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By Lisa (Guest Post)
July 11, 20080 found this helpful

Thanks for all the advice! I think I will try the one that recommends the wet towel, dryer sheet and dryer on low for 15 minutes and then use the advice of vacuming to try to keep them up! Thanks to all!

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By Venita (Guest Post)
July 12, 20080 found this helpful

You could try Dryel (dry cleaning product) made to be used in your home dryer if putting them in dryer with wet towel and fabric softener sheet doesn't get them clean enough.

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By Julia in UK (Guest Post)
July 12, 20080 found this helpful

I successfully wash "dry clean only" curtains on a cold water setting and air dry outside. Dryers can cause a lot of shrinkage.


There may be a little shrinkage whichever way you clean the curtains but if there is a deep hem you will be able to let them down.

If you check the price of the dry cleaning, it may cost more than replacing the curtains, so it might be worth taking risks here.

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By connie w. (Guest Post)
July 12, 20080 found this helpful

Usually I just use the vacuum cleaner's upholstery brush on mine, but if they are really bad all over and not just at the top, I would take them to the big washers at a public laundry mat...the great bigs ones in the wall that you can even do giant rugs in. Be sure you wash gently, in cold water, and dry on low. If they wrinkle, throw a damp towel in with them for about 5-10 minutes, and wrinkles should be gone.

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