How to Wash Blackout Curtains: 4 Easy Methods

how to wash blackout curtains

Last Updated on November 17, 2022

Just like other fabrics and upholstery in your home, it is essential to keep your curtains clean to prevent the buildup of allergens, dust, and dirt. If you have blackout curtains, which are becoming more common in bedrooms, you may not be able to throw them in your washing machine. Many blackout curtains have a foam or rubber coating on the back, which can easily be damaged if you don’t take a few precautions. Fortunately, this article will teach you how to wash blackout curtains the right way. We provide instructions for four different methods, plus answers to frequently asked questions and pro tips to help you care for your blackout curtains in a way that will preserve their integrity and keep them looking fresh and clean for years to come.

Before You Begin

What Are Blackout Curtains?

Blackout curtains in the living room

Blackout curtains are used to completely block out sunlight in a room, regardless of what time of the day it happens to be. Many blackout curtains have a fabric front and a thick coating on the back that creates a solid barrier blocking out any light. They are great for use in a media room, nursery, or bedroom and are commonly used in hotel rooms and hospital rooms.

Due to the density of the material, blackout curtains can also be used to help save energy. They can insulate against heat and cold from outside and can also help you trap heat or air conditioning inside.

Read the Care Label

When it comes to washing curtains, it is essential to always read the care label before determining how to get the job done. It is particularly true when it comes to blackout curtains. Some may be dry clean only and will have a logo saying so, and some don’t recommend completely submerging the curtain material in water.

Check the care instruction for your blackout curtains, as the care label symbols will have all the information you need about how to wash them and what methods to avoid them.

Washing Blackout Curtains: 4 Easy Methods

Method 1: Dusting With a Feather Duster and a Vacuum

Our first method for cleaning curtains involves dusting and vacuuming them. It is an excellent method to use if you want to freshen up your curtains between deep cleanings or remove visible dust and pet hair from the curtain fabric.

  • Start by stretching out the curtain material on the rod so you can see the entire panel.
  • Using a feather duster, dust the curtain surface using small back-and-forth motions. Repeat on the reverse side of the curtain panel as well.
  • Next, use a small handheld vacuum or vacuum hose with a soft-bristled dust attachment to suction dust off the curtain surface. Start at the top and use slow, precise downward motions until you have vacuumed the entire curtain on both the front and back sides of the fabric.
  • For tricky pet hair that clings to the fabric, you can also try using a lint roller to remove unwanted dust and hair that resists the vacuum and feather duster.

Method 2: Spot Cleaning With Detergent

If dusting your blackout curtains doesn’t provide you with the results you want, the next option is to spot clean them with laundry soap and warm water.

We recommend testing a small inconspicuous spot on your blackout curtains first to make sure the detergent you use will not damage the fabric. Avoid detergents with harsh chemicals or bleach that could easily alter the fabric’s colour. In addition, the colour of the detergent itself could leave a mark on light-coloured blackout curtains, so a liquid laundry soap free from dyes is best.

  • With this method, you may be able to leave the curtains hanging on the rod, but it is probably best to take them down and lay them flat on a table so you can apply more pressure to the spots you want to clean.
  • Dip a clean cloth or sponge in a bowl of warm soapy water, wring it out, and blot any stains on your curtains. You can also rub the fabric gently with a soft cloth in circular motions for more stubborn dirt and dust patches.
  • Rinse stains away before the detergent has time to dry and harden.
  • Wipe down the back of your blackout curtains if they have synthetic backing.

Method 3: Steam Cleaning

Steam cleaning your blackout curtains is another method that is easy and quite effective. That is, of course, if you have a steam cleaner.

  • Start by adding clean water to your steam cleaner’s tank. Warm water is typically best.
  • Using the steam wand and the upholstery attachment, clean your blackout curtains from the top down. Hold the steam wand several centimetres away from the material to prevent damage and prevent it from getting wet. It is ok if it is a little damp, but the fabric should not be soaked.
  • Moving slowly, steam clean both sides of your curtains until you have covered all of your curtain panels.

Method 4: Deep Cleaning With Soapy Water

Occasionally, deep cleaning your blackout curtains is also recommended. This method takes a bit longer but is the best way to wash your curtains completely.

  • Start by taking your curtains off of the rods or hooks and shaking them out to remove any superficial dirt and dust. Make sure to take them outside before you shake them out.
  • Fill a large sink or your bathtub with warm soapy water. If you use a sink, make sure there is enough room to move the curtains around inside freely and that you don’t fill it so high that it will overflow when you add your curtains. Use about the same amount of soap as you would for a small load of laundry. Mix the mild soap into the water thoroughly.
  • Next, add your blackout curtains to your tub and push them under the water until completely submerged.
  • Gently agitate the water and swirl the curtains around, similar to the way a washing machine would. You can also squeeze and twist the fabric using gentle motions that won’t damage the foam-coated back.
  • To complete the wash cycle, you can also rub or wipe down the coating on the back with a sponge or cloth.
  • Drain the water from your sink or tub and rinse your curtains with cold, clean water. Repeat with another rinse to make sure all of the soap comes out.
  • To finish, gently wring out as much of the water from the fabric as possible, then hang them up to dry.

Drying Instructions

Quickly drying your blackout curtains is the best way to prevent damage to the material and prevent wrinkles from developing. However, most blackout curtains should not be put in the dryer, especially if they are coated on the back. Following are some tips to help you dry your curtains the right way.

  • Always hang up your curtains to dry. You may be able to hang them on a curtain rod or hooks in the window, but only if they can support the added weight from the water. If you use this method, place towels beneath the curtains to absorb any dripping water.
  • You can also hang your wet curtains on your shower curtain rod or outside on a clothesline which is more stable.
  • Before you hang your freshly washed curtains to dry, remove as much excess water as possible by using your hands to squeeze and twist the material gently, so you do not damage the backing.
  • Keep the curtain panels separate and spread out to prevent wrinkles from developing while they dry.
  • Make sure the coating on the backstays is separate and doesn’t touch itself while drying. It allows air to circulate better and prevents the back from sticking together.

Other Considerations

How Often Should You Clean Your Curtains?

As a general rule of thumb, we recommend dusting or vacuuming your curtains once or twice a month, spot cleaning as needed, and deep cleaning them two or three times per year. However, if you or someone in your home suffers from allergies, you could benefit from cleaning your curtains more frequently.

Can I Wash Blackout Curtains in the Washing Machine?

Depending on the type of blackout curtains you have, you may be able to wash them on a delicate cycle with mild detergent and cold water. This is because some blackout curtains do not feature a synthetic coating on the back and instead are made from a dense triple-weave fabric that can often be machine-washed. Some blackout curtains with a coating may even be able to be machine washed. Just check the logo on the care label to make sure.

Can I Dry Clean Blackout Curtains?

What about dry cleaning? Depending on the fabric and other materials used, you may be able to simply drop your curtains off at the dry cleaner. In some cases, it will actually be recommended. Check the care label for the appropriate logo to find out if this is a viable option for you.

Cleaning Your Blackout Curtains

Washing your blackout curtains is an essential part of keeping your home free from allergens and dust. Now that you have read through our detailed instructions and pro tips, you should feel confident about how to wash blackout curtains without potentially damaging the fabric or foam backing. Remember always to read the care logo and test out any new detergent in an inconspicuous place first, and you will do great.

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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