How Often Should You Clean Your Curtains? [Wash & Care Guide]

October 5, 2023
A Person Cleaning Curtains

Curtains and drapes serve as more than just window dressings. You probably use them to control light, enjoy privacy, and add a dash of elegance to a room. Unfortunately, curtains naturally attract dust. Over time, they can become home to dust mites, pet hair and dander, and mold, which is bad news for anyone with allergies or respiratory issues. If you have pets or small kids, you can add “dog slobber” and “sticky fingerprints” to the list of things your curtains collect.

Considering how this can affect your health, a quick vacuum cleaning is not enough. Think about it: you wouldn’t wear a shirt for months without washing it, right? Treat your curtains with the same care and be ready for more frequent cleaning. Your lungs — and your neighbors or visitors who can see those dingy drapes — will thank you.

How Often to Wash Curtains in Your Home

The cleaning frequency depends on several factors that can affect curtains, such as:

  • How often the room is used
  • The amount of exposure to sunlight
  • Whether there are any smokers or pets in the home
  • The dust in the air or other environmental factors (like salty sea air)
  • The type of fabric 

Before we get into more detail, remember to always check the care label on your curtains for specific cleaning instructions. With that out of the way, here are some general guidelines regarding how to keep curtains clean and how often should you clean them.


Best time to clean:  Every 3-6 months.

Cotton is a versatile fabric, so these curtains are easy to clean as much as you want. They do tend to attract dirt and pet hair and absorb odors more easily, though, so frequent cleaning is a good idea.


Best time to clean: Every 6 months.

Linen curtains have that light, airy feel that’s perfect for living rooms and bedrooms. Plus, they don’t gather dust as much as cotton does. However, they are prone to shrinkage and damage from regular detergent, so dry cleaning is recommended instead of machine washing to maintain their texture.


Best time to clean: Once a year.

The first rule of care for silk curtains or drapes is to never ever wash them; always dry clean. Silk is a delicate fabric and doesn’t tolerate water well, which is why dry-cleaning curtains is your best bet. It is not a fabric that needs to be cleaned frequently, but it must be handled carefully when it is cleaned.


Best time to clean: Every 6-12 months.

As excellent as velvet drapes are at adding insulation to drafty windows, they are quite vulnerable to lint and dirt. Velvet is not fully machine washable, so it’s best to give these curtains to a professional cleaner.


Best time to clean: Every 2-3 months.

Sheer curtains are made from synthetic materials like polyester so feel free to run them through your washing machine whenever you want. Since they are lightweight and generally used in layers, they may require more frequent cleaning. But be gentle when handling them to avoid any tearing.


Best time to clean: Every 4-6 months.

Because of the delicate nature of lace, it’s best to hand wash curtains or use a gentle machine cycle inside a mesh bag to protect the fabric. Professional dry-cleaning is a good option if you want to maintain their elaborate details and keep the lace looking crisp.

Synthetics (Polyester, Nylon, Rayon, Olefin)

Best time to clean: Every 6 months.

These curtains are made from durable fabrics that are resistant to most indoor contaminants. The majority of these fabrics can be hand-washed or machine-washed, but check the care label to be sure when it comes to curtain cleaning.

Note: If you or a family member have allergies, curtains made from hypoallergenic fabrics like cotton or synthetics are the ideal choice for your home. But make sure to clean them at least every three months.

Are Professional Cleaning Services Better Than Washing at Home?

If you have hard-wearing curtain fabrics like cotton or polyester, you can probably just toss them in your washing machine every once in a while, and they will be squeaky clean.  

However, curtain fabrics like silk, velvet, lace, and linen are more delicate and can lose their shape, color, or texture if you machine wash them without care. The machine’s agitator can cause the fabric to fray, tear, or stretch out. Some fabrics are also sensitive to changes in temperature, so hot water can shrink them. Detergents that work well for your clothes might be too strong for these special fabrics, resulting in fading or discoloration. And if you leave the washed curtains slightly damp by mistake, be ready to welcome mold spores into your home.

Professional laundry and dry cleaners have a level of expertise — not to mention equipment — that is hard to replicate at home. Their job revolves around handling all sorts of unique materials so you can rest assured that your curtains, drapes, rugs, and carpets are in capable hands.

At Universal Cleaners, we use environment-friendly, biodegradable detergents that are tough on stained curtains but gentle on the environment. All the curtain cleaning agents we use are non-toxic and much safer for your home than regular chemical-laden products, which can leave behind harmful residues and increase the risk of allergies and skin irritations.

If you don’t want to handle the complicated drapery designs or tricky fabrics yourself, getting curtains professionally cleaned is worth the investment.

Hand Opening White Curtains

Your Go-To Curtain Laundry Service in Carmel, Indiana

Life is busy, and the last thing you need is the hassle of figuring out how to wash drapes without destroying the fabric. 

We have a better idea. Drop off your curtains, drapes, blinds, or window pane coverings at our Carmel location at 4000 W 106th St #175. We are open from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekdays and 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturdays. If you have any questions about our laundry services, give us a call at (317) 983-5962 or reach out to us online.