Let ‘Em Hang
By Gerald Brant
Draperies are one of the most misunderstood home décor fabrics, and salespeople have little information about maintenance. So, with a shrug, they suggest, “Just let ’em hang!” I’m one who believes that conscientious homeowners are more concerned about the life of their drapery investment than that, so let’s discuss drapery maintenance – the money-saving kind.
Three things to remember here: vacuum, vacuum, vacuum. Seriously, that’s about it, and it is quite significant. Draperies collect airborne soils (dust, lint, and pollen), as well as oily vapors. Also, insects love to take up residence in draperies. This makes vacuuming doubly critical, because bugs eventually die, leaving spots that are difficult to remove safely, even when cleaned professionally. Again, your best defense is regular (monthly) vacuuming.
Now, a word of warning – water-based spotting agents leave circles that can’t be removed from drapery fabrics. In addition, fabric delicacy and shrinkage greatly limit the procedures you may use.
“But what about cleaning? Is it necessary, or should I just let ’em hang?” Let me put it this way: If you have a significant investment in your draperies, then you’ll double their life with regular cleaning (every two or three years).
Okay, so what you’d expect a cleaner to say? Bear with me while I reinforce my credibility.
Let’s get a bit technical and consider another type of soil. It consists of oily, airborne vapors deposited on drapery fabrics. These soils combine with humidity to form a dilute acid, which slowly dissolves yarns and eventually causes complete disintegration. Worse still, sunlight accelerates this destruction. Regular cleaning neutralizes these soils, thereby preserving your fabric.
“Can I clean my draperies without professional help?” Sorry, but no. Dry-cleaning solvents, which are either flammable or toxic, must be used under controlled conditions. Also, special finishing must be used to achieve that “decorator-folded” look. Remember, if you just “let ’em hang,” eventually you’ll be guilty of investment execution.