How to Store Curtains

Jon Fesmire |

Before you store your curtains, you’re going to want to wash them. Over time, dust, dirt and oils can cause damage to fabrics. You don’t want to put your curtains in storage only to find that stains have set in when you’re ready to bring them home.

Cleaning

When it comes to curtains, it’s a good idea to regularly clean them when they’re in your house. Just like countertops, they can get dusty. Fortunately, cleaning off the dust is easy. Whenever you clean your home, just make sure to vacuum the curtains. Use your vacuum cleaner’s soft brush attachment, and run it over the curtains from top to bottom.

Before storing them, we suggest a deeper cleaning. Curtains can be made from a variety of fabrics with different requirements. Check the tags on your curtains for instructions.

In general, you should hand wash delicate curtains. If possible, steam clean heavy curtains.

Of course, in many cases, you can clean your curtains in a washing machine. This works best for lighter curtains that are not likely to shrink, and heavier curtains, when you’re willing to run them through the drier for a longer period of time. For the wash cycle, choose cool water, or, if your washing machine has a delicate setting, use that. Also, use gentle laundry detergent without bleach.

Once your curtains are dry, hang them for a few days to help ease the wrinkles out. Before you take them to storage, make sure they are completely dry. You don’t want remaining moisture to cause mildew.

Storing

It’s best to store curtains hanging up on supportive, padded hangers. Folding inevitably causes wrinkles, so if you have a way to safely hang your curtains in your storage unit, that works best. Depending on the length of your curtains, a rolling clothes rack may work well.

If you hang them, use a muslin dust cover to protect them. Muslin, made of cotton, will allow the curtains to breathe. Avoid bags made of vinyl or plastic, which can trap in moisture.

If you’re not able to hang your curtains in storage, store them in cylindrical storage tubes. Fold your curtains from side to side, rather than from top to bottom. That way, any wrinkles that form will be vertical and will look more natural. Once they have been folded to the length of the tube, roll them the other direction. Wrap them in acid free tissue paper, and slide them into the tubes.

If you can’t store them in tubes, fold and roll them, cover them in acid free tissue paper, and tie them with strong string before putting them in boxes. If you want to store them in a wooden box, keep this in mind. Wood also contains various levels of natural acids, and you don’t want those leaching into your curtains. Before you store your curtains in them, coat the inside of the wooden box or boxes with a water-based polyurethane varnish, and give it plenty of time to dry. This will help keep any acids from getting to your curtains.

Remember to label and date your boxes (or include a dated tag with hanging curtains) so you know how long they’ve been in your storage unit. Check your curtains once every six months to a year. Some fabrics, like rayon, cotton, and linen, can become more acidic over time and may need to go through another washing.

As you can see, storing curtains isn’t too difficult once you know how to do it right. We hope these steps help you store and protect your favorite curtains for years to come.