DRAPERIES... Special Fabrics Need Special Care
Draperies, one of the most widely used applications of vertical fabrics, are often thought to be difficult to maintain. Actually, with a little planning and a careful approach, these items can be kept clean with a minimum of effort.
There are some basic facts regarding soiling which should be considered before any maintenance procedures are attempted. Most soils found on draperies are dry particulates, better know as dust. These fine particles of dirt float through the air until they come to rest, usually on horizontal surfaces. Since draperies are vertical in nature, they catch much less dust than other surfaces. However, pleats do trap dust, which is one reason why most of these soils accumulate around the header of draperies. Also, tiny particulates often come to rest on swags, valences and draperies with open weaves. Air vents near window treatments can add to dry particulate soiling because the air flow can move larger quantities of dust. This is especially true if the filter in the furnace is not adequately maintained.
These dry particulate soils by themselves do not pose a significant problem when it comes to cleaning. Proper vacuuming will take care of most of these soils if performed on a regular basis. This can be accomplished without removing the window treatments from their hanging position.
Moisture + Dry Soil = Problems
Moisture and/or water coming in contact with dry particulate matter often results in disaster. This mixture spells trouble because the dry soils can become embedded and may need some form of wet-side cleaning, often times requiring a professional.
Vents that carry cool damp air from air-conditioning units can create enough moisture to cause problems. When possible, vents should be directed away from window treatments. Vacuuming on a regular basis is also necessary when moisture cannot be avoided.
Moisture that comes from window condensation can often cause ringing and/or spotting. Leaky windows or windows left open during rain storms can also cause similar problems, but on a much larger (and more difficult) scale. Depending on fiber type, considerable shrinkage can occur, leaving an unsightly appearance.
Water-based substances such as soft drinks and other beverages can be a problem since they usually require the use of water-based detergents for removal. Shrinkage is an overriding concern any time water-based detergents or extraction are necessary.
Vertical fabrics tend to be ignored for long periods of time. This is partly because they tend to soil very slowly, until eventually the buildup of dust and other contaminates becomes so great that it is easily noticed.
Draperies benefit from a regular vacuuming program. Two or three times a year is not too often to vacuum vertical fabrics. Areas that are prone to more soiling should be vacuumed even more frequently.
A fabric sponge is also an excellent way to remove hand prints, smudges, and other dry soils that cannot be removed by vacuuming. These sponges do not contain any chemicals. Dry soils are simply and safely erased from the fabric by mechanical action.
Water-based spills can be the most difficult to remove, especially if they go unnoticed and have a chance to dry. Fresh water-based spills should be blotted immediately with a dry, white terry cloth or paper towel. Spots should never be rubbed due to the possibility of abrading the fabric.
Fabric care professionals should be consulted for heavily soiled or difficult spots and spills, minimizing the risk of damage to the fabric. As with many interior fabrics, protective treatments can be applied to help repel unwanted spills, making them easier to remove.
When Draperies Need Cleaning
The decision of how or by whom to have your draperies cleaned can seem perplexing, however, there are some simple guidelines to follow. The industry leaders generally agree that the best on-site cleaners are only about 80% as effective as those who take the draperies down and professionally clean them at a dry-cleaning facility.
So, if draperies become moderately to heavily soiled, optimum results will probably require that they be taken down and cleaned.
Draperies which are only lightly soiled or need freshening-up can be cleaned on-site by professionals using portable dry-cleaning equipment.
The Aftercare Pros!
Because the textiles world is always changing, Fiber-Seal is ready to help designers and clients with our comments about the suitability of their fabric choices. If you need help please call us!
Of course, Fiber-Seal products are effective on all types of fabrics and floor coverings and our aftercare service helps your clients effortlessly enjoy the beautiful interior you've created!
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