In reviewing my posts over the last 9 months or so, I noticed that, while I had shared information on how to clean and maintain cotton velour drapes, I haven’t posted about cleaning drapery made from a synthetic fabric, whether it be a synthetic velour or another synthetic fabric.  So, I thought it was about time that I do so!

The first thing to consider is whether the fabric is topically treated for flame retardancy (FR) or is inherently/permanently/durably flame retardant (IFR/PFR/DFR).  Generally, you can find out this information by reviewing the Certificate of Flame Retardancy issued by the drapery manufacturer.  This is important, because some synthetic fabrics must still be topically treated for flame retardancy.

If your drape has been topically treated for flame retardancy, the drape must be dry-cleaned, using the same procedures as my earlier post for cleaning cotton velour.   Do not launder or otherwise clean with liquids!

However, if your drape is from an inherently/permanently/durably flame retardant fabric (such as Avora® or Trevira® polyesters and many other polyesters), you have the option to either launder or dry clean.  Smaller drapery can be machine-washed in any home washing machine.  Larger drapery should be professionally laundered or dry-cleaned.  Be aware that there could be a small amount of shrinkage (generally not more than 1%) when laundering.

Washing

  • Wash lights and darks separately
  • Hand wash or machine wash (“Delicate” cycle)
  • Cold water
  • Mild detergent (such as Woolite®)
  • No bleach
  • Hang dry or tumble dry at low to medium heat
  • Once drapes are dry, immediately hang or roll to prevent wrinkling

Dry Cleaning

  • Request the use of fluorcarbon solvents under easy care conditions

Spot Cleaning of non-velour fabrics

  • For drapes made from fabrics without a nap (such as Poly Muslin), you can also choose to spot clean if the drape is generally clean but has one or two small spots 
  • Use a stick stain remover (such as Tide To Go®) to help prevent water stains (which could result through use of spray and rinse type stain removers).

Maintenance

Proper maintenance can extend the life of the drapery.  If drapery is kept hanging (such as in a theatre), dust may accumulate on the drape.  To remove the dust, first brush the back of the drape, working from the left side to the right, using a soft bristled brush.  For non-napped fabrics, next brush the face of the drape in the same manner.  For napped fabrics (such as a synthetic velour), brush the face twice – first brushing the entire face of the drape by going against the nap and then brush the entire face of the drape by going with the nap.

If your drapes do not remain hanging but are instead stored for later use, make to store them properly.  Do not store in plastic as this can cause moisture to accumulate (which could lead to mildew or mold).  Instead, store in a Sew What? drapery bag or in a canvas bag or hamper.  To minimize wrinkling, fold along the width and then roll the drape from the bottom up to the top.  If possible, hang the drape several days before needed so that wrinkles can “hang out.”