Dry cleaning or professional laundering can prolong the life of household drapery. With proper care, drapery made of an average grade of fabric can be expected to last three to five years.
When it comes to drapery, the most common problems are caused by environmental conditions in the home. Frequent exposure to window condensation or moisture and humidity can cause water damage, and fabric may be weakened or discoloured from sunlight. Discolouration and yellowing may occur with age, moisture, light, heat, cigarette smoke, and other atmospheric soils. When cleaned, draperies damaged by these problems may shred.
When selecting drapery for your home, make sure that they are preshrunk since excessive changes in relative humidity and cleaning can cause shrinkage, particularly in those made from cotton and rayon. If shrinkage occurs, special drapery finishing equipment can re-stretch the fabric to its original size.
Cleaning may also distort or stiffen drapery if a combination of fibres is used during manufacture to create a desired weave or design. Fibres sensitive to heat often distort during the normal cleaning, deodorizing, and finishing cycle while reflective coatings may stiffen and blister the fabric. Other coatings may separate, peel, or self-stick.
Drapery and other textiles regularly exposed to sun light are prone to light degradation. As a result, you may want to avoid purchasing curtains made of silk, since it is the most vulnerable to light degradation. On the other hand, acrylic, modacrylic, polyester, and glass fibers are the most resistant. You can also rotate draperies to vary light exposure.
Bedspreads and Comforters
The majority of bedspreads and comforters should be professionally cleaned, particularly if they are tailored and quilted. For consistency, clean all matching or coordinating items at the same time and by the same method.
It is not uncommon for care instructions to appear on the packaging or a temporary label rather than on the item itself. As a result, verify the location of the care label prior to purchasing.
Upholstery and Slipcovers
When professionally cleaning upholstery, it is usually performed in place so that cushion covers remain consistent with the rest of the furniture item. Slipcovers and cushion cover sets for rattan furniture can often be dry cleaned.
There are some problems that can arise when professionally cleaning upholstery and slipcovers. Immersion cleaning may not be suitable for some fabrics. The agitation of cleaning can easily damage loosely woven fabrics or Haitian cotton, even if supportive backings are attached. This is because backings have a tendency to soften or dissolve when cleaned with solvents. Any fabric that has not been properly preshrunk may shrink in cleaning, rendering it unusable if it is a slipcover or cushion cover.
Obviously, antique quilts and linens require great care to protect their beauty and preserve their longevity. For this reason, it is imperative that they be cleaned by a professional well equipped to perform such work. Inform your cleaner as to the antique nature of your item so that they know it requires a delicate method of cleaning. While it is common that antique linens and quilts are affected by discolouration and yellowing, proper cleaning procedures can remove, to a certain extent, some stains and discolouration.
Prolonging the Life of Household TextilesProlong the life of your household textiles by selecting items of higher quality and appropritately caring for them. Damage from surface soils abrading carpets, rugs, and upholstery fibers can be prevented by having all items regularly cleaned.
Much like garments, care instructions should be reviewed prior to purchase and your cleaner should know them prior to cleaning. Care lables may not be on the item itself; they may appear on the original hang tag, packaging, or literature accompanying the product. Keep in mind that closely woven fabrics are more durable than loosely woven fabrics. This may help you decide the most suitable type of fabric for items such as sheets or a sofa cover.
Since there are so many potential problems, many drycleaners are reluctant to clean draperies or upholstery items without having you sign a statement accepting the potential risk. Bear in mind that this does not release the cleaner from his obligation to treat the item with appropriate care.