How to clean your curtains without taking them down

9 May 2023
Est. Reading: 3 minutes
What's in This Guide?
Cleaning Items You'll Need.
HEPA filtered vacuum and curtain cleaning attachments
Mitt, towel, or microfibre cloth
Dish Soap
Rubbing alcohol (only if necessary)
A step ladder to reach the tops of your curtains


In this cleaning tutorial, we'll teach you how to clean curtains at home while they are still hanging. On a side note, you can also use this method to clean pelmets and blackout curtains.

The best part is that you don’t need any fancy cleaners. All that you need is a few simple items that you should already have in your kitchen, or that can easily be store bought.

Cleaning curtains can be a tricky process, especially if they are large or difficult to take down. That’s why we’ve created this guide – it provides helpful information and gives you tips on how to clean your curtains without taking them down. Read on for our top tips and guidelines.

The Benefits of Cleaning Curtains That You Really Should Know

Curtains add a touch of elegance and style to your home, but they also tend to collect dust, dirt, and allergens over time.

Curtain cleaning has a several benefits. It not only removes dust and dirt from your curtains, but also eliminates dust mites and their faeces as you vacuum them out. We recommend using a HEPA filter vacuum. Read our article on “What You Need to Know About Dust Mites.”

By removing allergens from your home, this may reduce the chance of asthma attacks and respiratory issues. And may provide welcome relief for asthma and allergen sufferers.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Four essential steps that will enable you to clean your curtains, while they hang, like a pro.

Step One: Vacuum Your Curtains
Start by vacuuming your curtains to remove the dry dirt and dust. Ninety-five percent of the dirt is dry, so your aim is to remove it before introducing moisture.

  1. Use the wide spade upholstery attachment on your HEPA filter vacuum cleaner.
  2. Start from the top of the curtain and work your way down, using gentle, sweeping motions. Remember to vacuum both the front and back of the curtains.
  3. Be sure to vacuum the pleats and folds in the curtain, as these are the areas that tend to collect the most dust and dirt.

Pro tip... Do not set the vacuum on high. This will help to avoid sucking the fabric into the upholstery attachment.

Step Two: Mix the Solution
Mix one teaspoon of dish soap and 50 ml of rubbing alcohol in five litres (1.3 US Gal.) of water. The rubbing alcohol (IPA) is only useful if you have any carbon deposits on the curtains - from city pollution, fireplaces, etc.

Step Three: Clean the Drapes

  1. Dip your mitt or cleaning cloth into the solution and wring out any excess liquid. You want the mitt/cloth to be just wet enough to activate the remaining soil in the curtain.
  2. Gently wipe the curtains down, being careful not to rub or scrub the fabric.
  3. Wipe the curtain down. Change to a clean side of the mitt or cloth every square foot. Once you have used both sides, dip it in your bucket and repeat the process.
  4. You may need to make a fresh bucket of cleaning solution as you transfer the dirt from your curtains into the bucket. you'll know by how dirty the water gets
  5. Keep going until all the curtains are done.

Step Four: Clean the Pelmet
Pelmets are more intricate to clean and take extra care not to tug on the fabric.

  1. Do not use a vacuum to extract the dust and dirt, as it is too delicate. Use the wet microfibre mitt or cloth to lift the dirt.
  2. Dip your mitt or cloth in the solution and wring out.
  3. Wipe across the material to lift the dirt and transfer it back into the solution. Again, you may need to make a fresh bucket of cleaning solution as you transfer the dirt.
  4. Continue doing this until you have worked your way through the entire pelmet.
Pro Tip...!
If the pelmet is ingrained with carbon soot use neat rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle to help remove the deposits. You do not need much, only about two to three squirts on the mitt or cloth.


Cleaning curtains without taking them down is a great way to save time and effort. And in some cases, your only option. With these tips, you can keep your curtains clean and looking their best.

Curtain washing is not an exceedingly difficult task though it is time consuming. If your curtains are heavily soiled or have difficult stains, it may be better to hire a professional curtain cleaning service. If yo are based in Diblin, Ireland, our professional curtain cleaning brand is Clean My Curtains.

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