Do Curtains Attract Dust? [And How To Keep Them Dust-Free]

Trying to keep your home surfaces dust-free usually starts with a quick, easy wipe down. But wiping isn’t always possible. With curtains, trying to figure out if they’re dust magnets and trying to keep them pristine often becomes a hassle. So, we’ve researched why curtains get dusty and how to rid them of dust.

Curtains are dust magnets, especially when you tend to leave windows open. Because curtains act like an air filter for your home, often trapping dust and particles in their textiles. To keep them dust-free, vacuum them weekly using an upholstery attachment and run them through the washer every three months.

If you have curtains in your home, it’s crucial to know how you should maintain them. Not knowing how to keep your curtains dust-free can lead to a decline in air quality as well as unsightly stains. This guide will give you the inside scoop on what makes curtains so dust-prone, and how you can keep them cleaner than ever before.

Bedroom window interior with classic style curtains, Do Curtains Attract Dust? [And How To Keep Them Dust-Free]

Why Is My Room Getting So Dusty?

Dust is a combination of things, including dead skin cells that we shed, pollen, cigarette smoke, and ash. Meaning that the accumulation of dust can come from a wide range of sources, including:

  • High room traffic. The more you walk through a room, hang out in a room, and use it, the more dust will accumulate. Because accumulated dust includes shed skin cells, our interactions increase dust. 
  • Debris from outside. Whether it’s tracking it on the ground from a day in the garden or opening a window, dust can come into your room right from the great outdoors. Opening your window during the pollen season is a bad idea. 
  • Cigarette smoke. Contributing to dust is one more reason why smoking is a bad habit. Linger cigarette smoke also happens to be one of the reasons why your white lampshade might look yellow
  • Pet dander. Much like dust can be made from human skin, pet dander and shedding fur can contribute to dust levels. 
  • HVAC issues. A filtered HVAC system can still blow dust into your room. Many filters aren’t capable of trapping all the dust. When paired with high humidity levels, this can lead to greater dust problems. 
  • Candle and incense soot. Burning candles and incense can significantly increase dust in a room, as well as change the color of your walls. Opting for soot-free candles can help reduce this.

Why Do Curtains Attract So Much Dust?

The biggest reason why curtains attract dust is that life creates dust, and rooms basically act as dust traps. Rooms are enclosed by four walls, which means when we create dust or have dust enter, it’s much harder to get it out. That dust needs to go somewhere. The dust ends up clinging to things that are textured and capable of gripping onto it.

Curtains are thin textile sheets hung up in the air. Hanging makes them act like an air filter. When you pair this with the fact that curtains are at eye level, it makes sense why they tend to trap a lot of cigarette smoke, dust, and other items blown around the room. 

Is Dust A Health Hazard?

Even if you are not allergic to dust mites or dust, having too much dust in your home can be a serious hazard to both your health and your belongings. Excess dust can permanently stain your walls, textiles, and even plastic items. Inhaling too much dust is linked to lung problems in older adults as well as people who are prone to asthma.

Keeping Your Curtains Dust-Free

Having curtains means that you will need to maintain them if you want to keep them free of dust. You should expect to vacuum your curtains every two weeks using your vacuum’s upholstery attachment. Along with vacuuming, you need to take down your curtains and thoroughly clean them regularly.

How Often Should You Clean Your Curtains?

Cleaning routines vary from home to home, but most residences should clean their curtains once every three to six months. If you smoke, regularly burn incense, or deal with curtains in your kitchen, your timing might be closer to once every two months. Curtains exposed to higher levels of smoke are more prone to staining and discoloration.

Should You Wash Or Dry Clean Your Curtains?

Though this varies from curtain to curtain, The Spruce explained that it’s risky to clean your curtains any other way aside from a professional dry cleaning session. If your curtains aren’t colorfast or are made of delicate material, putting them in a washing machine will damage them beyond the point of repair. 

Dry cleaning bills can be very pricey, but there are other alternatives that you can try. If you cannot spring for dry cleaning, treating curtains with a steam cleaner on a low setting will often suffice. Wash some curtains in a standard washing machine; however, it’s essential to make sure your curtains are built for that.

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Can I Buy Machine Washable Curtains?

Due to the demand for easy-to-clean curtains, many companies focus on making curtains meant to be machine washable. Brands like Pony Dance have been making sheer linens to toss in the washer for years. 

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How Can I Tell If My Curtains Are Machine Washable?

Many curtains, particularly those made of silk, are not machine washable. However, there is a chance that you might have machine-washable curtains—especially if you have cotton linens. You can always double-check by taking a look at your curtains’ care instruction tab. If your curtains came from a major brand like IKEA, you also might be able to find wash instructions by searching for your curtains online. 

How Do You Wash Silk Curtains?

Silk curtains and other delicate textiles pose a unique problem for homeowners who hate dust. Ideally, professionally clean silk curtains. However, you can hand wash your curtains in the tub by this method:

  1. Prep your bathtub. Fill up the tub with lukewarm water. Add a teaspoon of Woolite for every gallon of water in the tub. (You can estimate, if necessary.) Stir the solution gently using a gloved hand.

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  2. Hand wash your curtains. Wear rubber gloves for this, since detergent can be very drying. Most silk curtains cannot withstand the rough tumble of a washing machine. Washing them by hand, without wringing, is ideal. 
  3. Drain the tub. Rinse off your curtains by running them under the faucet at a lukewarm temperature. 
  4. Refill the tub, and mix your vinegar solution. You should add one tablespoon of vinegar for each gallon you use in your bathtub. This will help keep curtains white and help keep your sheets white if you need to wash them.
  5. Hand rewash your curtains, then let them sit. Vinegar acts as a whitening agent on delicate materials and also helps with deodorization. Once you’ve washed your curtains, leave them in the tub for 10 to 15 minutes to let the vinegar work its magic. 
  6. Drain the tub. Rinse off your curtains by gently running them over the water at a lukewarm temperature once the tub dries. When rinsing your curtains, make sure not to wring them or twist them. Gentle squeezes are better.
  7. Squeeze the curtains dry, pat them with a towel, and add them to a clothesline. Air drying is ideal for silk curtains since the high heat from dryers can damage their fibers. If your curtains allow for it, they can also be tumble-dried at a low setting in your dryer. Make sure to check the tags before you try a dryer!

How Much Does It Cost To Dry Clean Silk Curtains?

Silk curtains are more difficult to clean items in a laundromat’s roster, and therefore carry a premium price. It typically costs between $80 to $140 to dry clean silk curtains professionally. If you have particularly rough stains on your curtains, your laundromat may also charge an additional fee for stain removal. 

How Much Does It Cost To Dry Clean Other Types Of Curtains?

While silk tends to be the most expensive to dry clean, other curtains aren’t far behind when it comes to pricing. A typical dry cleaning bill will run between $2 to $7 per foot. Cotton curtains are the cheapest to clean, priced between $60 to $95 for a typical set. 

Our Final Take

Curtains can be total dust magnets, but that doesn’t mean you should have to accept their fate as discolored dust rags. To keep your curtains pristine, the best thing you can do is add your curtains to your regular vacuuming schedule and take them to the cleaners quarterly, or hand wash them on your own.

Cleaning silk curtains can be remarkably expensive, especially if you have many them in your home. If you want to cut down on cleaning bills, the best thing you can do is stick to buying curtains advertised as machine washable or stick to cotton curtains. To prevent you from having to spend hundreds of dollars on professional dry cleaning services every year. 

Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is a freelance writer who is always looking for more work!

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