If you were to ask about important chores to do when you're trying to spruce up your home, ironing your curtains probably isn't one of those high-priority chores on the list. However, it'd be foolish to say that ironing your curtains can't make a difference, especially if they've been in storage for a long time. You might be wondering how to iron curtains properly, and a little research helped us find the best answer.

The best thing you can do for mild wrinkles is to use a fabric wrinkle release spray on hanging curtains. If you choose to iron your curtains, use a steam iron (on a low setting) directly on the wrinkled portions while curtains hang. Curtains requiring more intense ironing should be placed on an ironing board with a cloth placed over them to steam iron, flat, on a higher setting.

Ironing curtains is one of those things that can make a surprisingly dramatic change in the look of your room, but only if you do it right. When done wrong, ironing curtains can harm your curtain material. So, let's talk ironing!

An elderly woman ironing her newly washed curtains, How To Iron Curtains

Before You Begin

A woman folding and lifting newly ironed curtains

Believe it or not, some curtain types should not be ironed. Before attempting any sort of ironing or steaming on your curtains, check the tag at the bottom of your curtains. The tag will tell you if your curtains are iron-friendly or if they're only good for steaming. If you find that your curtains can't be ironed or steamed, take them to a dry cleaner for a proper wrinkle release treatment.

Curtains are best treated according to the manufacturer's instructions. If you do not heed the instructions' warning, you could end up ruining the fabric. With that said, most curtains will need a steam iron for a typical session. Ideally, a steam iron with a retractable cord will be handy since you will most likely need to straighten your curtains on the rod.

Click here to get a steam iron on Amazon.

How To Iron Curtains

Let's say that you're ironing standard cloth curtains and you want to make sure that you get them looking straight as a pin. That's great, and it's surprisingly simple to do! Here's what you will have to do:

  1. First, call a friend who can help you pull the bottom of the curtains down. You will be keeping them on the rod to prevent re-wrinkling. 
  2. Get a steam iron. Fill it with water and have it heat up to its lowest steam temperature.
  3. Stretch the curtain so it's as spread out as much as possible while remaining on the rod. Tell your friend to pull the bottom of the curtain down taut. The handler should use caution near steam to avoid contact with hands or face. 
  4. Push the steam button, and make sure that the iron can push the steam through all the material. 
  5. Work the iron from the bottom of the curtains to the top. If there is no foam backing on your curtains, apply light pressure to the curtains and work out the wrinkles. 
  6. Once you're done with one curtain, do the same to the next. Then, fluff up your curtains and enjoy their fresh new look. 

Should You Just Steam Them Or Let Them Hang?

In most cases, you really don't need to iron your curtains unless they have awkward creases from packing, causing them to hang improperly. Most curtains will eventually drop to their ideal hanging style, especially if you live in a more humid environment. Of course, wrinkle release spray or just using a hand steamer can also get you good results while curtains are hung. 

Click here to get a handheld steamer from Amazon.

If you aren't willing to do the work to get a steam cleaner for your curtains, you can often get similar results from wrinkle release. If wrinkles aren't that big a deal for you, you can also let your curtains hang. Over the course of a month, you should see the curtains lose their wrinkles.  Worried that your curtains will not drop correctly? Read up on how to train your curtains, and it'll be a thing of the past.

How Often Should You Iron Your Curtains?

In many situations, ironing your curtains won't actually be entirely necessary. Sheer curtains, for example, rarely ever need to have an ironing session. However, most people find that ironing their curtains makes sense, especially if there are noticeable creases formed while they were packed and stored. 

To keep things extra clean and crisp, it's best to iron your curtains once every six months or so---around the same frequency you clean your throw pillows. Some match their pillow and curtain cleaning times so that they can all be done in one day.

Can You Iron Blackout Fabric?

This all depends on what the fabric is made of. Some curtain designers now make blackout fabric that is iron-friendly, which means that you can use the instructions above to work on them. However, many blackout fabrics cannot be ironed through traditional means because their foam backing could melt. 

If you want to iron blackout fabric, here's how you should do it:

  1. Start by gently removing the curtains from the rod. Put them aside for the time being.
  2. Grab an ironing board, and cover it in aluminum foil. This will act as a protector for the foam side of the curtain. Place your curtain on top of the foil, insulation-side down. 
  3. Grab a bedsheet and cover the top of your curtain with it, forming a curtain sandwich. (The sheet protects the top portion of your curtain.)
  4. Turn your iron on the lowest setting. Start at the bottom, and use a significant amount of steam. Go section by section, and do not try to iron the insulated side.
  5. Once you've finished ironing the curtain, you should hang it up immediately.

Can You Iron Sheer Curtains?

For the most part, you shouldn't iron sheer curtains since there's rarely any reason to. However, if your curtains are iron-friendly, they can be ironed according to the standard procedure. Sheer curtains are often easy enough to straighten out with the help of a wrinkle-release spray or a hand steamer. 

Click here to get wrinkle release spray from Amazon.

How Do You Crease Curtains?

If you want to add pleats and creases to your curtains purposefully, then you have your work cut out for you. Curtains can be impressively rebellious about having creases. That's why it can take a little work to make your curtains hang properly. To crease your curtains, do the following steps:

  1. Remove your curtains from their rod, and place them on the ironing board.
  2. Fold the curtain along the crease that you want to have. 
  3. Turn on your iron and bring it to the lowest setting.
  4. Gently iron your curtain along the crease, going over the crease several times. 
  5. Use a fabric-safe spray starch on the curtains to help add a little stiffness, then go over the curtains one more time. 
  6. Hang them back up once you've finished creasing your curtains. 

Click here to get spray starch from Amazon.

When Should You Bring Your Curtains To A Professional Cleaner?

Sometimes, curtains can look amazing but come with an ugly issue: they can't be ironed or cleaned at home. Most of the time, curtains that come with a warning against ironing, steaming, or washing are designed to be dry clean only. If you see this on your curtains' label, then you ultimately have to bring it into the cleaners' to keep your curtains looking pristine.

While some dry cleaning tools are packaged to be used with a home dryer, the truth is that these kits are not exactly easy to use. Many reviews have called them faulty or unpredictable when it comes to the quality of clean they offer. It's better to avoid playing roulette with your curtains and just stick to the tried and true.


If you want to iron your curtains, expect to have some work ahead of you. Ironing your curtains isn't going to be done the way you might iron your shirt or pants. It may take a little extra work, some strategy, and supplies that might surprise you. Ironing out your curtains will take time, but it's time well-spent. 

After you've finished ironing your curtains, you'll notice that they hang better. They'll also move better and may even appear slightly cleaner, in their own subtle way. So if you want to make sure your room looks picture-perfect, grab an iron and give your curtains a treat.

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