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Caring for Household Fabrics

Cleaning household fabrics like drapes, draperies, rugs, curtains, couches, covers and more.

Caring for your household fabrics can be difficult because they aren’t as uniform as the fabrics you wear. Some are pre-shrunk, some aren’t, some can be washed, some have to be dry cleaned, and some cant be cleaned at all, the colors will run on some, and others don’t even look like they get dirty. What gives? Here are few tips to help you navigate the waters of household fabrics.


Don’t let these get wet. Water rings can be difficult to remove from your drapes. Causes of water rings include condensation (you do have a storm window or double pane glass in front of your drapes, right?), leaks (from the window itself or the ceiling above) and spills.

The sun isn’t good for draperies. It causes your drapes to age and discolor. This is a tough problem to fix because for most people, their drapes are both light control and room decoration. Have your drapes cleaned regularly and make sure each piece is returned to the same spot in the same window.

Bedspreads and Comforters

Bedspreads and comforters don’t require care labels to be attached (it may be on the packaging or a temporary label). Also many consumers cut off any labels because they look ugly hanging off the side of the bed. This makes your job much more difficult when it comes time have them cleaned. A professional dry cleaner will have the experience necessary to clean these items properly however knowing at least the composition of these items certainly helps.

It is wise to have all matching items in a set cleaned at once because there might be a slight color change when cleaned (especially for the first time). By cleaning these items together (or at least at the same time) any changes will go unnoticed.

Upholstery and Cushion Covers

Couches, cushions and other upholstered items are usually cleaned in place by a professional. Cushion covers that zip off are NOT meant to be taken off to be cleaned, but rather to help them fit better. If you take them off to be cleaned two things can happen. First, the color could change and even a slight change would be noticeable compared to the items that could not be taken off to be cleaned. Second, the fabric could shrink and wont fit properly after being cleaned. Fabric used in upholstery isn’t alway preshrunk before it is sold.


Antique quilts and table linens require special care and not all dry cleaners are properly equipped to handle them. Be sure to choose a dry cleaner with a lot of experience and be sure to tell them what you are bring in.

What can you do?

-When purchasing new household items, ask if the material is preshrunk and resistant to fading.
-Make sure all draperies are lined or even double lined to protect them from the sun.
-Remove all furnishings (especially drapes) from wet conditions.
-Light control! Protect carpet, rugs, and furniture from the sun (especially if these items are only partially exposed to the sun).
-Regular cleaning is important. Dirt and surface soils can age your carpets, rugs, and other upholstery fibers faster than if they kept clean.

Photo Credit: Forever Wiser & The Taft Museum of Art, Cincinnati Ohio

Comforter Cleaning

Janet Davis Facility

Take 10% Off Comforter Cleaning at Janet Davis Cleaners in April ’11. Just bring your comforters in to either location (in Berkley or Bloomfield) and ask for the April Comforter discount.

2 thoughts on “Caring for Household Fabrics”

  1. Hi. I am Forever Wiser. I noticed you used my photo on your blog. I am honored that you borrowed my photo. But the photo is available with my permission. If you do want to use the photo, please credit me and the Taft Museum, Cincinnati Ohio who are the actual owners of the beautiful, period specific draperies.
    Thanks for liking my photo. Jenny O'Donnell

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