How to Steam Curtains & Drapes the Right Way for Smooth Results?

Whether you have just bought new curtains and they are still creased from being cramped in the packaging or want to refresh your old drapes, a good fabric steamer used in the right way can help you out. (1) Just follow the outlined steps in this guide and you’ll be happy with the results.

Steaming Curtains and Drapes - Step by Step 

Get the right tool. Traditional irons will not be adequate for the job, trying to iron your curtains on an ironing board is likely to lead to disappointment. You will need a steam iron or better yet, a clothes steamer that generates the steam needed to remove the creases from your drape material. Both handheld and standing steamers work as we discuss in this article about the best steamers for curtains. Read the care instructions to make sure your curtain can handle steam.


Step 1

Hang your curtains up, close them and arrange the material in a way that you can easily access a large portion of it. If needed, you can start with just spreading out one side of the curtain then repeating the process with the other side after you are done with the first one. If you have a helper who can help holding the material smooth by pulling the hem you will have an easier time.


Step 2

After filling the water tank, turn the steamer on and test the steam by holding it about 8 inches away from the material. You need to adjust the steam according to the fabric of your curtains and may need a good amount of steam to remove wrinkles from heavier drapes.


Step 3

Once you have found the right steam setting start steadily moving the steamer down the length of the material starting at the top of the curtains. Assess the result and move the steam closer or further away the fabric as needed.


Step 4

Slowly work your way all the way down to the hem before start working on the next section from the top again. Alternatively - if you find you need to step up and down a stool a lot to cover the entire length - you can stay on and go through the top half of the curtains first, following with the bottom half while standing on the ground.


Step 5

Once you’re done, assess your work and see if you are happy with the results. If you decide that you need another run, it’s best to do it right away while the fabric is still slightly wet. Allow the curtains to dry naturally before you do any further cleaning in the room to avoid dust sticking to the wet material.

Frequent Related Questions 

Can I steam clean curtains? 

Cleaning curtains can be a daunting task. The idea of taking them down, washing and drying them then hanging them up again sounds like it will take up half a day. If you only have a few spots on the drapes – and especially if you notice them while they are still fresh – you might be able to shortcut the process with a fabric steamer.

Always double check the manufacturers care instructions for the curtain first. If you are good to go, start by using your steamer on the lightest setting, moving it up and down gently. You might need to go over the dirty area a few times, but chances are you can remove most of the stain without having to remove the drapes.

How do you steam silk curtains? 

Follow the same process above, just as you would with any other curtain material. Silk curtains are sensitive, and ironing can ruin the material, but garment steamers are perfectly suited for de-wrinkling them.

Can you steam polyester curtains? 

Yes, you can. Polyester is very durable and can handle washing, steaming or even ironing without shrinking. Polyester is resistant to creases to begin with, but if you have one that is wrinkled – perhaps after a long time spent in packaging – you can remove wrinkles easily.

I suggest washing it first by choosing a light program on the washing machine. Use cold water and a small amount of detergent. Remove them from the machine and hand them immediately. This will get rid of most creases already but if you still see some just follow the steaming method described above and your polyester drapes will look great.

Jenny Hill

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