Live Longer, Look Younger

I mean your drapes, of course.

Nothing brightens a room like clean drapes and window treatments. And there are a few things to know in order to keep your drapes living longer, and looking younger.

Drapes and window treatments are made of a variety of cloths, from heavy durable fabrics, to light, transparent materials. But no matter what they are made of, a number of environmental factors will affect their condition and lifespan. These include:

Sun damage and fading strike unlined drapes the hardest. Sunlight will not only fade colors but also wear on the threads of the fabric itself. While man[made fibers such as polyester are more resistant to such damage, no material is immune

Fumes from pollution, cooking, smoking, etc., contain chemicals which will cling to curtains and drapes. When combined with humidity and oxygen, these chemicals can create a mild acid which hastens deterioration.

Humidity and air quality can cause drapes to shrink 2%! Over time, this shrinkage can be progressive.

Dyes and Pigments
Drapery dyes, like all dyes, are subject to changes over time. These can include bleeding, cracking and running. Pigments held on fabric with a binding agent can also crack, stiffen and fade over time.

Humidity and Moisture
Often, condensation on windows comes into contact with drapes leaving permanent water marks.

It is important to protect your valuable investment with regular cleaning in order to remove the soiling and deposits of vapors and fumes that com from heating systems, fireplaces, cooking and dust. How often draperies should be cleaned depends on location and amount of sunlight. Kitchen draperies, or those in a household with smokers, should be cleaned annually, whereas those used in a guest room with minimal sunlight need cleaning only once every two to four years. Those near intake or heating agents, or close to windows which are often opened, need cleaning every one to two years.

If you would like to freshen up your home prior to the Holiday Season, please plan ahead to allow sufficient time for the entire process. Prior to taking down your window treatments - take a digital photo to document their layout and appearance. This helps to ensure that the decorator's original intent is preserved. Prior to cleaning the treatments themselves will be measured both before and after cleaning. 5% shrinkage is considered acceptable by the fabric manufacturers. And rehanging by an experienced professional can compensate for these sort of shortcomings.

So here's hoping your drapes and window treatments live a long and youthful life:-)

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