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Silk curtains, though beautiful, can be both expensive to purchase and maintain, and to be sure that your draperies hold up over time, it is important to give them some special attention. Many silk fabrics are dyed and finished so they will be more resistant to fading caused by sun exposure, but it is still a good idea to use a protective set of drapes behind the silk curtains. These backing curtains are often called insulating draperies, and can be purchased at most home improvement centers or home furnishing retailers. Some silk curtains come already lined, in which case, additional backing is not necessary. Ideally, silk curtains should be professionally dry-cleaned, but with special care, they can also be hand washed at home.
Ideally, your silk curtains will not require frequent cleaning, but like many other types of window treatments, silk curtains are often a magnet for dust. To remove dust from hanging curtains, you can use a hand-held vacuum. To keep the vacuum from taking in too much of the curtain, grab hold of the fabric well below where you have the vacuum positioned. By holding the lower part of the fabric taut, you can make sure the vacuum only skims the surface of the drapery. This protects the fabric from picking up any dirt that may be inside the vacuum itself.
If your curtains have picked up a dirty smudge, but do not need a complete cleaning, you might want to try spot cleaning. Using a sponge, apply warm soapy water to the dirty area and gently rub until it has been removed. You should pat the area as dry as possible. If you think it is still too damp, you can use a hair blow dryer to finish drying it. As silk fabric is so sensitive, you should keep the dryer set on low heat, and hold it well away from the surface of the drapery.
Spot cleaning with soapy water works best on silk curtains that are printed. This is because silk is sometimes sensitive to water spots, so even after you clean the smudge, the area that became wet may be a slightly different color than the rest of the fabric. This will be more noticeable if your fabric is solid colored, so for solid colored silk curtains, it may be a good idea to use a dry application to remove smudges. Most dry spot removers use chemicals that work to lift the dirt out of the draperies. Typically, you leave the cleaner on for a specified amount of time, and then simply brush off the residue, which should include any dirt it lifts out of the fabric.