How to Remove Different Stains from Your Curtains

How to Remove Different Stains from Your Curtains

Curtains are an essential part of one’s home. They make up the atmosphere as well as add character to it, and make the place feel more comfortable to be in.

Curtains also have a practical purpose. Most curtains are typically hung inside a building’s windows to filter light. Certain types of curtains are thick enough to block light from the inside as well as the outside.

However, aside from gathering dust, they can also be stained, and the stains can cause odors and discoloring when left alone.  Unlike what you think, curtains are different from clothes and should be washed differently.


Before removing the stain, it’s important to know the kind of fabric being dealt with, as not all treatments work the same way for different types of curtains. They be made from different types of materials and can either be fabric or non-fabric.

To keep things simple, here are the following categories most curtains tend to fall under:

Garment fabric – These curtains are generally the safest option as they tend to be sturdy and can be hand- or machine-washed. Use the cold setting for machine wash.

Sheer fabric (lace curtains) – Silk, linen, and wool curtains can weaken in water and are quite delicate. They should be best taken to a professional dry cleaning service to keep them in good condition.

Acrylic bead/shell – Though they can be really pretty to look at, these types of curtains should not be thrown to the washing machine, as they can snag and cause more problems in the process.

Velvet – While some velvet curtains are machine washable, most curtains of this type are as delicate as they are thick, and should be taken to a professional dry cleaning service.


Removing stains can be risky. While many stains can simply be removed with water and detergent, other types of stains need a little more effort to budge. Here are some stains you will be likely to encounter when changing or cleaning them:

Adhesive residue – When it comes to gum or tape, you can make the adhesive lose its stickiness by rubbing ice cubes on them for twenty minutes before scraping them off. You can then launder as usual.

Beer – Stains by alcoholic beverages can be treated sponging up the excess liquid and treating the stain with distilled white vinegar and water.  

Blood – Blot stains with cold water until they disappear. Other alternatives include treating the stains with carpet cleaner or a small amount of glycerine. Allow to stand for half an hour before blotting with water. Be sure to get medical attention first before tending to the stain.

Chocolate – Allow the melted chocolate to harden before scraping off with a dull knife and blotting the stain with mild detergent and warm water.

Nicotine – Smoking can also be bad for your curtains. To get rid of the yellowing and restore your drapes to their original vibrant color, soak the stained parts overnight in a mixture of hot water, 1 cup baking soda, ½ cup borax, and ½ cup salt. Launder as usual before drying.

Oil – Greasy foods can often leave a tough stain on your curtains. Pre-treat them with dishwashing liquid before dampening a sponge with hot water and blotting the fabric to work the liquid into the grease. Launder in hot water with powdered laundry detergent.

Urine – Should your dog decide to do his business on your drapes, remove as much liquid as possible before applying a mixture of vinegar, dishwashing liquid, and eucalyptus oil using a sponge. Let the mixture stand for half an hour before blotting with a clean, damp towel.

Vomit – Wipe or scrape off residue before sponging the stains with a mix of laundry borax and water. Rinse with cold water and treat any remaining stains using carpet cleaner.

Curtain Stain Removal

The trick to treating stains is by doing so as soon as possible before they “set”. Setting is when the stain forms a chemical bond with the fabric, and can be impossible to completely remove.

Heat and pressure can make a stain set faster to the fabric, so be sure to avoid exposing your curtains to both factors when cleaning them. Remember to try the least invasive techniques first. Slowly use more aggressive techniques until the stain has disappeared.