How to Steam Your Curtains

Put down the iron.

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bedroom curtains
Photo: Getty / ZenShui/Sigrid Olsson

Laundering your floor-length curtains is likely a task at the tail-end of your to-list. And understandably so—it's tedious work. Removing, washing, drying, and ironing these window treatments can swallow an afternoon whole, which is why it's a job that rarely gets tackled. Luckily, keeping your curtains looking their best in the interim is much less taxing if you have a steamer. Steaming your curtains is arguably the easiest way to remove those stubborn wrinkles and creases that creep up over time, and it's also the best option, says Frej Lewenhaupt, the co-founder of Steamery. "The fabric will feel richer and more natural in texture with steaming, as opposed to ironing," he says. "This will also create that 'hotel feeling' of the perfect curtain waves. Ultimately, ironing is better to smooth out big bed sheets." Ahead, Lewenhaupt shares his best tips on keeping your curtains as smooth as possible.

All you need is a steamer and a support.

The process of steaming your curtains is fairly straightforward, says Lewenhaupt, and the only equipment you need is a steaming tool—he recommends Steamery's Cirrus No.2 ($130,, which works on both clothes and home textiles—and a support, like a ladder or chair. Keep the panels on the rod and "just steam," he says, noting that you should press the nozzle against the fabric as you go for the best application. "We recommend steaming the front of the panel, since some wall paint might be sensitive to heat," he adds. Whether you decide to move down or up the panel is entirely up to you, but a top-down approach is the most ergonomic.

Some fabrics are trickier than others.

Certain materials, like ultra-thin sheer silk, velvet, or custom panels covered in delicate prints or paints, need a gentler approach. If your window treatments fall into these categories, "use a piece of cloth in between the steamer and the curtain in order to protect the fabric," says Lewenhaupt. And if you're working with a sheer synthetic textile, expect to see some bubbling. "If this happens, spray the fabric with water and the panel should flatten," he explains.

Use water to smooth stubborn creases.

When tackling a deep wrinkle, spray the fabric with some water to "let it soften up a bit," says Lewenhaupt. "Then, it should be super easy to steam. To smooth out stubborn creases, get the fabric almost wet and let it rest before steaming. Also try use the heat protection bag to apply pressure."

Don't forget the prep and post work.

"To get a perfect result, first use our clothing brush ($50, to take off some of the dust or hair that has accumulated on the curtains," Lewenhaupt advises, noting that post-steam maintenance is just as important. "After having steamed the curtains, we recommend spraying on our Clothing and Shoe Mist ($29.49, to keep them fresh."

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