Curtains, for one reason or another, can get dirty, like any other household item. Due to their delicate nature, many people shy away from cleaning them. But if you neglect such a chore, your curtains will unquestionably get grubby and dirty. Not to mention that they will retain foul odours if you don't clean them. But curtains can be much easier to clean than you think; after all they are, essentially, just fabric. Below is a brief guide on how to go about making them pristine and smelling good.
First off, check if your curtains are machine washable. If they are, then it's simple: just put them in the washing machine. If they are suitable for tumble dryers, then dry them as well. If not, just hang them up to dry. Like clothes, curtains should have a label on somewhere which will tell you if they can be cleaned in a washing machine.
If they're not machine washable, or you don't have a washing machine, then don't despair; there are plenty of other ways to brush the dirt off. The first step is to remove them from the curtain rail. Trying to clean them whilst they're still functioning as curtains will be difficult and you risk pulling them off the rail, which could cause damages which render them unusable. The best place to clean them is probably in the bath tub. It is a perfect vessel for cleaning such a long and big item.
For curtains that aren't machine washable, you'll have to find a suitable cleaning product for them. Most standard cleaning products that you have in your home already won't be suitable because they are not designed to clean fabrics, like curtains. The most suitable cleaning product is a gentle detergent: one that has no bleach or any other chemicals that may affects the structural integrity of the fabric or have an adverse affect on the colours of the fabric. When deciding on a detergent, be sure to read the ingredients and to check if it's fabric suitable.
Your curtains may not warrant a complete wash. Perhaps they just smell a little or someone somehow defied gravity and managed to stain a vertical object. If they are just a bit smelly, but look clean otherwise, then simply spray them with air freshener. But make sure it's a good quality air fresher. Bad ones will not smell pleasant and do very little to take the odours out of the curtain. If they're stained, the a stain remover that can be used on clothes can also be used on most curtains. But, again, remember to read the ingredients to check the stain remover doesn't contain bleach.
After washing them you'll need to dry them. If they are unsuitable for a tumble dryer, which can be checked on the label, then you can just dry them the way clothes were tried before the invention of tumble dryers: by leaving them to hang in a cool dry place over time. Make sure when you hang them up that they are as flat as possible and you are hanging them from the top, not somewhere near the top. If you don't check that they are flat when you hang them up – i.e. they're not folded over in anyway – then they will dry unevenly, meaning you'll have to wait longer to hang them up again. Be sure to wait until they are dry though, as hanging up wet curtains will just create a moist, damp smell in the room where they belong. And nobody has time for a smell like that.