Thursday, October 17, 2013

Making your window treatments last: Preserving Textiles

Let's face it: There is something about textiles that makes us want to touch them. How many of you have had to shop for your fabric in store instead of line because you have to touch it and feel it?
Today we are going to talk about what you can do to preserve your fabrics and make them last as long as possible.
There are things we can't avoid. We have to open and close the curtains,

Shumacher Imperial Trellis in Madarin

Straighten the pillows,
Amsterdam pillow cover from Rainey Creek Home
Situate the pouf. . .
Waverly Bluebell pouf from Rainey Creek Home
We naturally have oils in our skin, but additionally, we touch things throughout the day and get more oils and dirt on our fingers. Then we close, straighten and situate our the items in our home transferring the dirt and oils to our textiles.

We also can't avoid the sun, using lights in our homes and the occasional little person who likes to leave love notes to mommy on her couch, pillows, curtains, walls, whatever surface is nearest the crayon.
Let's take care of the easiest one first: sunlight. The best way to preserve your fabrics from the sun is to line your curtains. 
Hidden Tab Panels from Window Treatments by Melissa
Lining your curtains will not only preserve the fabric used for your curtains, or other window treatments, but it acts as an additional filter that will catch any UV rays from the sun that the window didn't already filter.
And I'll bet you wouldn't have guessed that the light bulbs in your lamps and light fixtures will make your fabrics fade, too. If preserving the life of your textiles is important to you I recommend getting the lowest wattage possible on the light bulbs. The worst indoor light for fabrics is fluorescent lighting, commonly used in dark shadowy areas of the home like basements. Keep this in mind when selecting a window treatment or other décor fabric going in a basement and consider using a less expensive option that can be replaced often, if necessary.  
Cotton fabrics, like the ones below from Bobbie Lou's Fabric Factory, are good to consider for a situation where you may be replacing items often. Stylish and affordable.

Blue Herringbone from Bobbie Lou's Fabric Factory
Maritime Chevron Wave from Bobbie Lou's Fabric Factory
Poufs and pillows in high traffic areas are also best in inexpensive cottons that are easy to wash and easy to replace, if necessary. Consider these options from Rainey Creek Home.
Chartreuse zig zag pouf from Rainey Creek Home
Utah Grommet in Spa
Aruba pillow cover from Rainey Creek Home

Now, onto the oils and dirt. Textiles are made from natural fibers. Cotton and linen are plant fibers and silks are made of protein fibers and contain salt. The best way to clean your textiles is simply to vaccume them. If a "love note" from your child finds itself on your textiles, or dirt or oil come in contact with your textiles, there are products out there that not only claim to, but do in fact remove stains and love notes from your textiles. :) But one thing you need to know is that the textiles your home décor items are made from are natural fibers and, therefore, are already undergoing their own chemical changes and natural breakdown processes. When you introduce a harsh chemical to an something that is already undergoing chemical change, you are speeding up the deterioration process.

Schumacher Bleecker in Spark from Lynn Chalk
Schumacher Kiribati Ikat from Lynn Chalk
If you use designer fabrics such as the ones above or below, you should consider the stain. Is it significant enough that you want to introduce the textile to harsh chemicals? Small dirt spots or smudges should first be cleaned by vacuum before you attempt to introduce chemicals, or even water.
Sheer Linen Casual Shade from Lynn Chalk
Consider the use of water on natural fibers. Cotton and linens can stand up to water. It should be distilled water as other water sources contain dirt and other elements.
But think twice before using it on silk. Remember that silk is a plant fiber and contains salt. Water on silk will cause it to break down and deteriorate quickly. With silks you should consider either living with the stain or replacing the item before introducing it to water, let alone harsh cleaning chemicals.
Schumacher Manor Gate from Lynn Chalk
If children's love notes are not a concern in your home and you generally keep a clean house, then the best thing you can do to keep your textiles for as long as possible is to purchase the most expensive fabric you can within your budget. It's true that you get what you pay for. The more expensive fabrics are higher quality and will last a long time.
Sinclair Grommet Panels from Swags Galore
If you have young children, and dirt and oils coming in contact with your textiles is a concern, I recommend going with affordable textiles that can be replaced often.
*Line your window treatments.
*If you MUST, use only distilled water, but never use any water or chemical on silks.
*Buy the most expensive fabric in your budget
*Always vacuum first before attempting to treat stains. See what the vacuum will get out first.
--If you see a fabric you like, click on the image to find its source.

1 comment:

  1. Sure. Textiles strike a rich palette and adds a lot to the windows' overall profile. Perfect way of augmenting things, though you'll have to deal with the windows themselves, should these falter.

    Roxie @ Allure