Draperies and other window textiles play an important part in enhancing the comfort, beauty and luxury of a room. A variety of fabrics are available to consumers for use as draperies. Although fabric selection, installation and use conditions of draperies vary, all draperies in general are exposed to more destructive conditions than wearing apparel, carpet, or upholstery. Draperies may receive exposure to the harmful rays of sunlight directly or indirectly. Draperies also interact with the circulation system of each room. Dust and dirt accumulate as a result, as well as residues from cooking, smoking, heating, and other combustion. Higher humidity and temperature conditions tend to accelerate the damage caused by these destructive conditions. Various problems or changes in the draperies can occur as a result of use and exposure, and these changes can occur so gradually that they are not even perceived until after cleaning.
Yellowing or development of yellow streaks is the most common drapery problem. This occurs due to sunlight exposure which can cause a yellowing of all fibers and breakdown of optical brighteners, sizings, coatings, or finishes. Exposure to light can also reduce the strength of most fibers, sometimes after only a few months of use. The fiber content of the drapery fabric, its construction, additives, and finishes used, etc., all influence the extent of sunlight damage. The weakened drapery and/or its lining may lack the strength to withstand the normal agitation involved in cleaning. Because of this loss of strength, damage or shredding of draperies may appear after cleaning. While there is no way to prevent light damage, it can be reduced by having good lining and by rotating draperies to minimize direct sunlight exposure.
Environmental pollutants can also cause yellowing and weakening of fibers. Weak sulfuric and nitric acid are formed when moisture in the air reacts with gases such as sulfur oxide or nitrogen oxide. This phenomenon can be referred to as “interior acid rain”. These acids attack drapery fibers, resulting in a loss of strength. Again, these effects may not become evident until after cleaning.
Color changes can also occur on draperies. Exposure to sunlight, atmospheric fumes, heat vents, pet residues and the like can affect or weaken most dyes. During cleaning, the weakened dyes may be moved, run or bleed.
Water marks that appear as tan, yellow or brown stains with heavy irregular edges can also develop. These stains are a result of condensed moisture or rain transferred onto the draperies. The stain is due to either a weak dye or dirt in the fabric which is carried along with moisture as it wicks into the surrounding drapery fabric. It is not removed during dry cleaning and even special spotting procedures are not always successful.
Another factor to consider is shrinkage. Some draperies can raise or lower with changes in humidity and temperature but, in many cases, draperies can be resized to their original length.
Abrasion damage or worn out areas can occur in draperies due to rubbing against the window sill, cornice, walls, etc.
It is imperative to maintain your draperies properly and have them cleaned regularly by reputable drapery cleaners to insure that they enjoy a maximal life span. Your professional ASCR cleaner is best equipped for this purpose and will select an appropriate cleaning procedure based on the condition of your draperies.