Ultimate Guide to Washing Curtains with Hooks (Eyelet Curtains)

Let’s be honest, washing curtains is indeed a tedious and time consuming task. Especially, Curtains with hooks and rings.

In this article, I will show you how to wash curtain with hooks and rings in the washing machine and by hand.

Here’s what this article covers

Pre-Requisites to Wash Curtain With Hooks

Before deciding to wash any curtain it’s important that you look at the care label first, as there are chances that you will find the instructions right there.

Reading the Care label is very important because it helps to choose the right method to wash the curtain as not all curtains are machine washable.

Some curtains may be suitable for dry cleaning while others are recommended for handwash.

So, use the right method to wash a curtain depending on the type of fabric.

Furthermore, The hooks that attach to the grommets (the small eyelets around the curtain top) must be removed gently.

Here are some checklists that you should keep in mind before washing curtains with plastic or metal rings.

  • Vacuum OR remove loose dirt from the surface.
  • Remove the hooks (In most cases they are removable)
  • Read the Care Cable
  • Choose a washing style depending on the fabric type?

How to Hand Wash Curtain with Hooks?

Even though hand-washing is time-consuming and tiring, it is always the best way to clean delicate curtains.

It’s not because the care label recommends that, it’s simply because hand washing gives you more control while washing any laundry items.

Even if you have missed reading the care label, you will limit the damage which otherwise would be done by machine washing.

To handwash curtains, you will need mild detergent, lukewarm water, and a space to hang your curtains.

Steps to hand wash your curtains with grommets or hooks

Step 1: Fill the Bucket with Lukewarm Water

Just take a large bucket and fill it with lukewarm water. It’s not recommended to pour hot water as it may damage the fabric.

Step 2: Add Detergents

Mix gentle detergent with water and make sure it is completely dissolved.

Step 4: Soak and Rinse

Next, submerge the curtain and let it sit for 10 minutes followed by gently rinsing them with your hands.

Step 5: Treat the Stains

If there are any visible stains, gently rub the spots with a soft brush or sponge.

Step 6: Clear the Detergent traces

Rinse the curtain thoroughly with cold water to remove all traces of detergent.

Step 7: Hang the Curtains to Dry

The final step is to dry the curtains in the open air.

Air drying is the recommended way of drying curtains as it’s safe, natural, and gentle.

Note: It is not only necessary to clean the curtains, but also the rods and metal rings, therefore ensure that when you vacuum clean the curtains you do not forget these other areas.

How To Clean Curtains While Hanging? (Without taking them down)

Cleaning curtains while they are hanging can be a convenient way to maintain their freshness without the need for removal and washing.

Here’s how to clean curtains while they are hanging:

1. Regular Dusting

  • Use a soft, long-handled duster or a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to regularly dust the curtains from top to bottom.
  • Pay special attention to the areas that are more prone to dust, such as the top of the curtain and any folds or pleats.

2. Spot Cleaning

  • For small stains or spots, you can spot clean the affected areas with a fabric cleaner or a mixture of mild detergent and water.
  • Gently dab the stain without rubbing it to avoid spreading the stain or damaging the fabric.
  • Blot the area with a clean, damp cloth to remove the detergent residue.

3. Vacuuming

  • If your curtains are machine washable, you can use the upholstery attachment of a vacuum cleaner to remove loose dirt and dust.
  • Ensure the vacuum cleaner is set to a low suction setting to prevent the curtains from being sucked into the nozzle.

4. Steam Cleaning

  • If your curtains are made of a fabric that can withstand steam cleaning, consider using a handheld steam cleaner.
  • Run the steamer over the curtain, moving slowly to allow the steam to penetrate the fabric and loosen dirt.
  • Be sure to test a small, inconspicuous area first to check for any discoloration or damage.

5. Odor Control

  • To remove odors, you can lightly spray a fabric refresher or a mixture of water and a few drops of essential oil (such as lavender or citrus) on the curtains.
  • Make sure not to saturate the fabric, and allow them to air dry.

6. Professional Cleaning

  • If your curtains are heavily soiled, made of delicate materials, or have complex stains, consider having them professionally cleaned.
  • Professional curtain cleaning services are equipped to handle various types of fabrics and stains.

Note: To prevent cobwebs from collecting on your curtains from ceilings, use an extendable duster regularly.

Can you wash curtains with metal hooks in the washing machine?

Most curtains can be washed in the washing machine, but you need to check the tag or care label first to see if the fabric is machine-washable.

If the curtains have metal hooks, you’ll need to remove them before washing to avoid damage.

Grommets can usually stay in during the wash cycle.

Follow the care instructions on the tag for the best results.

What settings should you use while washing curtains in the machine?

To machine-wash your curtains, you should use the delicate cycle settings on your washing machine.

Simply add a small amount of detergent to the washing machine and wash the curtains in cool OR lukewarm water.

You may need to wash them more than once to get them clean.

After washing, spin the curtains in the machine to remove excess water.

Here are the ideal settings to machine wash the curtains.

  • Wash Type: Gentle
  • Spin Speed: Medium
  • Soil Level: Normal
  • Water Temperature: Normal/Cold

How to Wash Curtain with Hooks in the Washing Machine?

If you have a lightweight curtain you can easily wash them in the washing machine as they do not retain as much water as heavy curtains, they can be machine washed if the care label allows.

Just remember to follow the pre-requisites before machine washing them.

Steps to machine wash the curtains with hooks

Step 1: Check the Care Label

Before throwing the curtains in the washing machine, it is essential to check the care label.

The care label will have all the necessary information such as fabric type, wash settings, and more.

Step 2: Remove All The Hooks

If your curtains have hooks, then make sure to remove them before machine washing.

Washing curtains with hooks can damage the fabric as well as the washing machine.

Step 3: Pre-Treat the curtains

If there are any visible stains on the curtains, it is best to pre-treat them with a stain remover OR mild detergent on the affected areas.

Step 4: Put Curtains in the Washer

Next, put the curtains in the washing machine.

Make sure that you don’t overload the washing machine with other laundry items as it can damage the fabric as well as the machine.

Step 5: Use the Delicate Cycle

Set your washing machine to the delicate cycle and wash the curtains in lukewarm OR cold water.

Select the spin speed as medium and the soil level as normal.

Step 6: Dry the Curtains

Place the wet curtains and a small size dry towel in the dryer, and put the dryer on “air fluff” settings for about 20 minutes.

Alternatively, you can air-dry the curtains by simply hanging them.

Note: If you’re worried about the hooks damaging the washing machine, then you can put them in a mesh bag before adding them to the machine. This will protect your washing machine as well as the fabric.

How to Steam Clean Your Curtains?

In order to steam clean your curtains, you will need a steam cleaner along with a fabric attachment.

Fill the cleaner with water and follow the instruction for using the hose and fabric attachment.

Be sure to test the fabric in a hidden area first to check for discoloration.

Gently run the steamer over the curtain, moving slowly to allow the steam to penetrate the fabric and loosen the dirt.

Repeat until the entire curtain is clean.

For heavier dirt, you may need to use the cleaner’s brush attachment to scrub the fabric.

When finished, allow the curtain to dry completely before hanging them again.

With that said, Curtains made of velvet or any other fabric that is water-resistant shouldn’t be steam cleaned.

It is recommended that these fabrics be spot cleaned or cleaned by professionals.

Fabrics Suitable for Steam Cleaning


Cotton curtains can generally handle steam cleaning, but it’s essential to test a small inconspicuous area first to ensure the fabric’s colorfastness.


Polyester curtains are often steam-cleanable, but again, a spot test should be done before proceeding to avoid any discoloration.


Linen curtains can handle steam cleaning, but it’s essential to use a low to medium steam setting to avoid damaging the fibers.


Nylon curtains can be steam cleaned, but users should be cautious with high-temperature steam to prevent melting or damage.


Microfiber curtains are suitable for steam cleaning, and the process can effectively remove dirt and stains from the fabric.

Fabrics Not Suitable for Steam Cleaning


Velvet curtains should not be steam cleaned, as the high heat and moisture can damage the delicate fibers and cause them to lose their luster.


Steam cleaning can ruin silk curtains due to their delicate nature. Instead, silk curtains should be dry cleaned by professionals.


Chenille curtains are generally unsuitable for steam cleaning as the steam can damage the yarns, causing fraying or matting that affects the fabric’s appearance and texture.

Embroidered or Beaded Fabrics

Curtains adorned with intricate embroidery, beadwork, or embellishments should avoid steam cleaning to prevent potential damage or loosening of these decorative elements due to the heat and moisture.

Water-Resistant Fabrics

Fabrics treated with water-resistant coatings, like shower curtains, should not undergo steam cleaning as it may compromise their water-resistant properties.

Delicate Sheer Fabrics

Sheer curtains crafted from delicate materials such as organza or voile are not suitable for steam cleaning, as the steam could cause the fabric to lose its transparency or become limp.

It is essential to choose the appropriate cleaning method for different curtain fabrics to maintain their quality and appearance over time.

Alternative Cleaning Methods for Delicate Fabrics

For delicate fabrics like velvet and silk, alternative cleaning methods are recommended to avoid damage:

Hand Washing

Delicate fabrics should be hand washed using a mild detergent and lukewarm water.

Gently agitate the water and avoid wringing or twisting the fabric. Rinse thoroughly and air dry flat.

Spot Cleaning

If there are specific stains on delicate curtains, spot cleaning with a fabric cleaner or a mixture of mild detergent and water is a safer option than full immersion.

Professional Cleaning

For valuable or antique curtains made of delicate materials, it’s best to entrust their cleaning to professional curtain cleaners who specialize in handling delicate fabrics.

How to deal with different type of curtain fabrics?

  • Cotton Curtains: Hand wash or machine wash with mild detergent and lukewarm water.
  • Velvet Curtains: Gently hand wash to preserve texture.
  • Polyester Curtains: Machine wash on delicate cycle with cold or lukewarm water.
  • Microfiber Curtains: Clean with low to medium steam settings.
  • Delicate Fabrics (Silk, Wool, Lace): Hand wash and spot clean.
  • Valuable or intricate curtains should be professionally dry cleaned.

What is an Eyelet Curtain? and is the washing procedure different?

An eyelet curtain, also known as a grommet curtain, is a type of window treatment that features metal rings or eyelets (grommets) at the top of the curtain panel. These eyelets are evenly spaced and serve as both a decorative and functional element.

And the procedure to wash eyelet curtain is the same as mentioned above.

Here are the steps you can take to clean curtains with eyelet:

  • If they are machine washable, remove any metal hooks.
  • Use a delicate cycle with cold water. After washing, dry on low heat.
  • If curtains are dry clean only, wipe them with a damp chamois cloth to freshen them up between cleanings.
  • Dust regularly to maintain cleanliness. If unsure, consult a dry cleaner for delicate or antique curtains.

Taking an informed decision

To make an informed decision on the appropriate curtain washing method, consider the fabric type and the level of soiling.

Hand washing is best for delicate fabrics and when extra care is needed.

Machine washing is efficient for most materials, but care must be taken with temperature and cycle settings.

Steam cleaning is effective for curtains like microfiber but should be avoided for delicate and water-sensitive fabrics.

Always refer to care labels and perform spot tests before applying any cleaning method to ensure the best results and to maintain the curtains’ beauty and integrity.

Can curtains with grommets go in the dryer?

Curtains with grommets can go in the dryer, but you need to be careful about the fabric. If the fabric is delicate, you should air dry it instead.

If you are opting for a dryer, make sure to dry them on a Low Heat OR No Heat setting in order to prevent damage or discoloration.

Here are the ideal settings:

  • Heat Settings: Low-Heat OR No Heat
  • Tumble Settings: Delicate

Tips to maintain and keep your curtains fresh

In order to keep your curtains looking fresh, you’ll need to do regular maintenance.

It’s always a good practice to dust them regularly with a soft cloth or vacuum with the brush attachment.

If the curtains are made of delicate fabric, you may need to take them down and wash them occasionally using a mild detergent.

Spot clean the stains with a cleaner and nylon sock or upholstery attachment whenever needed.

Additionally, make sure you keep the following points in mind in order to prolong the life of your curtains:

  • Close the curtains when not in use.
  • Do not hang them close to the heat source, such as a radiator or fireplace.
  • Avoid using fabric softeners when washing them, instead use a vinegar solution.
  • Do not make excessive use of bleach.
  • Vacuum or brush away any dirt before it has a chance to set in.
  • Hot water may shrink the soft cotton material, therefore use cold water OR lukewarm water to clean the curtains made of cotton.
  • Lastly, do not air-dry them under direct sunlight.

Final Thoughts

You simply cannot ignore curtain cleaning if you want to keep your house looking neat and clean.

Make sure that your curtains are cleaned at least once a month to avoid any dirt and dust build-up.

If you have pets at home, then it is best to clean the curtains more often.

Lastly, always pre-treat the curtains before washing if they are heavily stained and if you are unsure whether it’s safe to wash your curtains, then make sure to get them cleaned by a professional to avoid discoloration or damage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Some common questions related to washing curtains may be helpful.

Do curtains shrink when dry cleaned?

It is always best to check the care label before taking them for dry cleaning. You can expect the fabric to shrink anywhere between 2% to 4% post dry cleaning. So, depending on the wash type and the fabric your curtain may shrink when washed.

Can I tumble dry curtains?

Curtains can be tumble dried on a low-heat or delicate setting. Yet, make sure to check the care label for specific instructions. It’s best to avoid tumble drying if the care label explicitly mentions not to use a dryer.

Can I iron curtains?

Again, it is always best to check the care label before ironing the curtains. In most cases, you can iron them on a low heat setting.

How do you wash lined curtains?

You should wash the curtains in “delicate” settings. So put the curtain inside the washing machine and set the wash cycle as delicate. And use cold water wash along with mild detergent to wash them safely.

Can Sheer Curtains be washed?

Yes, sheer curtains can be washed on a gentle cycle and cold water settings. However, check the care label if there is any specific caring instructions that you need to follow .

Hemant Sarkar is a seasoned techie with a diploma in computer science and an impressive track record of over 15 years in dealing with speakers, kitchen appliances, and various home appliance-related issues. He is widely recognized for his exceptional expertise in repairing dryers and washing machines from all major brands. In addition to his appliance repair prowess, Hemant maintains engaging blogs on topics related to music and speakers. For any inquiries or assistance regarding appliances or tech-related matters, you can reach out to him at: hemant (at) theportablelaundry.com.