Purchasing new stage curtains can be a significant investment – sometimes a re-fresh and clean is all they need to get them sparkling again. In this post, we will give you our professional advice on how to ensure that your curtains are kept and maintained properly, ensuring you get the most out of your purchase.

Maintaining curtains and drapery can take more than a simple brush to take the dust away. Dirt, dust, paint, grease, tears or burns from stage lights can happen. Plus, regular upkeep will help extend the life of your curtains.

Material – Velvet to Silk, Synthetic or Natural?

Talking about how to clean stage curtains or drapes isn’t a one size fits all approach. We can actually be dealing with hundreds of difference fabrics, fibres and depths.

Every order we complete at Whaleys Stages is bespoke to our customers differencing needs, exact to their desired fabric choice, size and fullness.

Natural and synthetic fabrics need to be treated differently.

For example, a set of cotton velvet 150 fullness drapes (pleated or gathered) will collect dust and dirt within the folds, whereas drops or cycloramas will be much easier to manage.

Wool Surges are heavier and denser than other fabrics and as a result will withstand a number of cleanings before needing to be reinstated. Whereas, if you have high quality 100% dupion silk, it will require more careful handling.

Heavier fabrics can be:
  • Vacuumed
  • Dry cleaned
  • Tapped for dust
  • Spot cleaned
  • Brush with soft bristle brush
Delicate fabrics can be:
  • Dry cleaned
  • Brushed for dust

Using a clean soft bristle brush (A hard brush could snag or mark the fabric) start with the back, moving from left to right, then once you are comfortable repeat on the front. Making sure any pleats or folds haven’t been missed.

Natural fabrics that have been topically treated are best professionally dry-cleaned. They will use a dry solvent solution that will not impact the flame retardant.

Synthetic fabrics that have treated can be professionally cleaned or laundered. Dependent on size of the panels, smaller lighter piece can be washed at home or at a laundrette – for the larger washing drums.

Wash separately to anything else and wash in sections. Be sure to use the “delicate” or “hand-wash” options on your machine at a cool temperature – cold to 30 degrees will be fine.

Hang to dry outside if possible or over a large flat surface. You can tumble dry in some cases – however it will depend on the sizes.

You can iron or steam curtains to get any big creases out – but remember they will naturally hang out most of the creases when hung properly.

Spot Cleaning

If you spot a stain, on most curtains you can use a mild cleaner. Test it on a hidden corner to make sure it isn’t harmful to the fabric. Then brush to loosen any obvious dirt followed by applying the cleaner.


Regular maintenance of your drapery will help extend their life and keep them looking immaculate.

  • Inspect for holes or damage (At least twice a year)
  • Inspect for tears and repair immediately
  • Use a soft bristle brush to remove dust from fabric


If you are storing the curtains in-between performances you need to ensure you store them correctly.

Improperly stored curtains can be spoiled, badly wrinkled and subject to mould or insect damage.

Use a drapery bag, canvas hamper or bag.  You need to allow for the fabric to breath and plastic bags or wraps can disrupt this.

Lower and untie them, then completely spread them out on your stage floor. Fold the curtains along their width and roll them, this helps minimise wrinkles and damage. Store in a ventilated, cool dry area.

Make sure you allow for hanging time prior to using them again, giving at least a couple of days.

For more information about how to care for your curtains, get in touch with the team here.

Looking for a Specialist?

We are always happy to assist you with your enquiry. We take pride in helping and supporting our clients. Please don’t hesitate to call us at 01274 576718, visit our contact page or email us with any questions.

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