Dry cleaning or professional laundering often can prolong the life of household draperies. With proper care, draperies made of an average grade of fabric can be expected to last three to five years.
Drycleaners sometimes encounter problems with draperies because of environmental conditions in the household.
Water damage from window condensation, prolonged exposure to moisture and humidity, and sunlight can discolor and weaken fabric causing shredding when draperies are exposed to the agitation of cleaning. The combined effects of age, moisture, light, heat, tobacco smoke, and other atmospheric soils can cause fabrics to permanently yellow.
Laundering, dry cleaning, or excessive changes in relative humidity can cause shrinkage in draperies that have not been properly preshrunk, particularly cotton and rayon. Special drapery finishing equipment that re-stretches the fabric often can correct such shrinkage.
Distortion and fabric stiffening also can occur during the cleaning process. Some drapery constructions use a combination of several fibers to produce a desired weave or design. The presence of heat-sensitive fibers can cause considerable distortion during the normal cleaning, deodorizing and finishing cycle. Other draperies contain reflective coatings that may not be totally resistant to dry cleaning and may stiffen and blister the fabric. Some coating may separate, peel, or self-stick in cleaning.