Best Steam Cleaner for Curtains to Keep Them Looking Fresh

If you’ve ever had the unfortunate experience of cleaning your curtains, you know just how tedious and difficult it can be. Not only would you usually take them down, but then figure out how to wash them without damaging the fabric, dry them, iron them, and hang them back up again.

Sound exhausting? Absolutely.

That’s why a steam cleaner for curtains is such a great solution. You can easily keep your curtains fresh and spotless with the right steam cleaner.

In this blog post, I’ll discuss the benefits of steam cleaning curtains, the different types of steam cleaners available, and how best to use them.

I’m not going to cover using a garment steamer in this post. I’ve already written a list of the best garment steamers for curtains and drapes.

I specifically want to focus on multipurpose steam cleaners and steam mops that you may already have at home but haven’t thought to use on your curtains.

Let’s get started:

Benefits of Steam Cleaning Curtains

Steam cleaning curtains carries many benefits, including:

  • It’s a fast and efficient way to clean curtains.
  • It helps to remove dirt, dust, and other debris from the fabric of your curtains.
  • It can help with removing tough stains from curtains.
  • An eco-friendly way to clean curtains. It uses less water than traditional cleaning methods and doesn’t require harsh chemicals.
  • It helps to kill dust mites and other allergens, making it an excellent option for those who suffer from allergies.
  • Steam cleaning is gentle on fabrics, so you don’t have to worry about damaging (most) curtain fabrics.
  • It helps to keep your curtains looking fresh and bright.

Different Types of Steam Cleaners for Curtains

When I first thought about steaming curtains, I naturally thought about my handheld fabric steamer.

But in reality, you can use most steam cleaners to clean, refresh or remove wrinkles from curtains.

Here are some choices:

  • Handheld steam cleaners: These are small, lightweight steam cleaners that are easy to maneuver and use. The downside is that they don’t run for very long, which can be a bit tedious.
  • Canister steam cleaners are larger steam cleaners holding more water and running for longer. You usually get extra attachments that can help clean and refresh curtains, such as a fabric brush attachment.
  • Multipurpose Steam Mops: A steam mop with a removable handheld steam cleaner with attachments for cleaning above-floor areas. I’ll show you how to use these for your curtains.

The Best Steam Cleaners for Curtains

When choosing the best steam cleaner for curtains, I didn’t want to focus just on wrinkle removal.

So, here are some steam cleaners that can help you remove dust, dirt, and stains effectively without having to take your curtains down or call in a professional curtain steamer:

  • Eave Continuous Use Handheld Steamer
  • H20 X5 Elite Steam Mop
  • Black + Decker Multipurpose Steam Cleaner
  • Bissell PowerFresh Slim
  • Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner
  • McCulloch MC1385
  • Wagner Spraytech 915
  • Ladybug Tekno 2350

Handheld Steam Cleaners for Curtains

Eave Continuous Use Handheld Steam Cleaner
$19.95 ($19.95 / Count)
  • A handheld steam cleaner that can be refilled when in use - saves time waiting for the steamer to cool down and heat back up again.
  • Includes basic accessories for upholstery, mattress, window, and grout cleaning.
  • Self cleaning and steam lock modes
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02/17/2024 01:45 pm GMT
Vapamore MR-75 Handheld Steam Cleaner
  • Small, portable and lightweight handheld steam cleaner
  • Outputs steam at 43.5PSI
  • Includes accessories
  • Lifetime warranty
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Best Multipurpose Steam Cleaner

Love the Accessories
H2O X5 Elite Steam Mop
$19.99 $14.99 ($7.50 / Count)
  • Steam mop with a removable handheld steam cleaner
  • Loads of accessories for cleaning blinds, carpets, windows, textured floors, mattresses, and more
  • Adjustable steam settings
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02/17/2024 07:05 pm GMT
Black + Decker Multipurpose Steam Mop
  • Multifunction steam mop for floors and handheld steam cleaner
  • Uniquely styled steam glove protects your hands
  • Accessories for grout, tile, grill cleaning, curtains and clothing
  • Adjustable steam settings
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02/17/2024 11:39 am GMT
Bissell Powerfresh Slim Handheld Cleaner and Steam Mop
  • Steam mop that converts to a handheld steam cleaner
  • 6 attachments and onboard storage
  • great for small area cleaning
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Best Canister Steam Cleaner for Curtains

Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner
  • Compact yet powerful
  • Boiler heats to 275°F
  • Versatile attachments
  • Lifetime warranty on boiler
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02/17/2024 09:51 pm GMT
McCulloch MC1385 Steam Cleaner
  • Top of the line model from McCulloch
  • Great range of accessories for cleaning both indoors, outdoor items such as grills, boats and car interiors.
  • Variable steam settings
  • Runs for up to 2 hours, depending on steam setting
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Wagner Spraytech Steam Cleaner
$159.99 $76.70
  • Large range of attachments
  • Boiler heats to 212F
  • Runs for around 40 mins
  • Inexpensive to buy
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02/17/2024 09:44 pm GMT

Best Commercial Steam Cleaner for Curtains

Quality Choice
Vapor Clean Pro6 Duo Steam Cleaner

Italian made continuous refill steam cleaner with copper tubing, brass fittings, tungsten welded stainless steel boiler heating to 311°F and operating at a powerful 87PSI. This compact steam cleaner packs a punch and doesn't cost thousands of dollars - an excellent price for a continuous fill steam cleaner. A worthwhile buy for home or commercial use.

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Best Steam Vacuum for Curtains

US Steam Sea Hawk Steam Vacuum
  • Versatile steam vacuum good for grout cleaning, but no large floor scrubber for tiles
  • Can vacuum up water left behind after steam cleaning
  • A range of scrubbing brushes included, as well as excellent attachments for upholstery cleaning
  • 1 year warranty (standard across this brand) lets it down a little
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How to Steam Clean Curtains

To steam curtains, follow these steps below:

  • Read the care label on your curtains first for laundering instructions.
  • Start by vacuuming the curtains to remove any dust and debris. If you have thick or blackout curtains, vacuum the front and back sides.

I used my steam vacuum to do this and was surprised at the color of the water in the waste tank after vacuuming two small window curtains:

curtain steam cleaner

I shouldn’t be though, this is how dirty the back of the curtains were:

dirty curtain backing

As we live on a farm, our windows stay open all Spring and Summer. It get’s pretty dusty here, so when the backs blow against the flyscreens, they end up like this.

If you’re curtains look like this, take them down and wash them, they are beyond steam cleaning.

But for the purpose of this post, I thought, what an excellent experiment for me to test my steam cleaner on!

  • Fill the steam cleaner with the appropriate amount of distilled water and let it heat up.
  • Attach the fabric, upholstery, or triangle brush to the steam cleaner (depending on your model and the attachments you have available).
  • Cover this with a microfiber bonnet or cloth to trap the dirt as you clean.

As I was using my steam vacuum, I used the triangle tool wrapped with a microfiber cloth. You’ll find similar tools on the Dupray Neat, McCulloch, and Vapor Clean steamers.

steam cleaning curtains
  • Begin steaming from the top of the curtains and work slowly to the bottom of the curtains.
  • As I left my curtains hanging, I pulled them as tight as possible with my left hand while holding the steamer in my right.
  • Eventually, I got out my oven mitt and used this as a backing behind the curtain so the steam could penetrate the fabric better. If you have a steaming glove, use this as the oven mitt gets hot!
  • Move the steam cleaner slowly over the fabric.
steaming thick curtains 1

Clearly, these are thicker curtains, so what about the backing? Remember those pics above? It was pretty dirty.

I love to test out things with my steamer so I can bring you the best advice. So, if you have inexpensive polyester curtains with the “blackout” style backing – don’t use your steam cleaner on the back.

I tried this to get the dirt off and it melted away the rubbery feeling polyester:

cleaning blackout curtains
melted polyester curtains

Needless to say, I stopped steaming the back of the curtains. Cold machine washing on another day will have to do.

I was impressed at the level of dirt that came out of the curtains however. I took this photo before I started steaming the very dirty backing:

dirty curtain steamer head

I’m impressed with the amount of dust and dirt the cloth was able to pick up just from the front of two window curtains. They’re not very wide, which goes to show just how dirty there are! These are bedroom windows as well, so that dust is right next to us when we are sleeping.

Frequently Asked Questions About Steaming Curtains

Where Does the Dirt Go When You Steam Clean Curtains?

The microfiber bonnet or cloth that you cover the steamer head with will trap and absorb dirt as you steam.

Do Handheld Steamers Work on Curtains?

A handheld steamer is a flexible way to steam clean curtains. If you don’t have a fabric or upholstery attachment, aim steam at a small section of curtain, then wipe with a microfiber cloth. Continue until you have cleaned all of the curtain.

How Often Should I Steam Clean My Curtains?

Depending on where you live and how often you have the windows open, you may want to steam clean your curtains during your annual Spring clean. Dusty areas, homes with open fireplaces, cities with smog may need more frequent cleaning.

Is it Safe to Use a Steam Cleaner on Curtains?

Most curtain fabrics can be safely steamed, it is the curtain backing that poses a problem. Be careful with polyester backings which can melt.

How Do I Dry My Curtains After Steam Cleaning?

Leave your curtains hanging after steaming and allow them to air dry. Depending on the ambient temperature, this shouldn’t take long, especially if you used a microfiber bonnet over your steam cleaner to absorb any excess water.

Enjoy Refreshed Curtains

Cleaning curtains can be a tedious and difficult task, but it doesn’t have to be. There are several different types of steam cleaners for curtains, so make sure to choose one that meets your needs.

Remember to follow the tips and advice in this blog post to ensure that your curtains stay looking great.