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Draperies have a number of invisible enemies. The sun can fade and streak them. They may also be affected by gases, fumes, and humidity and may not even be detected until after they are cleaned. Open fireplaces, wood stoves and smoking also contribute to the staining of draperies.

You can expect some shrinkage from laundering or cleaning unless the fabric has been totally pre-shrunk. Sometimes the drape shrinks more than the lining, causing a puckered effect. Make sure you know the specific care procedure the manufacturer recommends. Here are some tips for cleaning your draperies.

* Do not dry clean your draperies. The steaming process in dry cleaning draperies can cause you to lose the color. Dry cleaning is also known to leave "chalky" streaks in your draperies.
* Put them in your washing machine. The International Fabricare Institute recommends that most draperies actually should be just placed in your normal household washing machine.
* Do not put them in your drier. For the best results with your draperies, you should hang dry them in the air.
* Check the labels on your draperies. Your draperies should have care tags attached to them. That will explain what the manufacturer recommends to you when cleaning your draperies.
* Subject your draperies to as little harm as possible. Any abrasions can damage your draperies. The goal is to have them come as close to their original quality as possible--only in a cleaner state.