Curtains with a rubber backing give homeowners privacy while acting as insulation from heat and cold loss or entry. Curtains with rubber backing also block out light, allowing for uninterrupted sleep even while a neighbour's spotlight points directly at your window or the sun shines brightly. Manufacturers fuse rubber to the fabric to create a curtain that looks nice, blocks light and drafts. Curtains accumulate dust and dirt that requires washing to preserve their attractiveness.
Read the curtain manufacturer's label instructions to determine whether they are dry-clean only. If the label indicates dry cleaning as the only acceptable cleaning method, the curtains will incur damage if you attempt to wash them.
Equip a vacuum hose with an upholstery brush attachment and vacuum the curtains to remove excess dust and loose dirt. Vacuuming the curtains before removing them from the window prevents the spread of dust through the room.
Stand on a step stool or stepladder to gain access to the drapery hooks. Remove the drapery hooks from the curtains to detach them. If the curtains hang from a rod, remove the rod and take the curtains down.
Lay the curtains flat on the ground with the rubber backing facing up. Examine the rubber backing for cracks, splits and missing pieces. If the rubber has damage, hand-wash the curtains rather than machine washing them.
Fill a bathtub with cold water and add a mild laundry soap to wash the curtains by hand. Stir the water to mix in the laundry soap. Submerge the curtains and allow them to soak for 10 to 15 minutes. Rub stains with a soft rag dipped in laundry soap. Lift and submerge the curtains to allow the water to move over the surface. Drain the bathtub and refill with cold water to rinse the curtains.
Set your washing machine to a gentle cycle and fill it with cold water. Add laundry soap and let the washing machine agitate for one to two minutes. Turn the washing machine off. Place the curtains in the washing machine. Push the rubber-backed curtains down into the water and turn the washer back on.
Remove the curtains from the bathtub or washing machine and hang them to dry. Spread the curtains out so rubber does not touch rubber. When wet, rubber can stick to rubber and cause damage. Allow the curtains with rubber backing to dry completely before hanging or storing them.
If you are storing curtains with rubber backing, fold them so rubber does not meet rubber. Avoid storing them in a hot attic; the heat causes rubber to degrade. Vacuum curtains with rubber backing regularly and spot clean them to prevent the curtains from becoming heavily soiled.
Do not machine dry curtains with a rubber backing. The dryer's heat will ruin the rubber. Do not twist curtains with a rubber backing in an attempt to wring out excess water. Twisting causes damage to the rubber backing.