How to Whiten Lace Curtains

Eve Frost

Caring for your lace curtains takes a little more work than the average load of laundry. If they are turning a dingy shade, then that means your curtains are simply getting older, but this is normal. Antique lace is a beautiful thing.

White lace is delicate.

You can brighten your curtains and turn them white again as long as you take your time and use the right products. Do this project on a warm sunny day and you will be pleased with your results.

  1. Grab your tub or bucket. Be sure it is large enough to fit your curtains, so you can have plenty of room to agitate them. Place it on a surface that is durable and be sure you have plenty of room to work. A large kitchen, laundry room, basement or outdoor patio will suffice.

  2. Heat a kettle or pot of water up until it boils. Add the recommended amount of the oxygen cleaning powder or liquid for the amount of fabric you will be cleaning. Add a small cap full of laundry detergent as well, for a great smell and extra stain removal power.

  3. Mix the cleaning products into the water until they have dissolved. Put on your gloves.

  4. Add the lace fabric slowly and gently into the cleaning bath. Use your covered hands to push it in. Gently massage the fabric into the mixture and be sure you have touched all parts of your curtain.

  5. Let your curtain sit in the bath for a few minutes. Go back and massage it again gently. Leave it sitting for about 10 to 15 minutes. Once the water is cool, pull the curtains out and see if there are any changes. If you like what you see, dump out the liquid and set your curtains down on a safe surface. Fill your bin with some warm water and place them back into the bin for a rinse. Massage all of the detergents out slowly and gently.

  6. Dump out the soapy water and repeat the previous step until all the detergent is gone. If you are not satisfied with the results, start all over, but this time only use the oxygenated cleaning product with the hot water and let them soak again until the water is almost cool. Rinse them out as described in the previous steps.

  7. Drape your damp curtains over a clothes line or a suspended pole. Leave them out in the sun for the rest of the day. The sun will work with the detergent and whiten them even more.

  8. Tip

    Be very gentle when pulling heavy wet lace curtain fabric out of the hot solution. They can tear very easily. Use the side of the bathtub if you cannot hang your curtains outside.


    Never use bleach or cleaning products containing bleach on your lace. Read all labels carefully before purchasing detergents.