Drapes with latex rubber backing can save you money on home energy costs, since they help retain heat in the winter and block sun in the summer. If you work the night shift and sleep during the day, latex-backed drapes, also known as blackout curtains, are a lifesaver. But washing these heavy drapes takes some care, since hot water and the heat of a dryer can degrade or melt latex. Proper laundering keeps your latex-backed curtains looking good for years.
1 Fill your washing machine with cold water if using a top loader. If using a front loader, place the drapes loosely in the washer drum and set the machine's water temperature to cold.
2 Add liquid or powder laundry detergent according to the package directions. If your drapes are dark in color, consider a detergent especially formulated for colors to help prevent fading.
3 Remove the drapes from the washer as soon as the cycle is complete to prevent the latex from becoming mildewed.
4 Hang the curtains to dry, either over a clothesline or in the window on a sturdy curtain rod. Spread the wet curtain out so all surfaces can dry evenly.