Wash Your Airstream Curtains: A Step-By-Step Cleaning Guide

As an avid Airstreamer putting countless miles on my ‘78 Excella, I’ve become good at taking care of every little maintenance task to make sure I can enjoy long, comfortable adventures. One time, though, I faced a big challenge when I discovered that the curtains in my vintage Airstream were surprisingly stained. I only found out when I took everything apart for a thorough cleaning and renovation. It turned into a weeklong project to restore the discolored window and shower liners to their original look.

After many rounds of soaking, scrubbing by hand, rinsing, and dealing with stains, I figured out safe and effective ways to clean Airstream curtains. I also learned some important lessons about taking care of delicate fabrics. Now, I’m going to share proven methods to refresh your trailer textiles, whether you’re washing tough vinyl in a machine or treating canvas gently. Let’s get rid of the dirt and bring back a clean, vibrant atmosphere!

Wash Your Airstream Curtains: A Step-By-Step Cleaning Guide

Airstream Curtain Varieties and Care

Those iconic shiny silver bullet shapes define the classic Airstream brand, but colorful curtain varieties introduce personality, function, and privacy within models spanning 80+ years of production. Before cleaning choices, let’s unpack the specific fabrics dressing windows, dividers, and showers.

Airstream Curtain Varieties and Care

Vintage models popular with restoration enthusiasts commonly featured canvas curtains similar to tents, though some incorporated decorative embroidered fabrics as accent trims. Durable yet breathable, canvas requires gentle care to protect woven threads vulnerable to abrasion damage during cleaning.

Modern Airstreams utilize more water-resistant vinyls especially in bathroom sections, since thick polymer coatings withstand moisture well. However, certain vinyl shower curtains feature antibacterial nanoparticle treatments degrading through harsh chemical use. Read all attached tags before using cleaners.

Many Airstreams blend styles too. For example, I have microfiber blackout curtains on windows for temperature insulation and light blocking. But the stall enclosure features clear vinyl water barriers. Choose cleaning approaches suitable for each material present.

Hand Wash, Machine Wash, or Professionally Clean?

For machine washing, durable types of vinyl and microfibers like my blackout curtains can handle aggressive agitation on gentle cycles using mild detergents if carefully extracted from channel rods without stretching or tearing delicate seams.

Hand washing remains imperative for vintage canvas curtains at risk of abrasion damage in household machines. Submerge flat panels in bathtubs using mild cleaners like Woollite then drain without wringing before air drying over rods or rust-free hangers.

Alternately, professional curtain cleaners properly pre-treat, wash, and press fabrics. This avoids DIY risks of accidental shrinkage or sun damage when air drying. Search for “drapery cleaning near me” to compare specialists’ experience with delicate materials.

I’ll go into further hand and machine washing details shortly. First up, basic preventative steps…

Seasonal Airstream Care Protecting Curtains

a) Use screens and UV-blocking films on windows when parked to limit curtain sun damage causing premature aging. Consider removable curtain liners as well.

b) Vacuum curtain topsides bi-monthly to clear settlement dust and detritus attracted by static cling since accumulated grime transfers to the visible front-facing fabric when opened.

c) Wipe vinyl shower curtains using soft microfiber cloths and warm distilled white vinegar bi-weekly. The mild acetic acid disinfects without bleaches breaking down curtain coatings over time.

d) Check all curtain attachment hooks and channel glides when cleaning. Replace broken components to prevent forceful tugging causing permanent stretch damage. Open delicately.

e) Consult preventative recommendations in owner’s manuals for whichever Airstream model you possess. Following factory guidance protects warranties.

Now let’s get into the actual washing process…

Deep Cleaning Process Step-By-Step

Are you ready to discover my proven method for cleaning curtains and bringing back their original brightness? By gathering the right materials and carefully following each step, you can avoid causing permanent damage.

Supplies Needed

  • Mild laundry detergent (Woollite or baby shampoo work well)
  • White distilled vinegar + spray bottle
  • Soft cleaning cloths and brushes
  • Plenty of dry towels

Pre-Treating Tips

a) Vacuum dust buildup beforehand so it doesn’t cloud cleaning water.

b) Spray vinegar solution on any mud or grime then let sit 5 minutes to loosen before scrubbing.

c) Use a damp lint roller on pet hair or lint adhered to fabric. The sticky sheets prevent the fraying of delicate materials by pulling debris off cleanly without friction.

d) Spot test cleaners on small hidden sections first. Harsh chemicals degrade curtain treatments.

Hand Washing Steps

Step 1: Fill the clean bathtub with lukewarm water and a capful of mild detergent. Agitate gently to activate the suds.

Step 2: Remove non-washable curtain hardware like rods and hangers first. Carefully lower panels directly into the water rather than dripping on themselves.

Step 3: Let panels soak for 10-15 minutes for cleaners to penetrate embedded dirt. Periodically press bubbles through the fabric without wringing or twisting.

Step 4: Drain the tub while leaving damp curtains flat inside. With plastic-gloved hands, gently work the soap through the layers using a soft brush.

Step 5: Refill the tub using cool clean water for a fresh rinse cycle. Soak another 5 minutes then drain again. Repeat rinsing if any soap residue remains.

Step 6: Roll curtain lengths in dry towels stepping on them to absorb moisture. Change towels whenever damp sections transfer through.

Step 7: Hang loosely on rust-proof rods or hangers. Air circulation accelerates drying so mold doesn’t develop on bunched sections.

Step 8: Fluff and rehang curtains while still slightly damp to prevent permanent wrinkles from setting as they fully dry.

Be extremely delicate when handling saturated curtains. Always lay flat while transferring or drying to prevent stretched-out shapelessness. Give them room to drip dry thoroughly as well before rehanging near windows possibly transferring moisture deeper inside walls if installed prematurely.

Expert Tips on Special Scenarios

Beyond fundamental washing, certain Airstream curtain dilemmas benefit from tailored solutions –

Vinyl Rain Streaks

Parking under trees results in rain residue “stains” on vinyl awnings and curtains. Buff them out gently using circular microfiber cloth motions and ammonia-free glass cleaner before washing them as normal.

Permanent Marker Removal

Magic eraser cleaning blocks lift indelible marker stains from vinyl. Gently rub small sections then rinse residue. Reapply until no more ink transfers onto the eraser.

Mildew Elimination

White vinegar or lemon juice solutions kill curtain mildew effectively. Use cotton swabs for precision application avoiding bleaching or rubbing delicate fabrics. Rinse and air dry before reinstalling.

Odor Removal

Soak foul-smelling curtains overnight in warm water plus baking soda then rinse thoroughly with vinegar added to the wash cycle. The one-two deodorizer punch leaves items fresh.

People Also Ask

What temperature of water is best for hand washing?

Use lukewarm water around 85-90 degrees Fahrenheit. Excessive heat risks damaging delicate fabrics.

Can I put shower curtains in the washer machine?

Vinyl withstands washing but weaker curtain ring hooks may warp or unlink if agitated. Handwash separate from rods.

How do I get musty smells out of curtains?

Begin by taking down and fully airing out fabrics. Then clean using baking soda and vinegar solutions to deodorize the source rather than just masking scents.


Whether your Airstream is factory-furnished or personalized through travels, safeguarding delicate curtain fabrics is key. Applying suitable cleaning methods, and differentiating vinyls from canvas, ensures a revived look for even novice DIYers. Simplify equipment, follow a proven handwashing ritual, or opt for professional cleaning with positive reviews. Incorporate basic maintenance like vacuuming, screen filters, and bi-weekly vinyl wiping to keep your trailer curtains pristine for years of Airstream adventures!


  1. https://www.facebook.com/spatialsolutionsunlimited/videos/airstream-curtain-cleaning/699231474155810/ 
  2. https://shecanrv.com/2022/02/airstream-curtains/
  3. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/786933734905158944/ 
  4. https://www.airforums.com/forums/f39/removing-curtains-for-cleaning-86195.html 

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