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Old 02-12-2014, 12:17 PM   #1
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1970 21' Globetrotter
El Cerrito , California
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Cleaning original 1970 curtains

We are lucky to have found a little 1970 globetrotter time capsule. She has original walls, lights, cabinets (mostly although we need to replace her rolling upper cabinet doors), hardware, counters, sinks and yes, curtains. Most astoundingly, most of this is all in decent shape so I would like to do some basic cleaning and upholstery and refreshing rather than replacing.

One big issue - how would you clean the curtains? They are a white and gold poly-something blend with a vinyl backing. Would you dare wash on gentle? Dry clean? Air dry? See if the upholstery cleaning guy can do it? Any help is greatly appreciated!
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Old 02-12-2014, 12:24 PM   #2
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1957 30' Sovereign of the Road
1959 28' Ambassador
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Peru , New York
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We are lucky to have found a little 1970 globetrotter time capsule. She has original walls, lights, cabinets (mostly although we need to replace her rolling upper cabinet doors), hardware, counters, sinks and yes, curtains. Most astoundingly, most of this is all in decent shape so I would like to do some basic cleaning and upholstery and refreshing rather than replacing.

One big issue - how would you clean the curtains? They are a white and gold poly-something blend with a vinyl backing. Would you dare wash on gentle? Dry clean? Air dry? See if the upholstery cleaning guy can do it? Any help is greatly appreciated!
My 59 Ambassador International is also a time capsule. It has original curtains, Airfoam mattresses (that are really comfortable), Zolatone etc. I cleaned the curtains about 10 years ago by sending them to the dry cleaner. They are still really nice, turquoise & green plaid bark cloth.
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Old 02-12-2014, 12:39 PM   #3
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1973 25' Tradewind
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cleaning

I have the originals in my 73 Tradewind. I cleaned them by soaking in Oxiclean. They came out great. They need to dry well, and don't wring them out, the backing will clump up. John
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Old 02-12-2014, 08:38 PM   #4
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We use oxiclean as well and we soak them in a bathtub for sometimes a couple of days depending how bad they are. It's gentle but effective.
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Old 02-12-2014, 09:12 PM   #5
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Remember that all those old plastic hanger clips are old plastic and very brittle. There's folks that have suggested things that help keep them from being so brittle but I have the CRS. There are new replacements available, your neighbor Andy at Inland RV should be able to send you bunches. and probably Colin, above but he's probably snowed in for the duration.
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Old 02-12-2014, 09:27 PM   #6
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1959 28' Ambassador
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Remember that all those old plastic hanger clips are old plastic and very brittle. There's folks that have suggested things that help keep them from being so brittle but I have the CRS. There are new replacements available, your neighbor Andy at Inland RV should be able to send you bunches. and probably Colin, above but he's probably snowed in for the duration.
No snow here. I think it all fell in Atlanta.
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Old 02-12-2014, 11:19 PM   #7
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One big issue - how would you clean the curtains? They are a white and gold poly-something blend with a vinyl backing. Would you dare wash on gentle? Dry clean? Air dry? See if the upholstery cleaning guy can do it? Any help is greatly appreciated!
Although Airstream made a lot of variations of things, I cannot recall any vinyl backed curtains on those years. Not saying that it did not happen, of course, but my 68 17' Caravel had a brown cloth curtain backed with an aluminum kind of metallic liner. Boy were they light tight! My 69 21' had cloth pinch pleat curtains with a white cotton liner material. My 71 18' Caravel had green pinch pleated curtains with a white cotton liner.

Just wondering if yours are really original curtains. The vinyl throws me. I would in any event be quite careful if the liner is vinyl. Cleaning fluids like at a dry cleaner might be a disaster. Heat or a lot of mechanical agitation from a regular wash also may be too much. The suggestion of Oxiclean is a good one, then carefully air dry them over a fully supported backing so they don't sag or stretch.

I made some curtains myself for one of my trailers using a curtain material with a type of rubber self lining. Then when I wanted to clean them I stupidly put them in the washer and then the dryer. The liner melted and fused to itself and I ruined the curtains completely.

If they are truly original curtains, the plastic tabs are most likely very brittle and the elastic that held them tight is probably shot. New tabs are available, I got mine from Andy at Inland RV, but I believe any dealer may be able to order them. Andy stocks them. Taking the curtains down and cleaning them probably will entail new elastic and tabs which will need to be sewn on.

But the quality of the original Airstream Curtains of the late 60's and early 70's was simply fantastic. The new ones on my 2014 don't hold a candle to the old ones. The fabric on the old ones was incredibly good, and the pleating was wonderfully done. They were soft and good looking. The new ones cover the windows, and that only barely, and they are essentially pleat free and too stiff.

Ah, the good old days.
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